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The Boston Globe


Handyman on Call

Is it OK to remove gutters from a house?

Q. We live in a one-level, ranch-style home. I can no longer go through another winter of frozen gutters, ice dams, and water finding a way into our home. I would like to remove the gutters from the house. Would this solve any or all of these problems? Are there any drawbacks to removing them? Are there other solutions not so expensive?PAUL, from Winchester

A. It is possible to take off gutters without dire results, but the presence of or lack of them does not cause ice dams. The only cause of ice dams (and their leaks) is a warm roof, although in some rare cases people who have raked their roofs free of snow claim that it stops ice dams and leaks. My house, nearly 250 years old, does not have gutters on the main part, but has heavy insulation on the attic floor, good ventilation from soffit vents, and a high-up roof vent, making a cold roof, and I have not had ice dams or leaks from ice dams in the 49 years I have lived in it.

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