Ice Dam Prevention in Gutters

Ice build-up on the on the edge of the roof and gutters has many consequences, which can be serious and costly. Indeed, the weight of the snow and ice can distort the ceilings of the house, bind the doors, put tension on the house structure and create cracks in the walls. It can also cause water infiltration that will initially affect the attic, then the upper floors of the house. Swellings, water stains or droplets will appear on your walls and ceilings. Severe water infiltration will damage your furniture, carpets, clothing and personal belongings, as well as the structure of your home: floor, roof and walls. Mold can appear and cause even more damage.

Ice accumulation on the gutter system may take several forms, from one layer of snow to a compact block of ice, undermining the integrity and proper operation of the gutters.

ice dam prevention in gutters
Illustration by The Ice Dam Company


To avoid any issue, it’s important to make sure that the roof is well insulated, so there isn’t any possibility of premature snow melting on the roof in winter. A poorly insulated roof enables the warmth of the building to escape too easily, causing heavy snowfalls. The water that drips from the roof then freezes from the gutter or downhill, which may give rise to a series of major issues. You may want to consider a roof inspection company to check the roof for defects and insulation deficiencies can cause ice dams. The roof inspector may suggest was to fix the defects like adding additional insulation in the attic or installing varies accessories that can be added to the roof and gutters.

Installing gutter accessories like a SpeedTrace Roof and Gutter Kit helps prevent ice damming and reduces the chance of damage to the roof or rain gutters. These roof and gutter accessories are designed to prevent the formation of ice dams using high-resistance heating cables that mount on the edge of the roof into the gutter in zigzag layout. With this system the meltwater has to route properly otherwise, it will refreeze in the gutters and along the edge of the roof. You will need to route the heating cable inside a downspout so that the downspout is not obstructed by ice. The heat cables melt away excessive ice and snow from the roof, gutters, and downspouts to ensure proper draining.

In the end, there are still a few quick fixes for a problem with ice buildup: applying a thin coating of Ice Melter salt into the ice cap can help decrease the thickness also. Compared to the weight of the ice, and so significantly reduce the pressure exerted on the gutter. Ice accumulation can become so bad that sometimes gutters are damaged beyond repair and you will need a gutter replacement. You may also, with excellent care, eliminate the accumulation manually, with a hammer and an ice pick.

As the old saying goes, “prevention is far better than cure”. Before the start of winter, ensure your roof system is functioning correctly. Your gutters will thank you!