Gutters are one of the top unsung heroes of the home, especially in the Pacific Northwest. On average, Seattle sees 152 rainy days annually which is a little under half the number of days in one year. This means that gutters in the Pacific Northwest and surrounding areas are working overtime to help control the flow of rainwater in order to protect your home.
However, when gutter repairs and maintenance are neglected, the consequences could become a homeowner’s nightmare. Clogged or damaged gutters can cause water damage to your foundation and the wood that makes up your home, both of which can cost up to thousands of dollars to repair—depending on the extent of the damage. In addition, unwanted pests and insects can make a home in clogged gutters. In addition, clogged gutters are a haven for unwanted pests and insects to make a home in. Keeping your gutters in tip-top shape will allow you to prevent taking on costly repairs to both the interior and exterior of your home. Here are three key reasons to do regular gutter repairs and maintenances.
1. Prevent wood damage
A properly working gutter system drains rainwater from the roof and funnels it away from the house in order to protect the roof’s underlayment and home’s siding. However, clogged or loose gutters lose their ability to control the flow of rainwater in an optimal fashion, leaving the water to build up in the gutters and overflow onto the siding rather than getting funneled and drained away from the home.
One of the most common gutter problems are clogs. Water build-up occurs when leaves and debris are accumulating in your gutters and the water has nowhere to flow. The weight of soggy leaves, debris, and water build-up results in additional stress on your gutters, and gutters aren’t built to hold that extra weight. When you think about it, one gallon of water weighs around eight pounds. If there is consistent rainfall for multiple days, several gallons of water can potentially accumulate in your gutters, making them sag or completely pull away from your roof.
Water build-up in gutters can also cause the fascia and soffit boards, which are the wooden boards where the gutters are attached to the home, to rot. This rot can eventually spread to other parts of the home such as the attic, rafters, and siding. In addition, if you’re having to push the spikes back into your gutters so that they’ll stay attached to your home, you may be experiencing a damaged fascia board.
The longer a gutter is damaged, the more water will build up and overflow, leading to further and potentially more extensive damage to your home.
2. Avoid nesting areas for pests and insects
Moist leaves and debris collecting in gutters attract pests and insects. When the weather changes, those pests and insects can eventually move inside of your home, which can cause an insect infestation inside your home. Furthermore, property-damaging insects such as termites or carpenter ants are especially attracted to rotting leaves.
Mosquitos also love and thrive in standing water. There are two cases in which clogged or damaged gutters attract mosquitos. First, we’ll address clogged gutters. Leaves and debris accumulating in your gutters leave no room for water to effectively flow. When water has nowhere to go, they remain stagnant, creating an ideal environment for mosquitos to make a home in. The second case is damaged gutters. If gutters are pulled away from your roof then they’re unable to funnel rainwater that’s flowing off your roof. Instead, water will fall directly off your roof and directly on the ground, oversaturating your landscape, and carving standing pools of water on the ground that will attract mosquitos.
Avoid insect infestations both inside and outside your home by making sure your gutters are clear from any leaves or debris. Moisture attracts pests and insects that can make their way inside your home and even potentially damage your home’s infrastructure the way terminates can. Furthermore, clogged or damaged gutters don’t allow water to effectively flow away from the home, creating standing pools which can attract insects such as mosquitos.
3. Prevent damage to your home’s foundation
The foundation is the most critical element to your home. It’s the base that holds your home above the ground while also keeping moisture out. The thing about foundations is that they’re meant to last your home’s lifetime. However, an inefficient gutter system can potentially damage your home’s foundation. You may wonder how something on top of your home has the ability to damage something below the ground. Here’s how.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, gutters are meant to control the flow of water by collecting rainwater runoff from your roof and funneling that away from your home. If your gutters are clogged or damaged, they lose the ability to perform this action, thus giving water the freedom to run where gravity takes them—which is the ground directly below the roof’s eaves. A moderate amount of water from watering your plants or lawn won’t do any damage to your home’s foundation, but an excess amount will.
When there’s an overwhelming amount of water seeping into the ground, the soil then expands and puts extra pressure on the walls of the foundation. This is especially dangerous during the winter months because if the foundation gets wet and then freezes, this will cause cracks in your foundation. In extreme cases, water can even cause the foundation to fail and cause structural damage to your home.
Your home’s foundation is the base to keeping your home standing upright. When water pools around your home due to damaged gutters, it could potentially wreak havoc on your foundation. Doing regular gutter repairs is a small job when compared to repairing your home’s foundation.
Gutters are more than just roads for rainwater runoff. They help prevent wood rot from occurring on your roof, attic, and sidings. Keeping them clean from debris and repairing damages in a timely manner will also keep insects such as mosquitoes and termites away so you can avoid insect infestations. Lastly, having a place for rainwater runoff to drain instead of pooling near the base of your home will prevent costly damages to your home’s foundation. Regardless of your roof type, whether it’s a metal roof, rubber roof, or a composite roof, regular gutter repair is key to keeping them in great condition.
If you’re in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Snohomish, Olympia, or surrounding areas and have any questions regarding gutters, give us a call at (360) 794-7164 or fill out our contact form.