Are Gutter Guards Bad In Winter? What The Pros Say

The intended function of a gutter guard is to protect the gutters of a house from falling debris and leaves that cause clogs and prevent rainwater from flowing through the gutters. These guards are effective in autumn and summer when there are many falling leaves and debris, but are gutter guards bad in winter?

Gutter guards can be bad in winter, depending on how much snowfall occurs in your area and how low the temperatures get. Ice and snow buildup may cause damage to the gutters and long-term damage to the house. The best gutter guards for winter are sloped and allow snow and ice to melt quickly. 

There are many varieties of gutter guards available on the market, and they all function well for preventing debris and leaves from blocking gutters, but some are better than others in the winter season. Are gutter guards bad in winter? Let’s find out what the pros say.

Why Home Inspections Are Important
Are Gutter Guards Bad In Winter?

Gutter guards are supposed to be bad in winter because these gutter protectors cause the buildup of ice and snow on top of the gutters in the wintertime.

Most contractors recommend gutter guards for helping to prevent gutter clogs and blockages that may potentially cause damage to the gutter systems and the house they are attached to. However, there are stories of gutter guards causing damage to the home in winter due to ice and snow buildup.

Gutter guards are safe in all seasons if the correct gutter guard is used and properly maintained, regularly cleaned, and cleared. There are multiple gutter guards available, and choosing the right kind of gutter guard for your house is essential. 

The reality is that the ice and snow melt shortly after it settles on the roof, and clearing out the gutter guards before the problem becomes too severe makes using gutter guards manageable.  

All of this means that gutter guards are safe in winter when properly maintained and correctly installed.

Not having gutter guards is worse than having them, even in the winter. Without gutter guards, any leaves or other debris left in the gutters into the winter will block the gutters and increase the severity of the problem.

Any leaves or debris left in the gutters when the water or snow freezes within them will increase the weight of the ice in the gutters and prevent it from melting quickly, causing more problems than if a gutter guard protected the gutters.

Gutter guards are only inadequate in winter if they become clogged with excessive snow or if the design of the gutter guards encourages the buildup of snow and ice above the gutters.

Are All Gutter Guards Bad In Winter

Not all gutter guards are even regarding winter gutter protection. The worst gutter guards in the winter are flat or with a very shallow incline and do not promote the melting of ice and snow.

Gutter guards can be bad in the winter due to the accumulation of ice and snow, but some gutter guards are worse than others regarding this issue.

The best gutter guards to use are those with large enough holes to allow chunks of ice and snow to fall into the gutter.

Gutter guards with large holes allow the accumulated material to slide off the roof or into the gutter. Gutter guards installed at a steeper angle let the material slide off the guard rather than collecting on top of it.

Gutter guards of this type are the best to use in areas that experience significant snowfalls or extended periods of sub-freezing temperatures.

Do Leaf Guard Gutters Prevent Ice Dams?

Leaf guard gutters do not prevent ice dams. The truth is that all gutters and gutter guard systems will freeze if the temperatures drop low enough.

There is, unfortunately, no way to gutter or gutter guard on the market that is immune to this problem, but some varieties of gutters and gutter guards experience worse ice dams than others.

Even when leaf guard gutters do not prevent ice dams, gutter guards designed to allow ice and snow to melt quickly or build up less quickly experience fewer issues related to ice dams than others.

Ice dams occur in gutters and gutter guards when snow accumulates on the house’s roof, melts, and becomes trapped on the gutter guard or in the gutter. Ice dams occur in all gutter systems, but choosing the correct gutter system and gutter guard helps limit the effects of ice damns and allows them to melt more quickly.

How Do You Prevent Ice Dams From Gutter Guards?

The most effective and straightforward way to prevent ice dams in gutters and gutter guards is to install heat cables in the gutters. Heat cables will supply a steady supply of heat in the gutters to keep the gutter system warm enough to prevent snow and ice from accumulating in the gutter system.

Ice dams are common in gutters and gutter guards, but there are some ways to prevent this issue and decrease the impact of this problem.

Steep-sloping gutter guards help snow and water slide off the gutters or into the gutters, which also helps prevent ice dams. 

Heat cables installed by a qualified technician combined with steep sloping gutter guards are the perfect way to prevent ice dams in gutter systems.

How Do You Protect Your Gutters In The Winter?

Protecting your gutters in winter begins in fall. Clean out your gutters through autumn to prevent the buildup of leaves. Keep surrounding trees trimmed to minimize the leaves that fall into the gutters. Install heat cables in the gutters, and apply deicing compounds to help melt ice in the gutters.

Maintaining gutters all year long is essential. Every season poses its problems to gutters and gutter systems, but there are ways to protect your gutters in the coldest months of the year.

The best way to keep gutters well protected in the winter months is to be sure that your houses’ gutters are clear of leaves and debris and install gutter warmers to prevent the buildup of ice in the gutters. 

Installing gutter warmers and gutter guards at an angle, and clearing out the gutters before the coldest months, is the best way to protect your gutters in the winter.


Gutter guards are used to protecting gutter systems from becoming clogged with leaves and other falling debris. Gutter guards work well for this purpose, but they can cause a buildup of snow and ice that freezes over in the winter months.

Gutter guards are not bad in winter when reinforced with gutter warmers such as heat tape or heating cables, and if the gutter guards are installed at an angle to promote the melting of ice and allow snow to slide over them.

Use the proper gutter guards for your house, and install them correctly with snow in mind, and the gutter guards should not cause too much of a problem in the winter months.

References is owned and operated by Hubert Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to also participates in affiliate programs with other affiliate sites. Hubert Miles is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.

Recent Posts