Gutters are a bit of an unsung exterior hero that many property owners take for granted. When they’re working well, they’re safely discharging roof water runoff away from the property foundation. But when they’re full of debris and roof runoff can’t freely flow to downspouts, then they can present a serious threat. Noting this, it’s critical to ensure that your gutters are properly maintained. In this post, we’ll get into more of the reasons why it’s so important to properly care for and maintain your gutters. We’ll also give you some tips on how you can make this maintenance easier. Here’s a look:
Why it’s Important to Maintain Your Gutters
Over time, leaves, twigs and other debris are likely to fall into your gutters. And if this debris is left uncleaned, it has the potential to cause some major problems. Aside from clogging downspouts and preventing proper water dispersion away from your property, clogged gutters can also weigh down the system, potentially causing the gutters to pull away from the roofline. The gap that forms means that your gutters aren’t likely to be catching water anymore. In some cases, the gutters can become so heavy that they can completely tear away from your home, making significant repairs a necessity – both to the gutters and maybe even the facade. But there are several other reasons why it’s crucial to maintain your gutters. Here’s a closer look at some of them:
Prevent Water Intrusion and Water Damage
Poorly maintained gutters are going to leave your property more susceptible to water damage and water intrusion. For instance, clogged gutters that overflow are likely to cause water to pool up near your property’s foundation walls and potentially then into the basement or lower levels of the property. Water intrusion may also occur through roof shingles. For instance, if gutters are clogged and water runoff can’t properly drain, it could refreeze in the winter or pool up onto the roof in the summer. If the issue is left to persist, it could enter through the roof and cause damage to attics and ceilings.q
Water damage has a tendency to be costly to repair and potentially very destructive. What’s more, if water damage isn’t properly addressed and restored, it could lead to mold growth – a whole other problem in and of itself.
Prevent Foundation Degradation, Roof Damage
Like we said above, clogged or damaged gutters are likely going to cause water to spill out over the gutter lip and around your property’s foundation below it. If this occurs for a long enough period of time, it’s likely to lead to more than just water intrusion, but foundation degradation as well. And we mentioned how destructive ice dams can be when they form in the previous section. They occur in the winter months when snowmelt isn’t able to adequately drain via the gutter system. When this occurs, it can cause a logjam of water on the roof as it’s blocked from entering the gutter and traveling to the downspouts. While water intrusion is likely to occur through the roof, the roof may also incur damage.
Avoids Pest Problems
Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Twigs, branches and debris are necessities for bird and mice nests. Bees can find moisture and debris enticing. In more tropical climates, you might even find snakes slithering up your downspouts to feast on any critters that may be nesting in your gutters. An unkempt gutter system isn’t just bad for your foundation and home aesthetics, but it can also serve as a welcome mat to unwanted pests and other critters.
Ensures Gutter Longevity
Finally, proper maintenance of your gutters ensures longevity and that you’ll be able to recoup the most from your original investment. Gutters can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years – and maintenance is a key factor in ensuring longevity.
How to Maintain Your Gutters
Gutter maintenance is like any other chore – you have to put in the work if you want the best results. Here’s a look at some strategies and tips for maintaining your gutters:
Make Plans to Clean Them at Least Twice Per Year
If you don’t mind putting in the work yourself, we suggest committing to cleaning your gutters of leaves, twigs and other debris at least twice a year (perhaps more if you live in an area of dense foliage). Generally, this is best done in spring and then again in the fall. If heights aren’t your thing or you aren’t comfortable on a ladder, consider hiring a handyman or contractor to do it for you.
Install Gutter Guards
The best way to ensure that your gutters are always working to disperse water safely away from your property is to install gutter guards over your gutters. Gutter guards are nice because they allow water to pass through and flow freely in the gutter system while blocking the likes of leaves, branches and other debris. This ensures that gutters and downspouts won’t clog, and eventually any debris will roll off the gutter guard and to the ground below. And because gutters will always permit free-flowing water, you’ll be able to avoid many of the issues we described above.
Regularly Inspect for Problems
Another way to maintain your gutters is to regularly inspect them for any issues. For example, a good habit to get into is simply taking an umbrella and walking around your property in that first spring rain. Make sure that there are no leaks in your gutters or downspouts and that water is freely flowing from downspout discharge points. Take note of any leaks or other issues that you spot and make sure to repair them when the weather clears so any problems don’t have a chance to escalate.
Contact KGuard Today
For more information on why it’s so important to properly maintain your gutters and for insight on the solutions – such as gutter guards – to help you do it, contact KGuard today.