ice dams & gutters!!

Old 01-27-04, 07:13 PM
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ice dams & gutters!!

We and our home are here in the Wisconsin winter and with our last big snowfall I'm inclined to rip the gutters off our house! With any snowfall the gutters instantly fill, freeze, and the ice damming begins. They seem more trouble than they are worth. The ice damming is modest and I know we need some insulation & ventilation updates but the eaves overhang about one and a half feet. (Roof pitch is 6:12) Isn't that enough to shed the rains of spring without the need for gutters and downspouts? I used to live near Erie, PA and in that area it appeared builders didn't believe in gutters, not many homes w/ them at least.
Old 01-27-04, 08:19 PM
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The usual reason for having gutters is to prevent a buildup of run-off water at the foundations. It's true that in winter they are useless. However, it's not the gutters that start the ice-damming, as they only excarbate a pre-existing situation. If your roof was sufficiently well insulated and ventilated, you wouldn't really care about the snow buildup in the gutters. However, since you have heat loss, the melted snow freezes in the gutters and accelerates the formation of the ice dam at your eave. Fix your problem at the source by improving the insulation and ventilation, and you'll find that the gutters won't cause any more grief, as you won't have any more water going into them from the melting snow.
Old 01-27-04, 08:21 PM
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Gutters are meant to control water flow. They also preserve trim and walls from rotting.

Removing your gutters MAY cause any of the following problems:
flooded basement
cracked foundation walls
puddling of water around your house
death to shrubs and bushes
rotted fascia and trim boards

My advice is to prevent these damns from occuring, like you said with a ventilation and insulation update. You may also consider some type of ice protection on your roof.
Old 01-27-04, 08:45 PM
It Wasn't Me!
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Hi jandrewnels

Taking the gutters off your house as stated above is like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. The gutters are not the problem. Ventilation and Insulation will cure the problem. If you take a look around at other homes you will see some roofs with a little snow and some roofs with no snow and some roofs with all snow. The roof with all snow is the properly vented and insulated home. I also live in Wisconsin and we have not had warm enough weather here to melt the snow off the roofs. Grumpy also said to get some type of ice protection on your roof and I assume he is talking about Ice and Watershield. Unfortunately a lot of Wisconsin has a substandard building code and Ice and Watershield is not covered by the building code as with too many other things.
Old 01-28-04, 03:07 PM
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There is the WinterGard Wet heater wire thats made for this set up there on the roof for gutters and spouts it could get you by this you can get that rood vented like it should be ED
Old 01-30-04, 08:02 AM
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Wasn't me, yousaid ice shield is not covered in code. Does that mean it's not a requirement or, heaven forbid, they require you DO NOT use it?

It's only a requirement in the Chicago area in a few suburbs, but ALL the quality reputable roofing companies will not roof without it. Instead of the bldg dept setting the standard, it appears we roofers decided to set the standard ourselves.

For more info on ice shield you can go to

Ed, a problem with those heater wires is they aren't a 100% cure, but they do help a little bit.
Old 01-31-04, 07:57 AM
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An easier link for Grace Ice & Water Shield is:


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