Ice and Gutters – The Great Blizzard of 2015

ice and gutters

The entire Northeastern United States has experienced crippling blizzards this winter.  Snow keeps appearing in all the forecasts and the weather remains cold!

The problems homeowners face with weather conditions like this are not visible by assessing the snow on your roof or icicles on your gutters.  Here are problems to watch out for when dealing with ice and gutters.

Ice and Gutters – Be Prepared to Look for Problems

1.  Ice and gutters clogged with debris add weight to the gutter system—a lot of weight that your gutter may not be installed to handle.  Have an older gutter hung with spikes and this is a particular problem.  Spikes don’t handle ice and gutter problems well, the gutter easily pulls away from the home from the weight of the ice.

Newer gutter hangers fare better, so long as they aren’t a cheap hanger, you want to choose one designed to handle the weight of the ice.  Next, you want to make sure there are enough hangers in the gutter, normally every 19-20 inches.  Hangers hung through the fascia and into the rafter tails offer you the best scenario that your gutters will stay attached to your home for years to come.

2.  There’s a good chance that if you missed a gutter cleaning or two, you could have ice backing up from gutters that are clogged with leaves from the last fall.

All this weight can also affect the parts of your home that your gutter is attached to like your fascia (the wood behind the gutter), your soffit (the section that extends over the exterior walls of your home where your roof ends) and even your roof itself.

3.  Here’s something that you probably didn’t know to take into consideration: any gutter guard that just sits over the gutter offers no protection from ice and gutter problems from occurring.

As ice and snow builds up at the roof edge, damage is done when water (created from heat escaping from your attic melts the snow or ice) pushes back toward your fascia boards and gets behind the gutter.  Water then gets trapped in tight places like behind your gutters, which doesn’t dry out easily.  If the water gets in contact with wood—even painted wood—it will cause the wood to start to rot leading to damage to your home.

Since all of this happens and is hidden by the gutter, the problem may not be noticed for years and the costly damage is done. Then, it’s not just your gutters pulling away from your home, the fascia comes right with it.

Damage is also being done to your roof when ice from a clogged gutter has no where to go.  The ice starts pushing under the shingles, gets under the ice and water barrier (assuming you have at least three feet of it which tends to be code) and then gets to the decking where it starts the rotting process. As with your fascia, this often doesn’t get noticed till it’s too late.

This is also not a problem that will just happen from a clogged gutter, those flat gutter guards that only sit over the gutter exaggerates this problem as well!

When the damage affects your roof, the costs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars by not only having to replace the roof shingles but parts of the decking underneath.

Both of these scenarios can lead to water damaging the interior of your home.

It’s never a good feeling to have to call your insurance company to deal with an insurance claim, especially when they’re related to leaks that started from a gutter problem!

You can avoid these problems by keeping your gutters clean and installing a gutter guard that can bridge the roof over the fascia and then acts as an extra drip edge by mirroring the roof pitch.  MasterShield, with our new patented copper technology,  can do exactly this: cover the parts of the roof prone to water damage and keep all debris out of your gutters for good.

So, before the next blizzard hits your area, install gutter protection designed to do more than just cover your gutters like MasterShield.   Instead of worrying about ice and gutter damage to your home, you can sit back, stay warm and relax to enjoy the beauty of the storm.