Gutters are a crucial component of your home’s exterior, but they’re often overlooked. Installed along the edge of your roof, they redirect rainwater away from your home, protecting your foundation and walls from water damage, mold, and other issues. With regular gutter maintenance, your home should be worry-free.
However, gutters can become clogged with debris, such as leaves and twigs, which can cause water to back up and overflow. Serious backups in your gutter system spell trouble for your entire home, and ignoring these issues can become a serious problem. Here are 5 reasons not to ignore your gutters.
Some of the most common gutter issues include leaks, saggings, clogs, weather damage (think hail dents or scratches from tree branches) and poor pitch or slope.
Sags can occur when the gutter is not properly secured. When rain arrives, water pools into the bend. Sagging gutters are often the result of poor installation due to the incorrect slope but can also be an impact of heavy debris build up along with warping due to exposure to the elements. If the sagging is deep enough, water won’t flow as it should and instead will become stagnant.
Gutter leaks occur at the seams or joints of the gutter and can cause water to seep into your home. In addition, dripping from a leaky gutter can slowly erode your landscaping or cause an icy patch on the sidewalk during winter.
Clogged gutter problems can form when leaves, debris, and other materials block the flow of water. If enough of a gutter clog builds up, it can weigh down the material and cause sagging. A blocked gutter is also a recipe for backups. With nowhere to go, water will leak out behind the gutter and seep into your home.
In the Midwest, we’re all too familiar with seasonal storms. High winds, heavy rain, and other extreme conditions can wreak havoc on home exteriors- gutters included. From superficial damage like scratching to major dents or other damage, your gutters may take a beating from Mother Nature. While scratches aren’t generally an issue, dents and sagging may impact functionality and should be addressed as soon as possible.
Did you know that gutters shouldn’t be placed completely level? Rather, they are gently sloped to allow for water to flow evenly. An expert gutter installer knows the correct way to hang gutters so they look even, but actually send water to the downspouts at the proper rate and angle. If the gutter slope is angled too sharply, the water may flow too quickly and overwhelm the downspout. Gutter pitch is really important. If done incorrectly, you might end up with stagnant water, which does no good. Learn more about how standing water impacts gutters.
As you can tell, gutters are incredibly important to your home’s exterior functionality. If you’re consistently seeing issues, it may be time to consider gutter repair or replacement. Here are some of the top problems gutter issues can cause to a home.
One of the top problems gutter issues can cause is damage to your roof and fascia. When gutters aren’t regularly cleaned, excessive moisture from clogs and ice dams can lead to wood rot. Homes with lots of trees surrounding them, particularly with heavy foliage, are most at risk because the sunlight has less of an opportunity to dry out the roof. This can ultimately lead to the need for an early and costly roof replacement.
Two of the scariest words for a homeowner are “structural damage.” Yikes. Gutter problems can and do cause damage to foundations. This usually happens when water isn’t properly directed away from your home (think of overshooting and clogs). Instead of flowing into the downspouts, water seeps into the ground and can slowly crack your foundation.
Siding is also at risk if gutters aren’t properly draining. First, it’s an aesthetic problem- think of stains and black marks. More importantly, water running down the siding can cause interior problems, potentially allowing water to make it through to the walls and windows and cause mold buildup. That’s not just gross; it’s a health risk.
Without proper gutter setup or draining, the ground surrounding your gutter system may also be in trouble. Overflowing gutters can erode your grass and mulch, leaving you with an unsightly muddy patch in your yard. If the leak occurs over your sidewalk or driveway, that’s also at risk. Over-saturation may wear away the concrete, leaving behind fissures that are expensive and annoying to repair.
To prevent these issues from happening, it’s important to have your gutters inspected and cleaned regularly. This will help to ensure that they are in good working condition and that any potential issues are identified and addressed before they become a serious problem. If you notice any issues, such as leaking gutters, sags, or clogs, it’s important to have them repaired or replaced as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
It’s also important to ensure that your gutters are properly pitched and sloped to ensure that water is directed away from your home. Many experts recommend installing gutter guards or a seamless gutter system to help prevent debris from clogging your gutters.
If you’re seeing early red flags with your gutters, or if you’re hoping to prevent clogged gutter problems before they start, contact us or get an estimate for assistance with gutter cleaning, repairs, and replacement. Our gutter installers can help answer questions and correct errors before they cause major damage.