Gutters don’t take much real estate on homes, so homeowners don’t always take notice of them. However, they play a huge role, despite their small size. Gutters have one job and one job only: to act as traffic control for rainwater, helping to guide the runoff from the roof and draining it away from the home. Since we live in the Pacific Northwest, you can bet your gutters are working overtime due to the year-round rain.
Forgetting to clean your gutters or neglecting repairs—big or small—can lead to nightmares such as water damage to your sidings or even your foundation, in addition to attracting unwanted pests to the interior of your home. Keeping your gutters well-maintained will allow you to avoid these costly repairs. Here are three key reasons to do regular gutter repairs.
As we mentioned earlier, a gutter system acts as traffic control. Its purpose is to simply catch the water runoff from your roof and then divert it away from the home in order to protect both the roof’s underlayment and the siding.
When gutters become clogged or loose, they lose their ability to perform their job of controlling the water runoff. Instead, water will build up in the gutters and overflow onto the siding, rather than getting funneled away from the home like it’s supposed to.
The most common problem people experience with their gutters is that they become clogged. Keep in mind that Washington State is known as the Evergreen State, so clogged gutters are especially a problem in this part of the country simply because of our abundance of trees. The weight of soggy leaves and debris combined with the weight of water build-up can result in additional stress on your gutter. However, gutters aren’t built to hold that extra weight, so if there’s rainfall for multiple days in a row, then your gutter will be under immense stress and start to sag or completely pull away from your roof.
Water build-up in gutters can also cause the fascia and soffit boards—the wooden boards where the gutters are attached to the home—to rot. If left unrepaired, this rot can spread to other parts of the home such as the attic, ceiling, and siding. One way to determine if you have a damaged fascia board is if you’re constantly having to push the spikes back into your gutters to make them stay attached to your home.
2. Regular gutter repairs help prevent pests and insects from nesting in your gutters
Birds, pests, and insects are attracted to the moist leaves and debris that are collected in gutters. During the cooler months, these small animals are looking to seek warmth, and in order to do so, they can eventually make their way inside your home. Also, property-damaging insects such as termites or carpenter ants are attracted to the rotting leaves that may be found in your gutters.
The warmer months pose a different problem. Mosquitos love and thrive in standing water. Leaves and debris that accumulate in your gutters leave no room for water to effectively flow, so it remains stagnant. This creates a hospitable environment for mosquitos to take refuge. The other instance in which you may find a mosquito infestation is when your gutters are sagging or pulled away from your roof so they’re unable to funnel the rainwater. In this case, the water will fall directly off your roof and straight onto your lawn, oversaturating your landscape to carve standing pools of water that will attract mosquitos.
Keeping your gutters clear from leaves and debris can help you avoid insect infestations. The moisture from the soggy leaves attracts pests and insects that can eventually make their way inside your home and cause structural damage the way termites can. In addition, clogged or damaged gutters allow water runoff to fall directly off the roof and create standing pools of water, which can attract mosquitos.
3. Regular gutter repairs help prevent damage to your foundation
It’s almost an understatement when we say that your foundation is the most critical element of your home. Without it, your home would crumble because your foundation holds your home above the ground and also helps keep moisture out. A faulty gutter system can actually damage your foundation. You’re probably wondering how something above the ground can impact something underground.
If rainwater runoff isn’t controlled by gutters, it’ll go where gravity takes it, which is directly below the roof’s eaves. While a moderate amount of water on the ground won’t do any damage to your home’s foundation (such as watering your plants)—an excess amount will.
When an overwhelming amount of water seeps into the ground, it causes the soil to expand. This expansion then puts excess pressure on the foundation’s walls. During winter, this expansion is exceptionally dangerous because if the foundation gets wet and then freezes, cracks will start forming. In extreme cases, the excess water can cause the foundation to fail, leading to structural damages to your home.
Remember when we said that gutters act as traffic control for rainwater runoff? It turns out that they do that for the greater good of the home’s infrastructure. Gutters help prevent wood rot from occurring both on the exterior and interior of your home. Repairing your gutters by removing leaves and debris will help you prevent pests and insects from making a home in your gutters—or even worse, making their way inside your home. On a larger scale, well-maintained gutters help keep your home standing. By properly funneling water away from the home, gutters help prevent water from adding unnecessary pressure to your home’s foundation.
If you’re in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Snohomish, Olympia, or any of the surrounding areas and want to learn more about the importance of a well-maintained gutter system, give us a call at (360) 205-3100 or fill out our contact form to request a free estimate.