Will Snow Damage Gutters? (2024)

Fresh piles of snow can turn your home and yard into a beautiful winter wonderland. Few things are cozier than curling up with hot cocoa and a thick blanket on a snowy day. Unfortunately, heavy snowfall that damages your home’s gutters can be an unpleasant reality with heavy snowstorms.

Your home relies on its gutter system to protect the exterior and foundation by directing rainwater away, preventing water damage. During winter, accumulated snow can damage your gutters, leading to costly repairs or replacements. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this damage.

This article will explore the impact of winter snow on your gutters, detailing how damage can occur and offering strategies for prevention to safeguard your home’s gutter system.

Gutter Cleaning Service

The national average price of gutter cleaning is $160, assuming you have about 200 feet of gutters.


Gutter Guard Installation

In general, the national average cost of gutter guards ranges from $650 to $2,000.


Gutters Installation

In general, it costs somewhere between $1,000 to $7,000 to get a full set of gutters installed on your home.


Will Snow Damage Gutters?

roof ice dam on a home
Image Source: Canva

One of the worst parts about winter weather is heavy snow buildup on your roof and gutter system. Unfortunately, snow and ice will damage your gutter system, especially if you don’t have a high-quality gutter system installed or your roof is old or compromised.

There are two main ways that snow damages gutters.

Ice Dams

Ice dams form when snow builds up on the roof. As the snow melts, the runoff drains off the roof only to refreeze as it hits the side of your home and gutters.

Now, you may be asking yourself how the snow melts in the first place, only to refreeze again, forming ice dams. Unfortunately, many homes have heat that escapes from the attic and warms the roof, melting the snow from beneath. This weakness allows the snow to melt, then refreeze as it enters the gutter, creating heavy ice dams.

As ice dams form, this creates clogged gutters, and snow melt cannot properly drain off the roof. This forces your roof to undergo overexposure to moisture. Overexposure to moisture allows water to seep underneath tar paper, shingles, and even the plywood under your roof. Moisture puts the soffit, fascia, and roof’s integrity at risk.

Ice Buildup

Ice buildup prevents snow from melting and running through your gutter system. This occurrence leads runoff to flow over the lip of the gutter, forming large icicles. Not only are icicles dangerous to your gutter system due to the added weight, but they can fall and hurt your family and anything below it, such as your deck.

How To Prevent Gutter Damage From Snow

icicles on gutters in freezing weather
Image Source: Canva

Ice Dam & Icicle Prevention

Fortunately, preventing ice dams is a simple process. An already clogged gutter will make it easier for your gutters to fill with snow and ice. Start by thoroughly cleaning out your gutters before winter hits, taking special precautions to remove fallen leaves, which will eventually clog up the gutter. You can also gently sweep out snow before it becomes icy to help remove the weight of snow on your gutters. Immediately clear out the downspouts so melted snow can exit the gutter system.

If the snow buildup is massive, contact a professional roofing contractor to have the gutters cleaned out. Hiring a professional may be an extra expense, but it’s less money than replacing your entire gutter system. Some homeowners insurance policies cover gutter repairs if they’re damaged by snow, so double-check your policy before hiring a professional.

Additional preventative measures for protecting your gutters:

  • Install a gutter protection system. Gutter protection systems, like gutter guards for snow and ice protection, are installed over existing or new gutters and reinforce the gutter system so that it can bear a heavier snow buildup load.
  • Regularly clean your gutters or have them cleaned by a professional a minimum of twice a year, possibly more, depending on your area. This prevents gutters from being clogged with debris.
  • Have your gutters replaced. If your gutters are not up to the standards for your area or are getting old, it may be time to replace them. Speak with a professional gutter technician about what kind of rain gutters work with your roofing system. If you’ve had issues with ice dams or collapsing gutters, mention this and ask about heavier-duty gutter options.
  • Ventilate your attic and insulate your home efficiently. Doing this will make sure that the temperature difference between the indoor and outdoor air is less dramatic, leading to fewer ice dams forming in the first place.
  • Use a gutter helmet or heat cables to protect your gutters from cold weather damage from snow and ice buildup. The helmet is installed on your roof and will adjust to its temperature, keeping ice melted and flowing through your gutter system. The cables can even reduce energy usage by preventing your roof from overheating.

So, Will Snow Damage Gutters?

Yes, winter weather is beautiful, but it can damage your gutters if the snow load is heavy.

Protecting your gutters from winter snow damage is essential for maintaining your home’s structural integrity. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning gutters before winter and installing gutter protection systems, will prevent ice dams and ice buildup that can lead to costly repairs. Additionally, make sure your attic is well-ventilated and insulated to reduce the temperature difference that causes ice dams.

By taking these proactive steps, you safeguard your home from the damaging effects of winter weather and protect your gutter system to perform effectively throughout the season.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get snow out of gutters?

To remove snow from gutters, use a snow rake to pull it off. Snow rakes are designed to be long enough for you to stay far away from the roof as you use them.

What are the best gutters for heavy snow?

Aluminum gutters are durable and strong. They are preferred in cold climates.

What is an ice dam?

An ice dam is ice that forms on the roof’s edge and does not allow for snow that melts to drain off the roof.

Article Update Log

Reviewed for accuracy, cost data, industry best practices, and expert advice by Laurie Engle.

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