Is your mind in the gutter? Well, it should be if you want to have a house that is in good working order. Rainwater is a natural element that can wreak havoc on a house if it’s not controlled by properly installed and maintained rain gutters. There are many misconceptions about gutters and as a result there are many mistakes homeowners are making. In some cases these mistakes are causing damage rather than preventing it.
Here is why rain gutters are so important:
- Soil around the house is stabilized
- Foundation problems can be avoided
- Flooding under houses and in basements can be prevented
- Erosion can be prevented and this preserves landscaping and turf
- Water damage to siding can be prevented
- Water staining on brick and stone masonry can be prevented
- Settling and cracking of sidewalks, patios and driveways can be lessened
- Exterior doors and garage overhead doors can be preserved.
The one downside to rain gutters is they require work. Homeowners must be vigilant in keeping them clean and in working order. Chances are if you have gutters you probably don’t clean them out often enough. If you wait until they are full of leaves and if you are scooping soil out of your gutters, you are waiting far too long. If you have weeds and grass growing in your gutters you probably have caused some damage. After all, gutters aren’t intended for gardening.
Here are the problems that clogged gutters cause:
- Water damming occurs which can cause damage to eaves
- Water can leak into the house and cause damage to walls and flooring
- Mosquitoes can breed in the standing water
- Leaves in gutters can be a fire hazard, especially in areas prone to wildfires
- Deterioration of gutters occurs which causes leaks and eventual failure
The frequency with which you should clean out gutters depends on your house. Determining factors include proximity of trees to the roofline, the type of trees (deciduous vs. evergreen), and the slope of the roof. Low-sloped roofs can require more frequent cleaning. For houses with trees within ten feet of the roofline, gutters will need to be cleaned out twice a year at a minimum. In some cases, gutters may need to be cleaned out a couple of times in the fall alone. One myth about gutters is that houses with no trees don’t need to be cleaned. Gutter cleaning may still be required, especially on houses with asphalt shingles. Over time these shingles lose their granules and these granules make their way into the gutters.