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How to Keep Gutters from Freezing in Winter

Icicles hanging from gutters on roof

Winter can be tough on every part of your roof. Have you done what you need to do to keep your gutters clear of ice? Learn how to keep gutters from freezing in winter, so you can avoid expensive problems down the line.

How to Keep Gutters from Freezing in Winter

Everyone knows that the winter is a difficult time for roof maintenance. Hopefully, you’ve already purchased the safety equipment you need and had your annual roof inspection long before the snow started falling. But no matter how well-prepared you are, winter can always bring surprises. One of the worst surprises your roof can dish up is a frozen gutter.

What Causes Frozen Gutters?

One of the reasons it’s so important to keep your gutters clean is because their function relies on unimpeded water flow. If nothing is blocking your gutters, water can safely be guided off of your roof and into a downspout. However, in the winter, blockages can occur if any sediment is in the gutter. Even small bits of leaves and rocks can get compounded into slushy ice by the movement of the water and the cold temperatures. If too much ice builds up, the drain can become blocked, backing the water up throughout the gutter system. It will then freeze, which can result in gutters full of ice.

Why Is It a Problem?

You may be wondering why it’s a big deal if your gutters freeze over. After all, won’t the ice melt away once it warms up? Unfortunately, ice can do a lot of damage to your gutters while you’re waiting for it to melt. The extreme weight of the ice combined with strong wind and other harsh weather conditions can cause your gutters to pull free, damaging your roof and potentially hurting your property in other ways as well. It may be tempting to ignore the problem and let it take care of itself, but ice-filled gutters can lead to a leaky roof and thousands of dollars in repairs. In most cases, it’s just not worth the risk. You’re better off keeping your gutters ice-free instead.

How Can I Avoid This Problem?

The good news is that while a frozen gutter is a hard problem to solve, keeping ice out of your gutters to begin with is a feasible goal for most homeowners. Here are the options most roofers will recommend to anyone grappling with icy gutters:

  • Make sure you have the right gutters on your house. Taylor-Made Roofing offers durable seamless gutters, as well as box-style gutters with open face downspouts. Not sure which gutter is right for you? Give us a call!
  • Make sure your gutters are cleaned regularly and maintained well. Keep an eye out for leaky gutters, or places in your gutter system that tend to get clogged.
  • Install a gutter guard to prevent debris from entering your gutter system.
  • If frozen gutters are a repeat issue, installing a heating element in your gutters can help keep the ice melting.
  • Pour a thin layer of magnesium chloride de-icer into your gutter to help melt ice and stop it from forming. Be sure not to use rock salt or other toxic de-icers that can harm your lawn or your pet’s feet.
  • If ice appears in your gutters, do not try to remove it by force. Solid ice is heavy and durable, and using a hammer or other tool to dislodge it can seriously harm your gutters. If none of the options above work for you, it’s time to get some expert help.


Now that you know what to do, make a plan for how to keep your gutters from freezing in winter. If you aren’t sure what would work best for your home, give the roofing experts at Taylor-Made Roofing a call.

When you have a roofing question, Taylor-Made Roofing is ready with user-friendly answers. With over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial roofing, we’re fully licensed and insured and dedicated to delivering the best service possible to our friends and neighbors here in Southwest Missouri. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Fully licensed and insured, Taylor-Made Roofing is ready to take care of your roof.
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