Homeowners and business owners in Charleston, SC, are rightfully proud of their properties and work hard to keep them in excellent condition, but we've noticed that diligence often doesn't extend all the way to the rain gutters. Frankly, that's understandable. Most people are simply not excited to spend their free time on a wobbly ladder, scooping big handfuls of rotten muck and grime out of their rainwater disposal system.
At the same time, most people don't realize how absolutely crucial Charleston gutter repair and cleaning is to protect their home against severe water damage that ranges from a leaking roof to a cracked foundation and can affect absolutely everything else in between. This guide explains why keeping your gutters in good condition, and free of debris is of the utmost importance for preventing moisture damage like wood rot that can affect the structural integrity of your entire building.
If your property is in desperate need of gutter repair and cleaning services, but you don't have the time, ability, or inclination to take care of it yourself, turn to your local Charleston handyman expert to deal with it quickly and effectively. The experienced team of service professionals at Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville takes great pride in providing outstanding workmanship, along with excellent customer service.
Why Gutter Repair in Charleston, SC is Such a Big Deal
You may be wondering how a little trough nailed to the side of your roof eave could possibly have such an outsized impact on the overall condition of your home or commercial building. They kind of look like an afterthought that doesn't really do all that much, so it makes sense that so many people don't really understand the role they play.
Rain gutters collect all rainwater that falls on your roof and channels it into downspouts, where it is then safely disposed of away from your house. If you're thinking, "So what?" right now, you might not realize how much water we're actually talking about. Just one inch of rainfall on a 2,000-square-foot roof produces a surprising 1,240 gallons of water, which is more than enough to cause you to need gutter repair. Charleston, SC, gets an average of 48 inches of rain annually, which is significantly more than the national average of 38 inches. That means nearly 60,000 gallons of water fall on your roof every year, or a lot more if you have a larger roof. That's enough to fill a large, 24x44 foot, inground pool one and a half times. If you imagine all that water pouring down on your house, it becomes a lot more obvious why it's so desirable to get rid of it.
But when your rainwater disposal system is cracked, broken, sagging, missing sections, or clogged full of debris like dirt, leaves, and bird nests, those 60,000 gallons of water have nowhere to go and spill over the edge of your channel or pool on your roof instead, causing severe moisture damage problems. That's why regular gutter cleaning and gutter repair in Charleston, SC, really are that important.
How Broken, Overflowing Gutters Impact Your House
So what specifically happens to a house without Charleston gutter repair or cleaning services? From wood rot and mildew to damaged foundations and out-of-control energy costs on your monthly utility bill, dealing with moisture incursion is a time-consuming, expensive nightmare. Anyone who has ever had to cope with water damage mitigation before will tell you it's worth avoiding at all costs. Here are some of the unpleasant ways that a broken or overflowing rainwater disposal system can affect your house:
- Standing water in a channel can be blown into soffit vents by strong winds, where it will seep into attic support beams and cause the wood to rot, weakening the structural stability of your roof.
- Fascia boards, which are typically what gutters are attached to, will suffer water damage problems, letting even more moisture into the interior of the roof structure and compromising curb appeal.
- Backed-up rainwater will pool on roof shingles, eating away at its surface and causing leaks that further damage your support beams.
- Your siding material is meant to resist moisture, but it can only withstand so much before it allows moisture into the interior of your walls, encouraging the growth of mold, mildew, and wood rot.
- Wooden window and door frames will decay, letting even more moisture into the house and allowing for heat transfer that increases your utility bill by forcing your HVAC system to work much harder to compensate for a change in temperature.
- Timber deck boards will rot, and wood rot can worsen and spread to other areas.
- Water can pool in the soil around your foundation, eroding support for your foundation and wearing away at the concrete until it cracks and leaks.
- Rodent and insect pests use the holes and gaps caused by moisture damage to gain access to your home and bring dozens of their unsanitary, destructive companions along with them.
Warning Signs You Need Cleaning Services and Gutter Repair in Charleston, SC
Not sure if your property needs gutter repair in Charleston, SC? Home and business owners should regularly check for signs of trouble. If you see any of the problems listed below happening on your property, give us a call so we can send our Charleston gutter repair experts out to take a look and get it fixed up before it can cause any further problems for your house.
This has got to be the most common (and probably the most blatant) sign of a system that is clogged and in desperate need of a good cleaning. If you can see water spilling over the edge of the troughs when it rains, they need to be professionally cleaned—and if they're that badly clogged, they probably need Charleston gutter repair services as well.
Sagging or Pulling Away from House
You may notice that your rainwater disposal system is sagging or bowed or that it is separating from the eaves, and there's a noticeable gap between the trough and fascia board. That's a clear warning that they are full of heavy debris or standing water, and the combined weight is too much for the hangers. Rainwater systems are typically attached to fascia boards, so when they rip apart, it damages both your gutter system and your fascia.
You might need to get on a ladder to really check for this particular problem, but if it has been quite a while since their last cleaning, it's sometimes possible to see visible plant growth along your roofline from the ground. The dirt, leaves, and rotting muck that clogs up rainwater systems make for perfect mulch, so plants don't hesitate to spring up in those pre-made roofline "flower boxes." The rotting soil has the effect of damaging the trough material and causing holes, cracks, or rusted spots that need to be sealed off by a Charleston gutter repair professional.
Gutter Stripes on Siding
Is your siding showing streaks of rust or black stripes or other marks? That is an early warning sign that the siding (and probably all the other parts of your exterior as well) is being affected by overflowing rain troughs. If you notice streaks of discoloration on your siding, you should schedule an appointment for a cleaning service as soon as possible. Find out more about Charleston siding repairs.
Why the Damage Occurred in the First Place
There are many potential causes of damage to a gutter system, but the most likely culprit is a lack of cleaning and regular Charleston gutter repair. Gutters sag under their own weight and can come loose from their hangers if they are overflowing with debris such as dead leaves, animal nests, and dirt. They also pull apart at the places where sections are joined together, creating leaky joints. When they're severely clogged, the debris and muck inside rots, harboring all kinds of harmful bacteria that cause corrosion and holes by accelerating the decay process. That's why it's so important to get regular Charleston gutter repair services to extend the lifespan of your system.
That being said, there are other things that can cause trouble for your gutter system. Here are some of the factors that may have contributed to the damage your system has suffered:
- Falling tree branches
- Careless ladder use
- Freeze and thaw cycles during icy winters
- Harsh weather patterns and high winds
- Insect, bird, and rodent activity
- Faulty installation, especially when they aren't pitched correctly
- Insufficient number of downspouts (there should be at least one for every 15 meters of pipe)
Charleston Gutter Repair Vs. Complete Replacement
The question of whether to get your Charleston gutter repaired or instead replace your entire system comes down to the extent of the damage. If there are only a few small cracks and holes, your handyman can repair them with gutter sealant. In the same sense, if only one or two sections of gutters are damaged (perhaps from a falling tree or rough weather patterns such as hail), those sections can be replaced without needing to install an entirely new system.
On the other hand, if the damage is widespread, it will be more cost-effective to simply replace the entire thing with a new system. Dozens of small repairs or trying to straighten out systems that are crushed or badly dented isn't worth it, and they'll likely need to be replaced before long anyway.
There are a few other caveats to keep in mind as well, depending on the material and style of the system you currently have installed. For example, copper gutters have the highest upfront installation cost of any material, but they can last significantly longer than other options such as vinyl or aluminum. If they do get damaged, it makes sense to do everything possible to get them repaired because replacement isn't as cost-effective as it would be with other materials. With seamless gutters, there's no way to replace just one section that has been damaged by a sudden impact or something of that nature, so the entire system needs to be replaced when one part is damaged.
How to Unclog a Downspout
Downspouts are the vertical part of your system that exists to move water from the troughs at your roofline down to the ground and away from the house. They sometimes connect to a buried drainage system or may just connect to a long, slanted pipe that leads a few feet away from the building. Just like the horizontal channels, they can become clogged with debris like pine needles and dead leaves and need to be unclogged. The basic steps to accomplish this task are:
- Clean out the horizontal channels first.
- Disconnect the downspout extension and poke your fingers (with work gloves on) a few inches into the bottom of the pipe to dislodge any blockages that are right at the bottom.
- Give the downspout pipe a few firm taps here and there to help debris move toward the bottom. You may need to use an auger for really stubborn clogs.
- Climb your ladder with your garden hose in hand and use it to run water through the downspout from the top to rinse out any remaining debris.
- Reconnect the downspout extension.
If you've tried and couldn't get the clog out, or you're not comfortable climbing a ladder, leave the downspout unclogging to the pros at Mr. Handyman. We'll take care of it at the same time that we handle Charleston gutter repair and cleaning services.
Need Gutter Repair in Charleston, SC? Trust Your Experienced, Local Handyman!
If you are a resident of Charleston, SC, or nearby communities such as Goose Creek, Mount Pleasant, or Moncks Corner, you can rely on expert workmanship and trustworthy customer service from the team of professionals at Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville. Along with Charleston gutter repair services, we can take care of the gutter installation and dozens of other reliable handyman services for your residential or commercial property. Get in touch with us today to find out more about what we can do to make your house or business more comfortable, livable, and appealing.