Gutter cleaning is an essential, but often overlooked, maintenance task. Left uncleaned, gutters quickly clog, causing potentially thousands of dollars of damage to your roof, walls, and foundations.
7 Reasons Why You Should Check Your Gutters Today
1. Faulty Gutters Lead To Damage To Your Foundations
Strong though they may be, the foundations of your building can be damaged when excess water pools at the base of your building. Which is exactly what happens when your gutters are no longer able to channel water away safely.
There are three ways this can damage your foundations:
- When water isn’t removed, the soil around your home can quickly become saturated. This can put additional pressure on your home, potentially damaging your foundations or basement walls.
- Even if water does drain, it can take soil with it. This erosion can cause the foundation to settle. This may mean that the weight of your building becomes distributed unevenly across your foundations.
- Finally, even if the structure is sound, any small cracks will allow water to enter the building. Flooded basements, mold, and further damage to walls and foundations can result.
Any damage to the foundations of your building can quickly get expensive: it is not unlikely that this kind of damage will set you back thousands of dollars.
2. Clogged Gutters Can Lead To Damage To The Exterior of a Property
The outside of your building might be waterproof, but it can still get damaged if it has prolonged exposure to water. When your gutters are clogged, water can damage both the fascia (the board behind the gutters) and your roof (by getting in under the roof tiles). Typically, this damages them by causing them to rot. If left uncorrected, this can result in an expensive repair.
Additionally, water streaming down your walls can cause staining, damage to your exterior walls, and may lead to water entering the walls. This can lead to internal problems (see below).
3. Clogged Gutters Can Contribute To Damp, Mold and Other Damage Inside a Property
Once it takes hold, mold can be very difficult to remove. Mold is caused by moisture build-up, which is commonly caused by a lack of ventilation. However, many homeowners overlook another common cause – damage to your gutters. Overflowing gutters can allow water to enter into your property through your roof, walls or basement.
No matter how much effort you put into removing mold, it will keep coming back until you solve the source of the problem. This means inspecting and repair the gutters and then regular cleaning to keep them in working order.
Left unchecked, mold and damp can lead to damage to carpets, furniture, and possessions, as well as potentially significant health risks, including:
- Respiratory issues, including throat irritation, coughing, and stuffiness
- Increased symptoms for people living with asthma
- Allergic reactions
- Skin irritation
Since mold is so hard to get rid of, the ideal scenario is that it never enters your home. By cleaning your gutters regularly
4. Gutter Covers and Leaf Guards Don’t Remove The Need For Gutter Cleaning
Gutter covers can significantly reduce the volume of debris entering your guttering system, but their protection isn’t 100%. Many homeowners incorrectly believe that installing gutter covers or leaf guards means they no longer need to have their gutter cleaned. This is incorrect.
While debris may take longer to build up, a clog can still occur. Reducing the frequency of maintenance might be appropriate, but stopping it entirely is not. A failure to clean your gutters may lead to a surprise bill.
5. Debris-Filled Gutters and Damp Attics Attract Pests and Rodents To Your Properties
Damp wood and rotting leaves – sound comfortable? If you’re an insect or a rodent, it might. Clogged gutters and damp attics might not sound great to us, but they’re perfect for many other species who will be more than happy to share your home.
Termites, for example, like humid conditions. Damp inside your property can encourage a termite infestation in your attic, which could cause significant damage. Meanwhile, mosquitos and flies are attracted to standing water which may be left by your leaky gutters.
Even birds can be troublesome. Clogged gutters are prime real estate for nest building, which only leads to a further build-up of debris. As a result, the damage can quickly escalate.
The resulting infestations either cause damage to your home or expose your family and guests to disease and uncomfortable bug bites. Cleaning your gutters regularly reduces the chances of this happening.
6. Damaged Gutters Are Expensive To Replace; Preventing This Damage Is Relatively Cheap
Uncleaned gutters are at an increased risk of damage. The weight of leaves and other debris can cause them to pull away from your wall and fall. This not only damages the gutters, brackets, and wall, but can also cause personal injury to someone close by.
Replacing your gutter can cost thousands of dollars; keeping it clean costs just a few dollars.
7. Damage To Surrounding Landscape
Overflowing or broken gutters don’t just damage buildings; an excess of water can also cause unsightly damage to your yard:
- Erosion will wash away nutrient-rich topsoil, leaving plants malnourished.
- Excess water will kill plants and grass.
- Decking exposed to standing water may rot.
- Further damage to furniture, patio, etc.
Once a large volume of water has entered your yard, some of the damage has already been done. This costs money and time to repair and reduces the curb appeal of the property. The best strategy is prevention.
Can You Afford Not To Clean Your Gutters?
Clogged or broken gutters can cause significant damage to your property. Replacing gutters or repairing your foundations or roof can cost thousands of dollars and damage to your yard and outside walls could reduce the beauty and value of your home.
If you are a landlord, rather than a resident, the threat to health could also leave you liable and vulnerable to prosecution.
How Often Should You Have Your Gutters Cleaned?
Most experts recommend that gutters should be cleaned twice a year at a minimum. Typically, the best times for this are during fall (after the majority of leaves have fallen) and spring.
However, some homes and locations may be exposed to a considerably higher volume of debris and may need to be cleaned more often.
Safeguard Your Property With The WIN Home Inspection Service
If you are buying a home, you must understand how changes in a building can affect the habitability and value of a property. Many of the problems caused by clogged gutters, such as foundation damage, may be invisible to the untrained eye. Only by partnering with an expert can you be certain that the home you are buying is habitable, safe, and worth the cost you are paying for it.
WIN’s comprehensive home inspection includes a visual inspection of more than 300 items. It includes the gutters and many areas where water damage may be present (foundations, basement or crawl space, interior and exterior walls, and roof).
For more information, please contact a WIN home inspector today by either clicking here to find a local home inspector, calling (800) 309-6753, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. An expert will be in touch with you promptly to discuss your situation and organize a convenient time to perform the inspection.