While your gutters are working, you likely don't even notice them. They direct water away from your home in the background. However, if you fail to maintain and clean your gutters, serious problems can develop. Not only can it affect the beauty of your home, but it can be a hazard. If you haven't cleaned your gutters in a while, check out these four reasons you should.
Frozen Clogged Gutters Can Cause Roof Leaks
When your gutters are clogged, they can't drain properly. As a result, they may be filled to the brim with water and debris. If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, the water in the gutter can freeze, making it useless. As snow falls, it gathers on the ice in the full gutter, creating a barrier around your roof.
Your roof, however, is slanted for a reason: to direct water to the gutters. If the gutters are clogged, the water stays on your roof. If it freezes, it can actually get lodged under the shingles. This allows it to reach the wood underneath, causing decay and leaks. This type of roof damage is not typically covered by homeowner's insurance because you failed to maintain the gutters by keeping them clean.
Clogged Gutters Can Overflow Onto Walkways and Plants
Even if you don't live in a cold climate, clogged gutters cause many problems. As more water fills the gutters, it needs someplace to go, so your gutters overflow. This causes water and debris to spill onto walkways, driveways, and landscaping.
At the very least, this can affect the overall beauty of your yard by killing and drowning plants, but it can also be a danger. Slimy leaves and other debris on walkways may cause someone to slip, and freezing spilled water is even worse. The standing water and debris can also lead moss or mildew to grow on walkways.
Excess Water Can Cause Flooding
If your home has a basement or other subgrade floors, you definitely need clean gutters. Gutters direct the water away from your home with downspouts and underground pipes. The water is sent to the road, where it can drain properly. However, if your gutters are clogged, the water can't reach the downspouts, and when it overflows, the water stays close to your home.
Depending on how much it rains and how much water gathers, this can lead to flooding. Because the subgrade rooms are below ground level, the water naturally spills into these rooms when it can. Even minor flooding can lead to mold and mildew. Cleanup is expensive, and homeowners' insurance rarely covers flooding.
Flooding Leads to Foundation Damage
It's not just your basement and belongings that get ruined from standing water. The water can actually weaken the foundation of your home, requiring basement foundation repair. Concrete is a porous substance, so water can penetrate and seep through. This can slowly cause parts of the foundation to erode, leading to cracks or crumbling. If the water freezes while inside the concrete, it can worsen cracks as the water freezes and expands.
To spot damage to the foundation, check the inside and outside of your home. Inside, look for doors and windows that no longer fit properly. They may get stuck or not latch. Cracks in walls near doorways and windows are another sign of foundation damage. Last, cracks in flooring (in basements and other rooms with concrete floors) is another sign. Outside, look to make sure your walls are straight and level.
Dirty gutters can cause many problems, but the biggest threat is to your foundation. Standing water can quickly deteriorate the concrete foundation. For more information, or if you need foundation repair, contact a specialist in your area today.
Hi, welcome to my blog. My name is Wendy, and after traveling through many parts of the world as I worked on a degree in anthropology with a minor in architecture, I learned a lot. I saw how people took different approaches to the same issue (putting a roof on their home), but more importantly, I noticed how those approaches were dictated by the climate and culture in the area. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people in North America build roofs that are traditional rather than roofs that are the right fit for the climate. If you are interested in exploring the latter idea, I'm here to help. These posts look at the best way to get a roof that protects you from the elements. Explore, enjoy and send your friends over to my blog. Thanks!