While the winter is finally close, one of the things to think about is the health of your gutters. The truth is, ice dams are a huge risk to consider each winter. Ice dams can do serious damage to a roof and its gutters. As a result, the time to think about updating your home’s gutter system for ice dam protection is now. Here is some information on what gutter guards are as well as the pros and cons to gutter guards.
What Are Ice Dams?
Ice dams are caused by heated air leaking into unheated attics. This warm air causes a warm area on the roof which in turn causes the snow on the exterior of the roof to melt. The melting snow moves down the roof slope until it reaches the cold overhang, where it refreezes. This process continues over and over again which causes a buildup of ice on the roof edge and soon water will pool behind the ice. Once this happens, the water will eventually find its way into the attic, ceiling and walls below.
The solution is to ensure that the proper amount of ventilation and insulation is present in the attic. Air sealing in the attics may have not been properly completed during the construction of many Minnesota homes, condos, apartments and commercial buildings.
What Are Gutter Guards and How Can They Help?
One of the ways to help prevent ice dams is to install gutter guards. Gutter guards can be found in either plastic or metal screens that are positioned over the width of the gutters. Common gutter guard styles include reverse curve, mesh, bottle brush, nylon, non-gutter cover, and a foam type. Some of these gutter guards catch the debris as the rainwater seeps through the grates & filters down the gutters while some avoid the backup of snow & water, preventing ice dams. Most are designed to protect both.
What Are the Pros and Cons to Gutter Guards?
One of the main benefits to gutter guards is that they help keep leaves and debris out of your gutters. These avoid clogs and ice dams during harsh winters and inclement weather. Each type of gutter guard serves a functional and important purpose: to avoid the buildup of leaves, debris, and mold from clogging your gutters, as well as protect the roof and home from severe ice dams. If your gutters are clogged and aren’t cleaned properly, then this keeps them from properly draining water runoff from your roof and away from your home and foundation.
Gutter guards are designed to prevent ice dams. They are designed to fit and sit inside the gutter which catches the snow and keep it off the roof. The gutter allows water to properly flow and drain through the gutter system, reducing the risk of ice damming.
The type and style of gutter guard varies with cost. Some gutter guards are made of inexpensive material and some gutter guards are made from stronger and more durable material. The cost can range from $6.50 a few feet to $20 a foot.