House Under Water

*sigh*  This was supposed to be my post for Thursday, April 9, 2015, but I accidentally hit “Publish” instead of “Save” (I really have to stop doing that!).  I could delete it and re-post it on Thursday, but I decided to just let it stand.  Enjoy!

Spring has sprung (more or less), and so has the house.

A question was recently asked of another blogger who lives in a snow belt:  What happens to all that snow when it melts?

Well, in my area, you get mud:


And then more mud:


And while that’s happening, the ice on the roof of the house melts and results in this:


And this:


Many of you will remember that my husband and I had a new roof installed in September, 2013 – because the old roof had started leaking and we didn’t want further damage.

That winter (2013-14), we patted ourselves on the back for having the wisdom to install the roof before the first snowfall.  Never again would we have to worry about Western New York winters, at least not while we were safe and cozy inside our house.

You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

This past winter (2014-15) was an extreme event (definitely not for the faint-hearted).  Areas south of the City received up to 9 feet of snow; my northern suburb received about 3 feet.  There were periods of warming following by periods of freezing followed by more warmth and then more cold, etc.  Such freeze-and-thaw weather results in those pretty icicles that you see streaming down from the rooftops, and which become the subject of so many beautiful winter photographs.

However, it‘s not beautiful when that ice then melts, leaks above and behind the gutter and the ice shield, and finds its way into the house.  I was livid – We have a new roof, dammit! Call that damn contractor!

My house is a mid-1940’s tract house built for the use of returning World War II veterans and their families.  Every house on my street is the same basic floor plan – a two-story main building with a one-story addition on the back for the kitchen.  That one-story addition has a roof that is sloped only a degree or two above being considered flat.

I talked to two of my neighbors, who also had new roofs installed within the last 2 years.  All three of us used different contractors (all reputable), and all three of us had leaks in the exact same area of that kitchen extension.

So, it’s not the contractors’ fault – it’s Mother Nature having a little fun at our expense.

There were so many households in the Western New York area with leaky roofs this year that the local newspaper, radio and TV stations began running stories about how extreme winter affects homes and other buildings.  If nothing else, I learned that such leaks may or may not be covered by the homeowner insurance.

Fortunately for us, we had purchased the “deluxe” policy with the water back-up rider. Our agent assured us we were covered!

However, this particular insurance company had never impressed us with the way it honors (or rather, does not honor) claims.  My husband called the claims department only because I insisted – we fully expected the company to hassle us, or at the most to allow a claim of only a couple of hundred dollars.

Won’t wonders never cease?  Apparently, there are so many claims in this area that the company is bending over backward to avoid any bad publicity.  Although I had taken photographs and completely documented the damage, the adjustor didn’t even come to the house.  Based on our description, a check was sent out the very next day for the full estimated value of repairing walls, replacing ceiling tiles, and if necessary, replacing cupboards, with a notation that if the estimates come in higher, we can call for a claim review.

Now all we have to do is find someone to actually do the work. Let the fun begin!


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Images by Cordelia’s Mom

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22 Responses to House Under Water

  1. I hit that wrong button ALL the time. I usually reschedule them anyway and let the “post not found” thing make everyone wonder what happened, unless they do the same thing — and thus already know what it means!

    We seem — so far — to have escaped with no visible damage. Considering our roof is 14 years old and the gutters were poorly installed — and we got 10 feet of snow in 6 weeks — I’m not sure whether or not to believe it.

    We did get the roof shoveled, but we couldn’t remove the ice dams without ripping off the gutters. We just left them, crossed our fingers, and hoped for the best. IF there is damage, we can’t find it, though it seems kind of extraordinary that this not-very-well-built 1974 cracker box of a house came through this hideous winter unscathed. I figure we just haven’t found the problems yet.

    You have my sympathy. It’s been one hell of a winter.


    • I think by now you would have seen problems if there were any. You might have lucked out for this year.

      As for us, we just signed the contract to replace the leaky back window (original 1942 model) and the crumbling front window (which was saved from the curbside trash and installed by the former owner). I can hardly wait!


  2. Paul says:

    Aargh! that is disheartening CM — to see those stains on the ceiling like that and the water damage. i assume the low pitch kitchen roof is done like a flat roof with a membrane and not with shingles. So many people and companies will shingle a low pitch roof like that and it doesn’t work – it has to be treated like a flat roof.

    I do know what you mean by the insurance company being good this time. When I was with my ex, there was an ice storm that raged through our neighborhood. It seriously damaged about 500 roofs. the insurance company sent a rep who literally examined the roof and knocked on our door, identified himself and told us to replace the roof and send them the invoice. ha! i hadn’t even realized the roof was damaged. I suspect it was because they could see a pile of leak claims coming and wanted to head them off. Like you, it was hard to find a roofer – they were all busy, but we got it done.

    Good luck my friend. may the roofing gods be with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, the roof isn’t the issue. That was done in 2013, but the ice backed up over the ice shield. The roofing contractor is coming out in the next week or so to reinspect the roof and make sure the ice shield isn’t torn or anything. Next year, we’ll get the roof coils, and we should have any more leaking problems.

      The issue now is getting the walls and ceiling fixed, but that shouldn’t be too costly – just a matter of finding someone who does that kind of work.

      This maybe was a good thing – with the insurance money, we can not only fix the leaks, but should have some left over for a few other necessary repairs. I’m actually kind of excited about getting the work done – it will be like a new house.


  3. Archon's Den says:

    I thought it was just us guys who experienced premature publication. 😉
    Good luck with the house. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s the itchy finger syndrome suffered by both men and women.

      The house will look really nice next time you come to visit. We just ordered a new front window since we have to repair the walls anyway.


  4. Dan Antion says:

    Hard to press the ‘Like’ button on this one. Well written but the photos and the story makes me sad. I hope things dry up for you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Things are looking up already. The leaks may turn out to be a good thing because now we’re forced to do some of the work we’ve been putting off. Just ordered new downstairs windows since we have to repair the walls anyway. One window was the original from 1942 and the other was a window that was salvaged from the curbside trash by the former owner more than 20 years ago. I’ve always hated both windows but could never manage to replace them. Now I can.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. janeybgood says:

    Aw that’s a pity what happened 😦 but I love the history behind your house, that’s really cool. Hopefully you guys will be able to have it all resolved quickly. Not such a winter wonderland when this stuff happens.


    • Thanks, Janey. We’re working on it. New downstairs windows will be installed first – already have a contract in place for that. And we have a drywall guy coming out to estimate what needs to be done with the walls and ceilings once the windows are in place. I’m expecting a very busy spring and summer.


  6. Darn those silly buttons jumping into the wrong place! Done that a few times – so annoying.
    You do get some mud, too. Can just feel the shoes trying to get sucked off your feet. UGH
    So happy the insurance company is being cooperative – sometimes widespread damage is a good thing (It is around here with hail storms, tornadoes and hurricanes.)
    Are you going to cut and replace the drywall? You’d have to do that here to prevent mold – and to keep that stain from coming back and bleeding through the new paint. (KILZ paint is popular here in the semi-tropics)
    Hope it’s all back together quickly!


    • We have a drywall contractor coming in next week to give us an estimate. Some areas have more extensive damage than others. This is a contractor that was previously used by a family member, so I have high hopes.

      We’re replacing a few leaky windows first, however – then we can get all the walls fixed at the same time.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Thumbup says:

    Thank you for sending your link over at Butch Country. Gosh! So that is what it is!


    • Thanks for jumping over and reading the post! I was a little nervous about slipping it into Butch’s comments – I wasn’t sure how he would feel about that.

      I’m eagerly awaiting start of the repair work. I am so tired of looking at those walls and that ceiling, never mind wondering what might be under that paneling!

      Liked by 1 person

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  10. Reblogged this on Cordelia's Mom, Still and commented:

    Who’s lucky? My readers are – you all get to join me in my home renovations – again. Just seems like an appropriate time to re-blog that particular mini-series. If I’m also lucky, the mini-series re-blogs will end at just about the same time as my sabbatical does.


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