How to protect the gutter system in winter from snow and ice


In the off-season and winter, when severe frosts are abruptly replaced after several days of thaw, damage to pipes caused by snow masses or ice buildups is often found. In addition, metal and plastic products break while destroying the facade, roof, and blind area of the house. But even more dangerous for the life and health of people is the situation when giant icicles form on the top due to a malfunction of the drainage system. Therefore, homeowners have to take care of the safety of gutters.

What damage to the drain is relevant in winter, and why

All problems that appear in the cold season are associated with frozen moisture. They occur when the temperature changes dramatically: during the day, the sun shines, melting the snow masses on the roof, and at night it freezes. As a result, the water accumulated in the system turns into ice.

Due to periodic freezing and thawing, the roof layer and drainage devices are covered with ice. The mass of ice and snow layers gradually grows, and when it reaches a critical mass, the system “breaks.” Follow the link you can read more about gutters

What happens when the gutter fails:

  • The gutter is deformed – sagging, crumpled areas appear. Often this is facilitated by an ill-conceived desire to save on fixing brackets.
  • The pipe breaks – the pressure of a vast mass formed inside the ice jam affects.
  • Breaks in corners, funnels, and holders are familiar with a sha,rp descent of snow masses from the roof, or the pressure of large ice growths.

Proper installation of gutters and drainage system

It is necessary to carry out installation work correctly to organize unhindered snowmelt in winter.

The main principles for the correct installation of any gutters and gutters:

  • Check how far the gutter will pass from the roof’s edge so it does not interfere with the snow. The outer edge of the gutter’s top should be 10 mm below the slope extension line.
  • Start installation from the bracket furthest away from the funnel. Install it at the maximum height relative to the other frames – this way, you will ensure the optimal angle for moisture to drain.
  • The length of the gutter is 2-3 meters. Unique elements are used for the connection. To avoid tearing, do not let the connection points come into contact with the attachment points of the holders and the joint with the funnel.
  • 3.5 mm of inclination per 1 m of length is the optimal position. With a roof with a width of 10-15 meters, the slope will be 35-52.5 mm. This means that the funnel for collecting water will be located 3-4.5 centimeters below the bracket mounted first.
  • To avoid making a mistake with the slope, immediately fix the uppermost holder and the lower one at the funnel. For convenience, use a rope: pull it between the two brackets and correctly install the rest.
  • The standard step between the fasteners is 60 cm. If you save money and shorten the distance, the risk of damage to the system when ice appears increases significantly.
  • It is better to install the drainage network before covering the roof. Metal brackets are mounted to the rafters or crate. Plastic materials attached to the frontal board will do if the top is already done. The gutters cannot be skewed in the horizontal or vertical direction.

Solutions for the protection of gutters and drains

Use additional protective equipment to protect structures from damage by ice or snow after installation. For example:

  1. Lay heating cables. Self-regulating models are popular today, which automatically change the heating temperature depending on the surrounding conditions.
  2. Install snow guards. They will protect water collection structures, the facade, and people under the roof eaves from snow drifts.

Also, to protect gutters and drains, clean them regularly; experts advise at least two times a year – in spring and autumn. On this gutter cleaning website you can learn more about the principles of cleaning gutters and drains.

Tip: Check if the roof is installed correctly. Sometimes the cause of icing of gutters is condensated, which is formed due to errors in installing the roofing cake. For example, the lack of a vapor barrier or ventilation gap between the layers of insulation and waterproofing.

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