Wearing harnesses and rappelling equipment, Grant Benson and his four-man crew attacked the rooftop snow and ice buildup on five large historic houses near St. Paul's Highland Park on Thursday the old-fashioned way: using roof rakes, snow shovels and hammers.

"There's been many times we'll uncover the snow, you'll see 5 or 6 or 7 inches of ice, and you'll see water sitting there," said Benson, owner of Hastings-based Quality Renovation LLC. "It may be a matter of time before it builds up and gets into the house."

Benson's prognosis strikes at the heart of the home maintenance crisis du jour. First came the ice dams - blockades of ice forming along roof eaves and gutters, forcing melting snow to pool behind them, the water dripping into attics, living spaces and wall insulation. From the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.