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Do Gutter Guards Cause Ice Dams?

Posted on March 16, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 5 Min.

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Do Gutter Guards Cause Ice Dams?

Welcome to our latest blog post regarding gutter guards. At Miller Roofing and Renovations, we constantly strive to help homeowners become more aware of the various components of the home improvement industry so that they can take better care of their property. One such important component is gutter guards. In our previous blog posts, we’ve covered what gutter guards are, and the types of gutter guards available on the market. 

In this post, we’ll discuss whether gutter guards cause ice dams. We will explore the relationship between gutter guards and ice dam formation, and determine whether or not they’re responsible for this common winter problem.

What Are Ice Dams?

Do Gutter Guards Cause Ice Dams
Ice Dams

Ice dams are a common problem that occurs in winter when snow accumulates on a roof and then melts due to heat emitted from the attic and refreezes along the eaves. This problem occurs due to a difference in temperature along different areas of a roof. 

During the winter, HVAC units may run constantly to keep a home’s interior warm. This hot air rises to the attic and heats up the space below your roof. This heat then causes the snow on the roof to melt, and as the melted snow flows down the roof and reaches the cold eaves, it refreezes and forms a dam. 

This dam prevents any additional melted snow from draining off the roof, and as more snow melts, the water may begin to seep under the shingles, causing damage to the roof, walls, and ceilings. Many homeowners think that this is a problem that they’ll only face in the winter, but it could possibly continue till early spring. 

How Ice Dams Affect Gutter Guards 

An ice dam forms along the eaves of the roof, and the longer you ignore this problem, the more the ice dam will grow, which may also damage your gutters.  

As we’ve discussed above, this trapped water seeps under shingles and other roofing materials, but it also seeps behind the gutters, causing them to loosen or even detach from the roof.

Additionally, the weight of ice and snow on your gutters can cause them to sag or bend, leading to potential breakage or pulling away from the roofline. This can result in costly repairs or a total replacement of the gutter system. 

However, it’s important to note that if gutters and downspouts are not adequately sized or installed correctly, they may not be able to handle the amount of water that flows through them during heavy rain or snow melt. This can lead to water backing up and overflowing the gutters, increasing the likelihood of ice dam formation. 

In this case, gutter guards can exacerbate the problem by preventing water from flowing freely to the gutters, causing it to pool and potentially freeze. So simply stated, while gutter guards are not the culprit in terms of forming ice dams, they contribute to their formation if the gutter system is clogged. 

Do Gutter Guards Cause Ice Dams? 

As we have noted in previous blogs, different types of gutter guards are available on the market, and each has its pros and cons. 

One of the most popular gutter guards in recent years is the reverse curve gutter guard. 

Also known as a surface tension guard, this gutter guard works by using the principle of surface tension to direct water into the gutters while keeping debris out. They typically consist of a curved surface extending over the top of a gutter, and they also usually have a small opening that allows water to enter and pass through the downspout. 

Do Gutter Guards Cause Ice Dams
Do Gutter Guards Cause Ice Dams

While reverse curve gutter guards can prevent large debris from entering the gutters, they cannot stop water from freezing and forming ice dams. In fact, some homeowners have reported that the curved surface of the gutter guard makes ice dam formation worse. How? Since they have a larger opening than most other gutter guards, they sometimes let in more than just water. Dust and debris can enter the guard and clog up the gutters, contributing to ice dam formation since with nowhere to go the water will begin to pool and freeze. 

Therefore, while reverse curve gutter guards may be effective at keeping gutters free of debris, they are not a foolproof solution to preventing ice dams.

What Is The Solution? 

While some gutter guards contribute to ice dam formation, other alternatives can offer relief. If you are looking for sturdy gutter guards that will help you tackle the problem of ice dam formation, then you should consider micro-mesh gutter guards. It consists of a fine mesh screen that fits over the gutter and is secured with clips or other fasteners.

The small mesh holes of the gutter guard prevent debris such as leaves, twigs, and other small particles from entering the gutters and clogging the system. This helps ensure that water can flow through the gutters freely and won’t become trapped and freeze in the gutters, leading to ice dam formation.

How Do You Prevent Ice Dams? 

Since we know that ice dams are a serious threat in the winter and early spring, if you don’t want to face such a situation, knowing how to stop ice dams from forming on your home is important. Preventing ice dams is essential to avoid damage to gutters, roofs, walls, and ceilings. 

Here are some tips that can help prevent ice dams:

  • Keep the roof cold: Adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic can help keep the roof from absorbing heat from the attic space below, reducing the likelihood of snow melting and forming ice dams.
  • Seal air leaks: Seal any air leaks in the attic, such as around vents, and electrical wires to prevent warm air from escaping and warming the surface of the roof.
  • Increase ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation in the attic to regulate the temperature and prevent warm air from building up.
  • Upgrade insulation: Upgrade the insulation in the attic to ensure that it meets current standards and prevents heat from being absorbed by the roof.


It’s important to note that gutter guards are designed to prevent debris from entering the gutters, not to prevent water from flowing into them. Therefore, gutter guards alone are not a solution for preventing ice dams.

In summary, gutter guards themselves do not cause ice dams, but improper installation or maintenance can contribute to ice dam formation. If you live in an area with frequent snow, but want to still keep debris out of your gutters, ensure the style of gutter guard you choose won’t actively aid in ice dam formation. 

Also, read  How Much Do Gutter Guards Cost?

Soothe Your Gutter Protection Worries With Our Expert Services!

Gutter maintenance and installation is not an easy task, and a lot depends on the quality of your gutters and gutter guards. So if you have not yet installed gutter guards, it is better to hire a reputable company to do the job for you.                            

If you want the best gutter services, you only need to contact the Miller Roofing and Renovations team. We have years of experience in the industry and offer the best gutter installation service in Memphis. 

Whether you need to replace your gutter system or just want to upgrade your existing system by installing gutter guards, our experts can do it all. Contact us today at (901) 457-9405 to kick-start your home improvement project! 

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