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Some homeowners swear by salting their gutters, saying it’s an easy way to break up ice dams in the winter. Other people will tell you that the salt causes unfavorable side effects. Here, we weigh the pros and cons.

The Pros of Salting

During the winter, some people use salt in their gutters to prevent the formation of ice dams. One of the best ways to do this is to pour rock salt into large socks or sections of pantyhose, then secure the open ends with twine. Space the socks a few feet apart inside the gutter trough so the ice melt clears the ice, just as it does on sidewalks, driveways and other flat surfaces. The melted ice will then run easily through your gutter system, and ice dams will dissolve and allow water runoff from your roof to enter your gutters.

The Cons of Salting

Opponents of gutter salting point to the damage that salt can do. Even regular rock salt has the potential to change the color of your shingles or adversely affect roofing materials. In addition, salt can be corrosive enough to damage aluminum gutters, metal flashings and downspouts. Finally, the salt can mix with the water that drains out of gutters and downspouts – which can then weaken or kill plants, grasses, shrubs and flowers. These harmful effects can be magnified if you use calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and other chemicals instead of regular rock salt.

What Should You Do?

In the end, it’s really your decision as to whether or not your gutters should be salted. Factors to consider include:

  • The severity of ice damming on your home.
  • The amount of plants or grasses next to your house.
  • The type of metal used in your guttering and flashing.

Another alternative is to consider more permanent solutions to gutter clogs and ice damming such as a gutter system with Gutter Helmet® and Helmet Heat® installed. To find out more about these innovative products from a dealer in your area, please call us at (800) 824-3772. You can also check out the gutter cover reviews on our website.