Gutter cleaning is such an important role when it comes to protecting our homes for many reasons. Damages to the home’s foundation, interior walls, exterior, roofing eave, and fascia boards can all be avoided by maintaining the gutters as needed. In addition to these costly home repairs, almost all common gutter repairs are also the direct results of not maintaining the gutters by clearing the debris when needed.
In this article we describe how important it is for the gutters to function and drain properly, and what happens when clogs are disregarded for extended periods of time. We also go over the different parts of the home that depend on the gutter system to function properly for protection.
These two are grouped together because they both are results of water splashing too close to the home. When the gutters are able to overflow and leak from the system the water falls near the foundation. Since gutter systems are designed to prevent water from falling near the foundation , having this happen excessively makes the gutters obsolete.
We also grouped these together because the damages are the direct results of water going behind the gutters. Anytime water is able to contact wood it slowly destroys it. When water fills up the gutters it often flows behind the gutters and into the interior walls. In addition large piles of much in the gutters that rest against fascia boards or the roofing eave are also going to rapidly speed up the rotting process in these woods.
Most common gutter repairs are the direct result of gutters filling up with water and pulling loose from the home. Scroll below or follow the link to learn more about Gutter Repairs.
When water overflows from the gutter over and over again in the same area it can cause water stain marks on the home. Especially if the gutters are full of murky water from decomposed material that is stuck in the gutters. In addition green stains on the outsides of the gutter systems are the results of neglecting the gutters and allowing them to clog over and over. The only solution to water stains on the home and gutters is Power Washing or Soft Washing.
If you see any type of wildlife going in and out of the gutters, that is a sign that the gutters are messy and there’s likely some type of nest up there.
Bees and wasps are attracted to leaf piles and rotting wood. Many types of bees and wasps will build their nest inside the gutters, so sometimes you can’t see them until it’s too late.
Birds are attracted to piles of dry leaves in the gutters. Also when gutter covers are missing birds will nest under the covers for protection from other birds and rodents.
Squirrels and chipmunks are also attracted to gutters with piles of leaves. Especially if any type of acorns end up in the gutters from nearby trees. In addition squirrels are also attracted to any type of rotting fascia boards. They like to chew through them to get into roofs and attics.
Lastly mosquitos and many other bugs are attracted to the stagnant water created by clogged gutter systems. Especially in the summer when the water that’s in the gutters warms up in the sun. That’s a perfect habitat perfect for mosquitos.
Gutters protect the home by collecting and diverting the rain water safely away from the home. Otherwise, without gutters the water would cascade off of roofs in waterfall like fashion all around the home. Waterfalls are not good because they easily erode the ground around our homes, which eventually cracks the homes foundation. In addition to foundation issues, gutters prevent basement leaks and floods by diverting the water away. Without gutters on the home rain water also destroys the fascia boards that protect the roofing eave (roof edge). And eventually the soffit and roof rafters will rot out from water exposure.
Basically gutters were designed to prevent these issues from happening by containing and controlling where the water goes. By diverting the water safely away from the home’s foundation, basement issues and foundational issues are easily avoided. Also the gutter system prevents the water from being able to damage the fascia boards and roofing eave by collecting the water and diverting it away from any exposed wood.
When the gutter system becomes clogged from leaves and other debris the water is not able to drain properly. As a result the gutters fill with water which pulls and strains at the brackets due to the excessive weight. Eventually the water will overflow the gutters if it is not able to drain through the downspouts properly. Resulting in waterfalls that the gutters are supposed to prevent. In addition to excessive water washing away at the foundation, overflowing water often goes behind the gutter to damage the fascia boards and roofing eaves.
Excessive debris in the gutters leads to downspout clogs, and once the clogs are bad enough they render gutter systems useless. Once water is able to overflow the gutters all around the home, it basically causes the same damages the gutters were designed to prevent.
Neglecting the gutters by allowing leaves and other debris to pile up in them for months and months leads to very expensive repairs. All of these repairs can be avoided by maintaining a proper gutter cleaning schedule. Ignoring gutter cleaning and gutter repairs for extended periods of time only leads to much more expensive home repairs.
As we mentioned previously, when the gutters fill with water due to clogs they become very heavy. The excessive weight pulls whatever style of gutter hanger that was used loose from the wall. Once the gutters pull loose they need to be re-secured with new hardware. Some homes have gutter spikes that are able to be nailed back in, but they will only pull loose again the next time the gutters are clogged.
The photo below shows a gutter filled with debris that is pulling loose from the home. This gutter will be pulled looser and looser every time it rains until it eventually falls from the home, or pulls the fascia board down with it.
Similar to how water weight is able to pull gutters loose, water can also pull the gutters loose in the wrong areas. Gutters are installed on a slope (gutter pitch) so that the water drains towards the downspouts. Piles of debris in the wrong ends of gutters or clogged downspouts can cause the water fill up the wrong end of the gutter. Eventually the gutter will begin to tilt in this direction by pulling the brackets loose. Once this occurs the gutters will not drain properly again until the clogs are cleared and the gutters are re-pitched in the correct direction.
When gutters fill with water due to clogs, the water has no where to go except to overflow or leak from seams. All gutter seams are sealed over using waterproof sealants or caulks. Unfortunately the seals can become compromised if the gutters are not able to drain. The most common area for this problem to occur is the sealants in gutter corners aka miters.
As previously mentioned, ignoring our gutter cleaning duties leads to damages to the gutter system. Loose gutters, leaking gutters, and gutters that are pitched incorrectly can all lead to water coming in contact with fascia boards.
The boards that the gutters are mounted to are called fascia boards. Fascia boards are mounted along the roofing eave to close off the open end of the roofing rafters. Gutters work in combination with drip edge to protect the fascia boards from water contact. However when the gutter system is clogged and the gutters fill with water, that water often goes behind the gutter which is the fascia board. Any water going behind the gutter is bad news for the fascia boards, as it rapidly speeds up their decomposition process.
In the photo below is a gutter that has pulled the fascia board loose from the rafters. When it rains the water is now able to go behind the fascia board and into the walls. This water causes damages anywhere once inside the walls such as the interior walls, basement, closets, etc.. In addition the water is often able to damage the plywood decking along the roof edge and the roof rafters which are basically the skeleton of the roof.
Downspout clogs are relatively easy to identify if you observe the gutter system during rain. Any leaks or overflows from or near the downspout are a direct indication that the downspout is clogged. Also if no water flow is coming from the bottom of a downspout during rain, that also indicates that the downspout is blocked.
Whenever you can see piles of leaves sticking out of the gutters, that means the gutters are also full. In addition piles of leaves along the roofing eave indicates that the gutter is full to the point that nothing else will fit in the gutters.
In addition to leaks and overflows near clogged downspouts, piles of debris in the gutters will cause water to splash over.
Any type of plant life coming out of the gutters is a direct indication that the gutters are in serious need of a cleaning. In order for plants to grow debris must first have had time to decompose into mulch. So at least 6 months to a year depending on how big the root systems have grown. The bottom line is if their is growth it needs to be gone immediately.
Gutter cleaning is a vital component of home maintenance because it protects our home from water damages.
Neglecting gutters for extended periods of time will lead to damages to the gutter system and eventually much more expensive home repairs.
Maintaining a proper gutter cleaning schedule is the best preventive measure homeowners can take in regards to protecting the roofing eave and foundation.
Whether or not your home requires a spring gutter cleaning depends on if you have trees that drop seeds, pollen, and spring blossoms close to your home. CLICK HERE to learn if Spring Gutter Cleaning Is Necessary for your home.
Figuring out the perfect time clean the gutters in the fall can be a tricky process. If cleared too early more leaves will drop and fill the gutters. And if you wait to long it could snow and ice while there are clogs. CLICK HERE to learn more about When To Clean Gutters In The Fall.
To check out high definition photos of our work please visit our INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK pages. Unfortunately today’s web page load speeds have not caught up with the size of high resolution images. After more than a couple photos on one page the page begins to load too slow.
Therefore we started uploading our recent job photos to Instagram and Facebook since they are both great resources. They both offer infinite photo storage with no loss of image quality.
Feel free to give us a follow on either app to keep an eye out for coupons and promotional offers.
CLICK HERE to check out our reviews on Google or to leave us a review.