How Cleaning Gutters in the Spring Prevents Water Damage
The clean lines surrounding the edge of the roof are a result of a gutter system. While a pleasing aesthetic look is an inadvertent outcome of gutters, the drains surrounding the roof of the home have a far more important functional value.
Gutters have one role: divert rainwater and snowmelt from the roof of the home and away from the foundation. Downspouts that attach to the gutters steadily channel water far from the home. Extensions designed for downspouts can safely deposit water several feet away from the foundation.
The gutter system of a home is important. Without an operational gutter, rainwater and snowmelt will pool around the foundation, causing a swarm of problems. Foundation problems, landscaping issues, roof damage and wood fascia damage are common occurrences when gutters fail to perform.
What causes gutter problems?
The prime culprit in gutter issues is a lack of maintenance. Gutters loaded with debris, such as decaying leaves and twigs, simply do not function at their highest capacity. The clog interferes with the normal pathway rainwater would take to properly drain from the home’s foundation and siding.
As a consequence of clogs in the gutter system, rainwater, and snowmelt have nowhere to safely drain. Technically, the blockage in the gutter forces the accumulated rainwater to spill over the sides of the gutter, down the siding and pool around the home’s foundation. Water damage is the result.
How do clogged gutters cause water damage to the foundation?
The foundation can suffer water damage when the gutter is unmaintained. The overflow of rainwater from a blocked gutter saturates the soil around the foundation. The wet soil causes unusual pressure to the foundation walls, leading them to cave inward or crack.
When the foundation walls are strewn with tiny cracks, water has the opportunity to seep inside and into the basement. If the homeowner fails to seal the cracks right away, the result is a damp, flooded or structurally unstable basement. With the wetness comes significant water damage.
How do unmaintained gutters cause water damage to landscaping?
Flower beds, gardens and trees situated near the perimeter of the home also suffer when the gutter remains unmaintained. The pools of excess water that accumulate from an overflowing, clogged gutter cannot be tolerated by some greenery. The oversaturation destroys some plants.
How do blocked gutters cause water damage to the roof?
When water has no clear exit from the gutter—such as down the downspout—it will cause damage to the roofing structure. During the chilly winter season, the snowmelt trapped in the clogged gutter system freezes. Ice dams form. Water damage to the home inevitably accompanies ice dam formations.
How do unclean gutters cause interior water damage?
In addition to water damage to the roof, excess rainwater may travel down the siding and find a way to enter the inside of the home. As moisture infiltrates the home’s interior, the steady trickle leads to water stains to the walls and ceilings—evidence of serious water damage.
How do homeowners prevent blocked gutters?
Functional gutters are critical to avoiding water damage to a property. The proven method to prevent water damage from gutters is to clean them at least twice annually, in spring and autumn. Gutters closely surrounded by trees and shrubbery should be cleaned three to four times a year.
Homes situated in arid, desert-like climates can get by with gutter cleanings at least once a year. Homeowners who clean their gutters should make it a point to service the gutter in the autumn months, when the leaves have a greater tendency to drop or cascade throughout the natural environment.
What are gutter-cleaning options?
Gutter maintenance can be a DIY task. If the homeowner is willing to climb a ladder to access the gutter, cleaning the system can be accomplished in one weekend. However, when a home features multiple stories, hiring a professional gutter cleaner to service the gutter and downspouts is safer.
If the homeowner is up to the task, a ladder and a spotter are necessary. Thick gloves and safety goggles protect from sharp, flying debris inside the gutters. A garden trowel is useful to scoop out debris. A garden hose is convenient for washing away the debris inside the gutter.
The cost of a professional gutter cleaning averages $125 to $175. Factors that affect the price of professional services include whether or not the gutter surrounds all four sides of the home and whether or not the roof is steeply slanted—if so, costs increase by up to 15 percent.
Apart from cleaning the gutter, homeowners have an alternative option to help maintain the gutters: gutter guards. While a select few gutter screens keep out the majority of natural debris, not all installed gutter guards protect the system 100 percent. Occasional maintenance will still be necessary.
Dealing with Water Damage
When water from overflowed gutters, heavy rains, sewer backups or any other source damages your home, consult a reputable water damage restoration service. Experienced technicians help homeowners fully recover with high-quality restoration services. Comprehensive services provided by these professionals include an assessment of the damage, water extraction, thorough drying processes and a final sanitization to eliminate water-borne bacteria.
Specialists arrive swiftly to assess and contain the water damage, provide exceptional water cleanup services and return your water damaged property to its pre-disaster condition. Water damage technicians are licensed and certified to handle all forms of water damage.
How to Clean Gutters
Cleaning gutters isn’t a difficult job, although it is time consuming and can be dangerous, especially if you aren’t used to working on a ladder or a roof. After you’ve climbed up to the gutter, scoop out anything you find in the gutters. Once you’ve removed all of the solid debris you can safely reach, climb down and move the ladder. When the gutters are cleaned out, use your garden hose to flush out anything that may be left. If the water does not flow down the drainpipe, you may need a plumber’s auger to remove clogs in the drain pipe.
Call a Gutter Cleaning Professional
If spending all day digging rotting leaves out of the gutters doesn’t sound like your idea of a Saturday, call an experienced professional. They have the equipment and experience to clean your gutters quickly and thoroughly, and know how to spot and repair any water damage that may have occurred over the winter.