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Ice Damage to Copper Gutters

Many of you are aware that we operate a division of our company that specializes in ice dam removal and prevention in the greater metro area of Minneapolis and St. Paul called The Ice Dam Company. We are the oldest and most likely largest ice dam removal and prevention business in the United States and the only such company directly linked to a large exteriors and remodeling company. Good stuff. What we have seen this season in the Twin Cities was pretty remarkable, even by Minnesota ice dam standards. It’s safe to say that this year has ranked in the top 3 worst ice dam seasons in the past 25 years, with thousands of homes being badly damaged as the result of water intrusion relating to ice dams. The Ice Dam Company has been working seven days a week to stay on top of demand and we haven’t even come close to addressing all of the calls and emails we received. That brings us to the topic at hand: Copper gutters and ice damage.

We are currently receiving an unusual number of calls from clients whose gutters have been damaged by ice and snow. This is a phenomena that affects homes with steeper roofs mostly, in particular with cedar and slate roofing systems because they tend to be quite slippery. The less frictional resistance that the roofing material offers, the more likely ice and snow will slide off, taking the gutters along for the ride. Fixing issues relating to ice and snow damage to gutters is relatively simple. Simple but not always cheap. Copper gutters a the most expensive systems used and when those gutters are integrated into roofing systems like slate or tile the replacement of said systems can get very, very expensive, often involving the removal and replacement of the lower 2-3 feet of roof adjacent to all affected areas.

The next obvious topic relates to preventive this sort of damage in the future. The only real solution is to install a series of snow guards to reduce the velocity of the snow and ice that may hit the gutter system. Such guards usually cost $15-$25 per piece before installation, with factors such as roof pitch, job height, access and roofing system playing a significant roll in the final project cost. It’s not unusual to spend $30-$40 per piece for labor and materials to install snow guards.

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