Step Metal Roofs

What the general opinion on gutters on a step metal roof or a metal roof in general? Should that have them or not?

Not required.


In general, I would not put gutters on steep metal roofs unless there is a special reason for them e.g. catching water, etc. They can easily get ripped off when a load of snow/ice comes of in one fell swoop. I see that they have avalanch guards above the porch, so you must get snow, where ever you are. The guards help reduce the large chunks from coming off all at once.

If they are needed on a steep metal roofs, avalanche guards are a must. And many are needed.

Please fill to your profile so you will get more accurate answers due to your location.


Mr. Jonas, what’s the main reason they are not required? Thanks

If you are in a northern climate I would be more worried about the plumbing vent stack.


Upper Southeast, 12” is a lot of snow now days. I’m thinking more on the line of protection coming out of the exterior doors. I definitely believe the snow/ice guards should be in place in those areas.

Is around 12” it’s good for around these parts.

The vent stack is 12” high? 12” of snow? I’d like to see a cricket above that vent stack or an avalanche guard as Larry suggested.

1 Like

Yes that is a good idea. Thanks

Thanks JJonas

1 Like

Should extend 6" above expected snow depths, so this should be 18" total (min.).

Larry, this topic isn’t covered in the reading material, so I really appreciate your response!

What are your thoughts on the second picture? To my eye, that short eve would dump water right against the foundation. Obviously, without knowing what a typical rainfall is for the area makes it hard to guess…

I assume there are situations where gutters on a metal roof are appropriate, right?

1 Like

Put a gutter there with avalanch guards on roof.

1 Like

That’s how I feel on the main house with the same overhangs at the entryways? If you would add gutter at the location in question, would you also add above entryways?

If one puts gutters on a metal roofed home, make sure to put MANY avalanch guards on, too. They have a calculator to determine the number based on sq. ftg. on the website. Get extra. They’ll be needed.

1 Like

Thanks Larry

Down here in Fla we don’t know what an avalanch guard is, we just worry about hurricane straps and shutters. :grinning:


To summarize many comments.

Gutters are used to collect water, direct it over to downspouts which takes it down closer to the ground where the downspout extensions take all that water away from the house so it doesn’t sit against the foundation or basement wall or surface drain away from the house and damage landscaping. If it sits against the foundation/basement wall, it can find a way into the basement. If you don’t have a basement, there is not as much “urgent” need for gutters, but it’s still a good idea to keep that water from pooling against the foundation walls, where it “could” over time cause the foundation wall to deteriorate or fail.

Metal roofs would need gutters for that same reason, to collect water and direct it away from the house, too avoid wet basements or damaged foundations and landscaping.

Metal roofs in areas that get snow have a problem in that they are slick, and once it gets slightly warm out all the snow on the roof will give way and slide down and off the roof. See JJ’s first picture in the first reply to the OP, which shows all the snow on the roof slid off in one big sheet. That can be a huge load of snow sliding down, and could be very heavy. If you have gutters, the sliding snow can rip the gutters partially or completely off of the house, as you can see in his next picture. And that sliding snow/ice coming off the roof and now falling to the ground is unsafe, causing damage to anything or anyone under it. So you must use the avalanch guards, which are located in the column of the formed metal roof and about 2’-3’ from the bottom of the roof. It stops all the snow/ice above it from sliding down and falling off the roof. Commerical buildings, especially tall buildings, have this problem a lot in downtown areas, where they have to stop that snow/ice from falling down and killing someone on the sidewalk below.

If you live in snow country with a metal roof, you should install the avalanch guards above safety zones, i.e. any part of the roof where falling snow and ice could be unsafe to people or property, like above doors, porches, decks, and driveways. You don’t necessarily need them above yards except where there is something located directly under the roof like the A/C unit or pool filter. Bottom line, if you have a basement, then it’s best to have gutters. If you have a metal roof with gutters, then you’ll need the avalanch guards above the gutters as well as above the safety zones.

So it’s home owner preference for those items, there’s no hard and fast requirement for gutters, or for avanlanch guards except on certain parts of the roof, it all depends on the site and the conditions. Hope that helps.

1 Like