Are you a homeowner who loves spending all weekend on a wobbly ladder scooping handfuls of grime out of your rain gutters, or are you normal?
Just kidding—sort of. It's certainly true that most people do not enjoy the difficult and time-consuming chore of gutter cleaning, and that's probably why it's one of the most neglected household tasks. But you may not realize how crucially important gutter cleaning is to protect your home and save you a lot of money in water damage mitigation.
That's why we put together this list of seven reasons why your gutters are a lot more essential than you may think. They serve as your home's first line of defense against the dreaded specter of moisture damage—as long as they're properly cleaned and maintained.
Why Are Gutters So Important?
Before we get to the ways cleaning and home maintenance protect your property, we need to explain why gutters matter so much. They're just a little trough attached to the side of your roof, so how much can they really do? The truth about gutters is that they're underappreciated heroes to your property.
Normally, they collect rainwater that lands on your roof and channel it into downspouts where it moves safely away from your home and can't do any harm. That may not sound like a big deal, but keep in mind that an inch of rainfall on a 1,000 square foot roof produces about 620 gallons of water. For comparison, a bathtub holds around 60 to 80 gallons. In Boulder, our average rainfall (and yes, this includes melting snow) is about 21 inches annually, less than the national average—but that's still 186 bathtubs worth of water, or more if your roof is bigger.
When rain troughs are full of clogs formed by dead leaves, dirt, animal nests, and other debris, all that water has nowhere to go and pours down exterior walls of your home, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Anyone who has had to deal with mold, mildew, pest infestations, cracked foundations, and other nasty, expensive symptoms knows extensive water damage is no joke, and that is why clean gutters are so important.
How Rain Gutters Protect Your Home
Are you picturing 186 bathtubs full of water pouring down on your house? Now that you have that image in mind, we can explain how cleaning and maintaining your gutters keeps your home safe and sound, and can prevent major, expensive issues in the future.
1. Prevent Roof Leaks
In Colorado, our roofs already take a beating every winter from piled up snow. They don't need added trauma from pooling water that can't get through clogged gutters. When water sits on the roof instead of draining safely away, moisture eats away at the roof's protective barrier and causes serious leaks.
2. Stop Moisture From Entering Your Attic
The troughs are usually attached to fascia, the boards on the edge of your roof eaves that sit parallel to the exterior walls, and underneath the eaves are ventilated boards called soffits. They are ventilated to let warm, humid air out of the attic, but if rainwater isn’t able to flow away from your roof it can get into the attic through the soffit vents and rot the supporting timber beams which, needless to say, can cause severe structural damage.
3. Keep Your Siding Undamaged
Your siding is designed to repel moisture, but it can only take so much abuse before it becomes damaged, allowing water to leak inside of your walls. That encourages mold, mildew, and wood rot to fester. This is obviously terrible for your home, but even worse, it can be a health hazard for your family.
4. Avoid Wood Rot on Window Frames
Because window frames are usually made of wood, they're susceptible to wood rot, which is decay caused by fungi that thrive in damp timber with a moisture content of 20% or higher. If your window frames are constantly being exposed to water that should be flowing away from the house—but can't, because your gutters are overflowing—they'll quickly rot away, letting even more moisture inside your home.
5. Prevent Foundation Cracks
Water spilling from your roof falls to the ground and settles into the soil around your foundation. When winter hits, that water freezes and expands, putting an immense amount of pressure on your foundation and cracking the concrete. It can also erode soil underneath the foundation, causing your house to sink into the ground which (understatement of the year), is a very bad problem to have and will cost you big time in repairs.
6. Keep Rodents and Insects Out
Rats, squirrels, wasps, and other unwelcome house guests spend a lot of time plotting to get inside your warm, comfortable home. Damage to your fascia boards, siding, window frames, and other parts of the house—caused by broken, overflowing gutters—gives them the opportunity they're seeking. Once they find a way in, dozens of their nasty little friends will soon join them.
7. Preserve Your Landscaping
Plants love water, so what's the problem? Basically, too much of a good thing is, in fact, a bad thing. Excessive water from your roof can sicken and even kill nearby trees, bushes, and flowers. It also erodes driveways, walkways, patios, and other landscaping features that will last a lot longer if the water is redirected.
Trust Mr. Handyman to Tackle Gutter Repairs and Cleaning!
So you know why regular gutter cleaning is crucial to the safety of your property, but that doesn't make the task any easier, especially if you have reduced mobility or limited time. Don't despair! The expert gutter team at Mr. Handyman of E Boulder, Broomfield & Erie are just a phone call away.
Ready to schedule your annual gutter cleaning? Contact us today at 303-647-9132, or request service online, and we'll get started on saving your home—one handful of gutter gunk at a time!