Home upkeep can often be a strenuous chore for many people with busy schedules each month. However, the best way to avoid a disaster is taking the preventive steps to stop a disaster. Older homes are susceptible to water damage, structural cracking and rotting, and irrigation issues. In particular, rain gutters are an integral part of your home’s defense system.
Heavy rains create more than just water, they knock branches and leaves from nearby trees and wash particles into your drainage systems. Without proper gutter upkeep, material build-up will cause a backup of water on the roof, leading to roof damage.
Due to the importance of your gutter drainage system for water irrigation and roof integrity, you should inspect the gutter every time you inspect the roof, which is at least once every three to six months depending on your climate. If your building has experienced heavy thunderstorms in the past three months, earlier inspections should be executed.
Below are a few of the main reasons why gutter upkeep is so important.
Effects of Gutter Negligence
Invest in Gutter Guards –
Cleaning all of debris in the world will not prevent the same thing from happening over and over after a storm. The best way to help your gutter maintenance is a gutter guard system. Gutter guards are shields that slip underneath shingles and protect your gutters from debris falling off the roof. You can install them yourself, but having them professionally sourced and installed will guarantee compliance in the future.
Without a gutter guard, debris will cause water build-up on the roof joints and overflow the system, seeping water into the foundation.
Leaking Gutters –
Clogged gutters are the number one cause of basement water problems due to water accumulation around the foundation of the home. In addition, if you do not have a basement and live in low-lying areas, you may still feel the negative effects of gutter overflow or leakage – foundations crack with excess water saturation.
Damage to Façade –
Most American homes are made of wood, and the exterior siding is susceptible to rotting. Water backing up from clogged gutters will cause moisture damage to the wooden façade around your building – as the area gets worse structural damage and rotting will spread.
Improper Drainage –
Clogged gutters will cause build-up, which is the killer of young plants and landscape throughout your home. Proper irrigation allows for water to slowly and gradually flow off the property.
On the other hand, a clogged or leaking gutter will cause build-ups or excess water flow at one time, causing erosion and killing plant life. If you investigate outside during a rainstorm and find a river of water flowing in one direction, you may have an irrigation problem due to a lack of gutter control.
Slippery Surfaces in Cold Weather –
During various fall and spring months in colder climates, temperature fluctuations are extremely dangerous. Black ice is created through the melting and re-freezing of standing water. Clogged gutters will only hurt your cause and could create a slippery driveway or walkway due to standing water accumulating from extensive flow. Proper drainage is essential for safety during temperature fluctuations.
Structural Integrity –
One of the more long-term causes of gutter leakage or clogging is the compromising of foundation integrity. Clogged gutters can cause excess water accumulation against the foundation wall of the footing, ultimately leading to foundation wall cracks.
Particularly in frigid climates, water accumulation on the foundation is dangerous for the strength of the concrete, causing ice and cracking of the foundation wall. This condition is known as “frost heave”.
Regardless of your gutter product or quality, following a maintenance schedule will help you identify trouble areas before more damage occurs. Cleaning your gutter is one of the most cost-effective ways to avoid a disastrous problem with water damage or safety.
The writer, Matthew Hall, dedicates hours every week to making sure his home is in perfect condition, and shares his experiences online. However, not all home improvement projects are within his skillset, and for roofing problems he recommends checking out House Top Roofing. You can learn more about Matthew on Google+.