Most homeowners think of gutters as nothing more than those little sloping areas that get clogged with water, snow, and debris from their roofs. Therefore, they don’t consider cleaning the gutters the most important chore on their lists. Not giving your gutters the attention they need often proves a huge and sometimes irreparable mistake. Dirty gutters cause far more than aesthetic problems, as we’ll explain here.
The most common problem with dirty gutters is that they get clogged. This often happens as winter transitions to spring because cold weather has given debris, snow, dirt, and branches time to pile up. Homeowners in wet or snowy climates are especially at risk because clogs cause water to back up from your gutters onto the top of your roof’s fascia board.
Fascia boards cover the top of your walls up to the projecting eaves. Continual exposure to water and clogs can cause severe roof and eave damage. If your gutters are loose or start to slip, that’s a telltale sign your fascia boards are damaged, which may indicate a clog.
Repair clogs right away using a garden hose with a pistol-grip nozzle, turned on at full pressure. Spray toward the leader pipe so debris moves downward. Invest in a quality gutter scoop and clean your gutters regularly.
Leaks and Holes
Again, these happen often in wet, cold, or snowy locations. Yet, no climate is 100% safe from this problem. Leaky gutters will cause roof damage and may impact your home’s foundation if the water damage is severe enough.
Be particularly vigilant if your home is prone to ice dams, or collections of ice and snow that build up on the eaves of your roof.
Never go onto the roof to repair an ice dam with an axe or pick; use a rake with an extendable handle. Do not let the ice melt on its own, as this causes water damage.
If your gutters have persistent leaks or holes, use high-quality gutter sealant or a patch. You can find these items at your hardware store, or make your own patch from metal flashing.
Improperly Pitched or Missing Gutters
Again, most homeowners don’t notice their gutters as part of the bigger picture of their home’s health. An improperly pitched or missing gutter will lead to foundational damage, perpetually clogged gutters, seeping water, and in rare cases, roof cave-ins from ice dams or other debris.
To properly pitch a gutter, make sure you have 1/4 inch of slope for every 10 feet. Gutters should be pitched toward the downspout to allow proper water flow. Standing water indicates your gutter is pitched improperly.
Your gutter should never be angled so that it dumps water into the basement. Instead, extend downspouts several feet from your house, at least 4-5, and then screw them on. Do not rely on wire strainers or leaf traps for debris, as most of the smaller, lighter debris can escape and clog the gutters.
If your gutters are missing or need significant repairs, buy or replace a gutter system. Most homes use aluminum gutters because they are lightweight, durable, and more resistant to wear and tear than wood, plastic, or vinyl.
If you’d like more information or would like help repairing, maintaining or cleaning your gutters, please contact us today!