Ice accumulation on your roof can be a major problem over a long winter. Learn how to install ice-proof rain gutters and rest easy.



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Every good roof needs some way of dealing with the water that runs off, and rain gutters are one of the most tried-and-true methods. Gutters catch rainwater and runoff from melted snow, then redirect it safely away from the building via a downspout. It’s a great system, apart from one glaring weakness – ice.

Rain gutters dispose of liquid water, not solid ice. When temperatures drop below freezing, gutters can quickly fill with ice, leading to ice dams and roof leakage. That’s why a plan for dealing with roof ice matters, before and during rain gutter installation.

It’s worth noting not all roofs are vulnerable to winter ice damage. If your attic space isn’t insulated, your roof will likely stay cold through the winter. That means transferred heat from your attic won’t cause snow on the roof to melt.

Ice-proof rain gutters aren’t essential in houses with chilly attics. But houses with cathedral ceilings or heated attic spaces are definitely at risk of ice dams forming on their eaves. All it takes is for snow on your roof to melt, drip down the slope and then refreeze just above the gutters.

If you have this sort of house, keep reading for my best strategies for ice-proof rain gutter installation. I used this approach on my house in Canada. After decisively ending a multi-year struggle with roof and eaves ice, I can confidently say this works.