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Question DetailsAsked on 9/30/2014

Best gutter type for icy weather, high pitched roof w/ lots of trees? existing gutters inadequate and clog easily

Heat tapes in place but ice still forms. Leaves and debris constantly clog drains. Is there a better gutter system for our situation?

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4 Answers


Chainsaw ?

Honestly, with icing and heavy leaves, I don't believe there is a system out there that is going to make your problems go away, and the leaf guard systems will just hold the wet/frozen leaves and promote glaciering on the edge of your roof, causing roof damage. In your situation, if putting the maximum slope on the gutters and using larger than normal downspout size with no bends, if you don't want to clear the trees back I think eliminating the gutters and paying attention to compacted earth sloping well away fromthe foundation may be your only low-maintenance alternative.

You can get other opinions in prior responses to similar questions in the Home > Gutters link in Browse Projects, at lower left.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


Moens Bye President of Valmont Industries ( center pivots and poles for traffic signals) called us in Sept 2014 with a 5 million dollor remodel of his home in progress, he said, as an enigineer and with an 18/12 pitched shake roof your product,MasterShield is the only gutter cover on the market that will not overrun and never will need cleaning.

MS warranty is transferable with the manu, & the dealer agrees to refund purchase price if the gutter clogs. It can be heated to stop ice over doors etc. Moen lives in a native forest in the heart of Omaha with Pine,Oaks, Maples and mucho other trees surrounding it.

Jim Casper Angies's List Super Service Award and BBB Integrity Award winner

ps for how tos go to my web site


Answered 4 years ago by jccasper


1-chainsaw is correct--cut down trees close to house--- 2-try six inch gutters with metal screens [purchased in sections -i think they come in 2 foot sections ] screwed into gutters to keep them in place and keep the birds out of getting stuck in the gutters---3-ice will always form with wet cold conditions-that i do not have a clue how to stop ice from forming other than turning up the heat and opening the windows by the gutters--JUST KIDDING WITH THAT ONE- i do not have heat tapes but maybe you need more heat tapes if ice is still forming

Source: just me

Answered 4 years ago by loujo


There are two types of heat tapes - one type (low-temp) for use directly on asphalt shingles and on membrane roofing, a second type (high-temp) for use on non-combustible surfaces like metal roofs and metal gutters - you may need the second type, or as other comment said - more heattape to provide enough energy to keep them melted. Note you should NEVER put two heat tapes side by side or crossing over each other - put in parallel rows or closer zig-zags if you need more.
Other thing to consider - is WHERE are the heat tapes. Unless truly waterproof and fully imersed at the very bottom of the gutter and in good contact with it, they may just be heating the air and not thawing out the ice buildup much at all. There is also a new one out there - don't remember the name - which is a self-adhesive (has to be put on in above-freezing temps though) flat strip with insulated backing which mounts on the UNDERSIDE of metal gutters, so the heat is right at the bottom where it does the most good, and the small amount of waste heated air escaping through the foam backing on the tape rises along the outside of the gutter up both sides, heating it. It may also be that you need heat tape on the edge of the roof to melt the glaciering/icicling BEFORE it goes into the gutters, if you have a problem with glaciering flowing over the edge into the gutter. Other solution - and I can hear Jim screaming about this from here - is use the brown RainGo PVC gutters - they work great in icing conditions because the plastic is far less heat conductive or radiative than metal, so the water is not being put into a big metal radiator to freeze. They also heat up nicely (the brown ones, not the white) in the sun to self- melt. I have a side to my house with significant glaciering issues due to solar melting of the snow pack on the roof - I will commonly have little icicles forming on the edge of the shingles at night as the meltwater continues coming out of the snowpack and then freezes on the edge of the roof - but I generally have to melt out the gutters only once a year when the snowpack starts melting in earnest, and in that case just some hot water works nicely because it thaws the gutter quickly, so you can just then grab 2-4 foot long pieces of ice out of the gutter (thawed around the edges and throw them out of the gutter. I have never had downspout freezeup either. Of course, not mentioned yet, is if you have significant snowmelt issues on your roof other than just during breakup, then you may need to be looking at attic ventilation and/or insulation to bring down the heatflow through the roof. This is particuylarly the case if you have a problem with melting of the snowpack from the bottom up, which can cause glaciering right at the lower edge of the snowpack, which in spring can be well uphill of the ice and water shield along the edge of the roof, hence cause water intrusion through the roofing into the attic. As for leaves and twigs clogging drains - other than cleaning the gutters more often, though this will mean ALL of them stay in the gutter, there is one solution. Since most of the twigs and leaves do not make it to the downspout anyway except during hosing, you can bend fiberglass window screen (so avoid rapid freezing) or hardwire cloth so it has ripples maybe 1/2 inch high, and lay it in the bottom of the gutter as a dam to trap the twigs and leaves before they make it to the downspout. OF course, the leaves and such will dam up against it but it will pretty well stop downspout clogging. When you clean the gutter it has to be pulled up to be able to wash it clean, but not tough to pull out - or just use new next time. Some people just put a few flat stones in the bottom - not more than 1/4-1/2" high or so, just enough to act as debris dams. And of course,the steeper the gutter the faster water flows out, so the less freezes in it. If you arch the gutter up in the center to just under the shingles/dripedge, then slope it down to both ends (if able to put downspouts at each end) you can get about a 1% slope on it - enough to drain fairly well anytime there is free water. Looks a bit funny that steep, but hey - it WORKS. Does mean remounting the hardware of course, and some types of mounting brackets cannot be dropped that far down.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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