Let’s be honest. Cleaning the gutters is probably not one of those chores that has you so excited you’re leaping out of bed on a Saturday morning. Ignorance is bliss? I’ll get to it next year? Sound familiar?
Unfortunately this is one of those instances when procrastination can lead to far bigger problems down the road. There are three distinct ways that gutters can contribute to the rapid deterioration of your home
- bad design
- improper installation
- poor maintenance
Many gutters are impossible to access for the ordinary homeowner and cleaning and maintenance is difficult. According to WorkSafe BC, 3 deaths in one week in May 2011 were the result of ladder falls–and those were professionals! We get it–gutter cleaning isn’t for everyone. 9,403 ladder falls were reported just within workplaces within BC over a 10 year period and over 50% of these were serious. We highly recommend that if you’re not confident in any member of your household getting up there and cleaning without sustaining any major injuries that you use an insured professional to clean your gutters. Ideally, gutters on homes with trees on the property or branches overhead require three to four cleanings a year and this is especially necessary in BC with all of the rain we experience.
Defective installation of gutters is another issue. Some of the issues we regularly see in the field are leaky seams, missing flashing, water that pools or leads back to the foundation and missing or improperly positioned downspouts. The structural integrity of your home is directly related to the effectiveness of your gutter system, but this is often overlooked or under-appreciated during construction and we find miss-sized gutters, shoddy workmanship and metals, and defective supporting mechanisms more often than we should.
If you are unsure if your gutters are installed correctly, we will come out and do a 6 Point Gutter Assessment.
In the meantime here are some things to watch out for:
Gutter blockages can result in water pooling in the bottom of the gutter and stagnating and then eventually overflowing. Perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes is the best case end of the scenario but eventually rust and erosion can result in damaged siding, roofing and foundation not to mention adding excess weight to the entire gutter and roofing system.
No Drains or Splash Blocks
Water should drain away from the structure. Depending on your system water should be carried away from the downspout upon exiting the system so it doesn’t find its way into and under the foundation and seep into the basement or crawl space, causing mold, mildew, settling and dry rot.
Missing Flashing at Eaves
No flashing between the back of the gutters and the support structure of the roof exposes wood to the water and debris passing through the gutters. Termites and insect love the rot but you will not.
Faulty gutter pitch stops water from flowing to the downspouts, slowing evacuation and creating areas of standing water which again leads to mosquitoes, erosion, rust, roof, foundation and siding damage and adds excessive weight.
Missing or improperly located downspouts can lead to standing water and overflow and that standing water leads to the same troubles noted above.
Branches, shrubs or vines that grow in and around the gutters can cause considerable problems including completely removing the gutters from the structure and rendering them useless. Gutter, roof and structural damage, foundation damage, siding damage, window and door damage, termites and ants can result.
Loose, Damaged or Non-existent Gutters
When gutters don’t work water will find its way into the siding, trim, windows, doors, foundation and other unwanted areas and the same rot and erosion noted previously can result in damage, rot, mold and problems with structural integrity.
Your house is likely the biggest investment you’ll ever make and these are all problems that can easily be avoided by ensuring that your gutters are properly installed and maintained. Don’t delay a minute longer, we will come out and get you cleaned up and fixed up and give you that peace of mind that lets you sleep in Saturday morning.