Author Topic: Rain Gutters and snow  (Read 5413 times)

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Offline suburbancowboy

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Rain Gutters and snow
« on: August 18, 2010, 06:59:12 AM »
Does anybody know of a rain gutter system that can be used that won't be pulled off when snow slides off the roof in the winter?  ???  Let me describe what I have.  I am building a 20 X 36 and want to collect the rain water off the roof and collect in a cistern to water some trees with the collected water.  The roof is metal with a 12 X 12 pitch so in the winter the snow will slide off.  But I don't want the rain gutter to get ripped of every winter.  I also don't want to have to remove the gutter every fall and refill it every spring.  Is there such a thing as a colapsable system (maybe spring loaded) where when the snow slides it just folds under and lets the snow slide of.

Offline astidham

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2010, 08:44:50 AM »
if you check with your local metal roofing supplier most of them carry finials that attach to your metal roof near the lower edge to slow ice and snow. (snow brakes)
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Offline rocking23nf

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2010, 08:51:21 AM »
Snow falls off my ashpalt roof every spring in canada, the gutters never move.  I have never heard of this problem before.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2010, 11:50:00 AM »
I have seen gutters ripped off a roof by sliding snow. The problem may be worse with slick materials like metal or slate than it is with asphalt shingles. I can't say for certain. With the 5:12 pitch metal roof on the cabin large slabs slide as one and can tear off a gutter. Even the 4:12 pitch on the suburban home has snow slides that would rip off gutters at times. Depends on how much build up there is before it gets warm enough to slide.

My recent travels in Switzerland revealed a solution used by many there.



There were others with smaller diamter pipes, maybe one inch.

They also used snowbirds or snow breaks on some buildings. Some also had roof tops covered with 10-12 inch diameter rocks, although those were less steep pitches.


I've never seen a commercially available tilting or spring loaded mount. I've thought of various home brewed methods but none that don't require user intervention fall and spring. I don't want to make another thing that has to be done seasonally.  I am thinking of trying a pipe, as illustrated, on my shed in the mountains.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time and money to fix it?

Offline MaineRhino

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2010, 02:04:14 PM »
I've never had rain gutter trouble with snow or ice on the asphalt shingle roof of my house.

This was the shelter for the hen house. It didn't last until spring.


Offline MountainDon

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2010, 02:09:01 PM »
Wow!! That's an impressive snow curl.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time and money to fix it?

Offline suburbancowboy

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2010, 06:40:37 AM »
Do you believe that if I mount the rain gutter low enough that the snow would slide over the top?

Offline MaineRhino

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2010, 12:49:31 PM »
It's usually the ice that will rip off the gutters. As long as it is insulated properly, it should last a while.

This is my garage, a good example of how NOT to do it. This is the result of heat reaching the roof. I need to insulate the garage ceiling to eliminate the ice problem.

« Last Edit: August 20, 2010, 02:38:48 PM by MaineRhino »

Offline DirtyLittleSecret

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2010, 12:55:32 PM »
I keep thinking about hanging some gutters on spring loaded hinges to allow for snow loads.  With a 10:12 metal roof very little actually stays put, but want to integrate a water catch system with a cistern for backup water.
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Online MushCreek

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2010, 01:03:00 PM »
........or you could just move to a climate where those kinds of things aren't a problem! d*

I think you could rig up a spring-loaded system, but your downspout would have to flexible as well.
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Offline MountainDon

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2010, 01:19:04 PM »
I believe that to try and set up some springs that will move with the unwanted snow/ice, but not move if there is a downpour of the wanted rain, would be a real hit or miss thing. I believe the only practical solution is to stop the snow slide or not have the gutter. I would like somebody to prove me wrong as I want some gutters but do not want the troubles I've seen occur on my mountain neighbors cabin. As well I do not want to have to do a seasonal change. I know, I'm hard to please.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time and money to fix it?

Offline firefox

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2010, 02:35:36 PM »
You, Hard to to please Don? Give me a break, you're down right
impossible ;D
I'm thinking that if you install a piece of well supported steel
just at the end of the roof but with a small adjustable gap
between where the roof ends and this piece of steel starts.
Under the gap is where the gutter is. This way the snow and ice
will slide right over the gap and on to the ground, but rain water will
go thru the slot and into the gutter. The reason for making it adjustable is you will have to experiment with the gap size.
Just an idea, I don't know if it will work or not.
Bruce
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Offline suburbancowboy

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2010, 07:48:48 PM »
Great idea Bruce I might just go that way.

Offline firefox

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2010, 09:44:18 PM »
You may get some ice flow thru the slot, so be prepared for it.
I suspect that if you keep the gap small it wont be a problem.
I would experiment on a shed first and see what happens.
Bruce
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Offline TheWire

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2010, 04:42:27 AM »
What about gutter helmet? 



I have this on my house with asphalt shingles and it works great.  I'm not sure how it would tie to a metal roof, but because its streamlined and sturdy, I think it would take a lot of snow to damage it and I think its guaranteed.  Plus then there won't be leaves in your gutters either.  Its not cheap, but its a permanent solution.

Offline Monica D

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2010, 12:14:22 AM »
We have a metal roof over our hottub, less slope but same issue.  I just moved the gutter down a little so the snow slide missed it.  As the snow seems to come down in sheets and they tend to come off straight in line with the slope and the rainwater seems to run off in a downward arc I figured I would give it a try.  After four years it seems to work.
Minor problem created = when it really pours, some, not most, of the water that pours down misses the gutter completely but when it was up higher and it really poured it just overflowed when the downspout couldn't handle the volume anyway.  Most of our rain is not torrential downpour so mainy it just drips down a little farter before hitting the gutter.

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2010, 07:00:11 AM »
w* to the forum, Monica.  Sounds like a good idea.
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Offline waggin

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2010, 12:31:20 PM »
We have a metal roof over our hottub, less slope but same issue.  I just moved the gutter down a little so the snow slide missed it.  As the snow seems to come down in sheets and they tend to come off straight in line with the slope and the rainwater seems to run off in a downward arc I figured I would give it a try.  After four years it seems to work.
Minor problem created = when it really pours, some, not most, of the water that pours down misses the gutter completely but when it was up higher and it really poured it just overflowed when the downspout couldn't handle the volume anyway.  Most of our rain is not torrential downpour so mainy it just drips down a little farter before hitting the gutter.


Neighbor's roofer sets gutters 1" below plane of roof surface to allow snow to slide off standing seam metal roofs.  This is in an area with a 70# snow load and sporadic wet and heavy snow.  In other words, put a straightedge on the roof surface extending out over the edge, then have the highest point of the gutter 1" below the straightedge.  This is with an approx. 5/12 pitch.  Not sure if on a steep roof if that would cause the water to fly over the gutter in a heavy downpour though.  Someone else may be able to address that question.
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Offline Dave Sparks

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Re: Rain Gutters and snow
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2010, 10:47:06 AM »
On some of the gutter failures in the high country the gutters were screwed on 24" r 30" centers. No matter what angle the roof or the angle of the gutter eventally snow and ice will sit in a gutter. Best to fasten with 12" centers!
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