Unless you’re a roofing professional, your gutters are probably one of the most overlooked and underappreciated features on your home. Even the most fastidious homeowner will shy away from cleaning them out or putting their maintenance at the top of the “to-do” list. Unfortunately, this can end up causing costly problems that most people don’t associate with gutter care.
When our roof leaks or we find a source of water damage in our homes, most of us scramble to get the problem fixed as quickly as possible. This is because we understand that this type of damage can destroy electrical systems, cause structural deterioration, and erode the very foundation of the house. What we fail to realize is that well-maintained gutters have the potential to be the first line of defense when it comes to protecting the home from water damage.
How Your Gutters Should Work
When it rains or snows the precipitation flows down the slope of the roof, where it can be directed away from the house by the gutter system. If the gutters aren’t working properly, huge amounts of water will flow directly down the side of the home and work to destroy the concrete foundation. Spending a few hundred dollars replacing or repairing your gutter system looks pretty good when you compare it to the tens of thousands of dollars it costs to pour a new foundation.
All it takes is a few minutes a month to check your gutters and make sure that they’re in good working condition. It’s important to know what common gutter problems look like and what you can and can’t handle by yourself.
Common Gutter Problems
The good news is that many standard gutter issues can be avoided by keeping them clean and repairing any visible damage quickly. When you start to notice standing water around your home or in the gutters themselves, it can be due to these common problems:
- Clogged Gutters: Over time, debris builds up along the insides of the gutters. This can be much worse when you have overhanging trees or after turbulent weather. Visible clogs can be cleared by hand or with the use of a special pressure washing attachment. After clearing them out, run some additional water through the gutter system to make sure that it flows out freely. It’s also important to check your downspouts and any areas that might be narrower.
- Poorly Attached Gutters: Gutters that sag or pull away from the house aren’t being properly supported by the hardware that’s meant to keep them attached. It’s important to regularly replace the fasteners and to make sure that they’re able to withstand the weight of the gutters along with the weight of the water.
- Incorrect Slope: The gutters need to be properly pitched or they’ll end up full of standing water which contributes to erosion. They should slope at a rate of a quarter inch every 10 feet. This is fairly easy to measure and integral to their function. This is one problem that you may be more comfortable contacting a professional about.
- Gutters That are Too Small: When it comes to gutters, size matters. Gutters that are too narrow for the volume of water they’re expected to handle will clog easily and end up breaking away from the house. This can cause additional damage and lead to long-term issues.
- Water Draining Too Close to the Foundation: Having a good gutter system doesn’t do much good if the water is being drained into or next to the foundation. Gutter extensions are easy to install and can solve this issue quickly. Making sure that the water drains a few feet from the house is a simple way to protect against unnecessary problems.
Checking for these issues doesn’t have to be time-consuming and can go a long way towards protecting your home.
When to Seek Professional Help
Not everyone is comfortable standing on an extension ladder and trying to identify problems with their gutters. It never hurts to have a professional come out and make sure that your gutter system is working properly on a regular basis. This can take some of the stress out of the process and allow you to feel confident about maintenance issues. HomeGuard Roofing and Restoration has experienced staff that will treat your home with as much care as they would their own.
If your gutters need repairing or if you’d like a free estimate on the cost of replacement, contact HomeGuard Roofing and Restoration at (720) 708-4126 or fill out our contact form today.