I removed the ceiling Sheetrock and insulation during a bathroom remodel in my master bathroom on the 2nd floor of my house. I have snow on the roof that is melting and I found two small drips coming from the roof. I can see black decayed plywood that is bowed in between rafters. I already have two layers of shingles.

I know it's not a great idea to do roof work in the cold, but my bathroom remodel hinges on it.

What's my best approach to this dilemma? Should I cut out and replace the roof over this room alone now, and maybe do the rest in the spring? Or tarp it, finish the remodel and wait for spring to repair the roof?


  • A picture is nice.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Jan 18, 2011 at 1:23
  • 1
    FYI be sure you take off both layers you already have - the weight with snow may be adding to your "bow" issue on the wet wood. Jan 19, 2011 at 22:01
  • If you absolutely have to wait then a good sized concrete mixing basin may keep the drips from doing further damage to the ceiling.
    – jlpp
    Jan 29, 2011 at 2:38

3 Answers 3


If the leak(s) are due to water backing up behind ice dams, you may be able to keep the problem at bay and defer the roof work until summer, by addressing the ice dams and using a roof-rake to remove most of the snow.

There are a few approaches to battling ice dams; chipping away, electric heat tape, or ice melt that is safe for your roof/siding/yard/pets... I currently have some ice-melt-filled nylon stockings draped across a problem ice dam, so that it creates a drainage channel for the melting snow I miss or can't quite reach with my roof-rake.

Don't put off the roof work for a full seasonal cycle tho, or you may find your newly remodeled bathroom drenched next winter.


Sorry my friend, Bite the bullet and get it done before you have more interior damage. Replace the whole thing at once and do the structural work that is necessary. Worst time of year, but roofers aren't real busy right now, but expect a higher cost due to bad conditions.

  • the drips are small so there is no damage. but i can not put up a new ceiling until i get the roof addressed. i am thinking to tarp it and re do the entire roof in the spring... a couple months away.
    – kacalapy
    Jan 18, 2011 at 3:38
  • 2
    that is certainly a judgement call on your part. If you feel the leak is that minor, it may be advisable to try to find the offending shingles and bridge the area with some ice and water shield. Install the top of the ice and water shield under the tabs of shingles above the leak and nail it down with 2 inch roofing nails around the edges. This will stay in place a lot better than a tarp, and water will not leak around the new nails. Jan 18, 2011 at 11:06
  • I like the idea of the flashing/insert on the shingles (no tarp), but you need to ensure you go high enough to get the source covered up until you can get weather to do the job. Jan 19, 2011 at 22:00
  • Tarps are really only a very temp solution, for maybe for a day or two. Once the wind starts, kiss the tarps good bye! Ice and water shield is heavy and sticky and will stay put, plus you can surface nail it without danger of water leaking around the nails. Jan 20, 2011 at 10:44

I didn't do the work myself, but last year (2010) in January I had a roof leak, and I called a roofer. Waited for a couple of nice days and they re-did the whole thing (including cutting out bad sections of plywood, etc, and installing all new gutters) in 3 days. You probably can't pull that on your own, but it's something to consider if you need it done right now.

  • 1
    Agreed -- I had mine done two years ago; 2 days, with gutters for a 1400sq.ft ranch. I think I took 2 days just to redo my detached garage which isn't even 400 sq. ft, and didn't have valleys and odd ridges. (and it was done in February, and I think I remember there was some snow on the second day, but I was out of town when it was being done)
    – Joe
    Jan 29, 2011 at 4:39

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