How do you fix ice dams and crawl space insulation in historic homes?
House built in mid 1890s. Installed gutters with leaf screens which caused ice dams during unprecedented winter storm. How to prevent it in future? Contractor said it wasn't a big deal. Crawl space under house with pipes which froze during same storm. Is it wise to insulate the wood skirting around the house to prevent a repeat situation?
You’ve got two separate questions here, so first check this page here on crawlspaces –
How to insulate and seal crawl spaces
That should tell you all you need on that topic, and yes, it's best to insulate and protect your crawl space from moisture damage. Here is our page on what causes ice dams and how to fix them.
Adding gutters to a house shouldn’t cause ice dams, ice damming is caused by snow melting and re-freezing. So it is poorly installed or insufficient insulation that is your likely problem on that front. Have a look over those pages and feel free to ask follow ups if the don’t provide all you need.
Before insulating crawl spaces read here about what causes frost heave and how to prevent it in order to do it safely.
I had to deal with ice damming this winter. The simple answer is you are heating your roof. Most likely you have an air leak from a conditioned space into the attic. In my case the previous owner removed the furnace and the chimney but left the pipe between the heated crawl space and the attic.
The style of roof and what the area directly under it is used for is the most important factor in determining the cause of you ice damming.