FAQ: What Virginia Homeowners Need to Know About Gutter Cleaning

There's something about spending a weekend up on a wobbly ladder, scooping handfuls of stinky, rotting muck out of rain gutters that doesn't seem to appeal to homeowners. It's one of the most neglected household tasks because it's dirty, time-consuming, and difficult—especially if you aren't willing or able to climb a ladder.

But most homeowners don't realize the truth about gutters: it's critically important to keep them clean in order to protect the safety and stability of your home. It may seem like just an annoying chore that doesn't make much difference either way, but your rain channels are your home's first line of defense against serious damage.

Wondering how a little trough nailed to the side of your roof can do so much, and why it really matters if you clean it or not? Well, the team at Mr. Handyman of Fairfax and Eastern Loudoun Counties can tell you! The answers to these frequently asked questions about rain gutter cleaning have everything you need to know.

Why Are They Such a Big Deal?

You probably know what gutters do—they collect rainwater from your roof and direct it into downspouts where it can drain away from the house. It doesn't sound that impressive, but let's look at how much water we're really talking about. One inch of rainfall on a 1,000 square foot roof produces 620 gallons of water. For comparison, a typical bathtub holds around 60 to 80 gallons. Virginia gets an average of 43 inches of rainfall annually. That means about 381 bathtubs of water pour over your house every year—or much more if your roof is bigger.

If your gutters are clean and in good condition, they'll safely channel all that water away from the house where it can't cause any harm. But if they're overflowing with dead leaves, dirt, animal nests, and other debris, those 381 bathtubs full of water have nowhere to go, and stream down the exterior of your home instead. Keep that image in mind while you read the next answer and you'll never doubt the importance of those little troughs again.

What Happens If You Don't Clean Gutters?

Anyone who has ever had to deal with issues such as mold, mildew, and wood rot knows that moisture damage is no joke—and the costs are downright eye-watering. Because overflowing gutters fail to redirect all those gallons of rainwater, they leave your home vulnerable to serious structural issues caused by extensive water damage.

Here are some of the unpleasant things that can happen to your home if you don't keep your rain troughs cleaned:

  • Water pools on the roof, degrading it and causing leaks.

  • Moisture enters the attic through damaged soffits and fascia, rotting timber beams and potentially causing severe structural damage.

  • Siding is damaged, letting water inside your walls where it can encourage the growth of mold and mildew.

  • Window frames rot away, letting in more moisture along with cool drafts that raise your energy bill by forcing your heating and cooling system to work harder.

  • Water pools around your foundation, causing cracks, eroding the soil underneath, and ultimately causing the house to sink.

  • Rats, squirrels, wasps, termites, and other unwelcome visitors access your home through damaged eaves and siding, bringing dozens of nasty little friends along with them.

  • Trees, bushes, and flowerbeds suffer from over-watering and other features such as driveways, walkways, and patios can be damaged by excessive water.

How Often Should Gutters Be Cleaned?

The general rule is to have them cleaned out twice per year, in the spring and autumn. Virginia's abundant foliage is one of the many things that make it such a beautiful place to live, but it also rapidly fills channels with dead leaves in autumn. Spring maintenance is useful so your handyman can take care of the debris that has collected over winter and repair any breaks or weak points. If you have pine trees on your property, you should check the troughs every three months because pine needles shed all year. That being said, annual gutter cleaning is still better than nothing.

How Do You Know If Your Gutters Need Cleaning?

Keep watch for these signs that they are in need of attention:

  • Water is spilling over the sides when it rains.

  • You see birds flying to and from your gutters, or signs of other animals such as rats, squirrels, and insects around them.

  • Gutters are sagging or pulling away from the roof line.

  • You notice staining on your siding, fascia, or soffits.

  • Plants are growing out of the gutters.

Why Hire a Gutter Cleaning Company?

If you're convinced that you need to get those rain channels clean as a whistle, but you're wondering why you shouldn't just do it yourself, here are four compelling reasons to leave the dirty work to your professional handyman.

  1. Avoid injury: It's easy to injure yourself while using a ladder and dealing with slippery grime. Professionals are trained on safety protocols and experienced with using ladders.

  2. Quick and efficient: Doing it yourself only saves money if your time is worth nothing. Thorough cleaning takes a long time, but your handyman will be experienced at getting it done efficiently.

  3. Know what to look for: Due to their years of experience repairing houses, they know the signs of damage to your exterior and can give you recommendations on what needs to be done to protect your home.

  4. Carry out gutter repairs: Clogged gutters are subject to further damage that prevents them from doing their job. Your handyman can repair breaks and weak points while they're already up on the ladder, saving time and money. They can also install rain gutter guards that will stop them from filling up so fast in the future.

Mr. Handyman is Your Local Pro for Affordable Gutter Cleaning Services!

Ready to book quality gutter cleaning and repair services? Mr. Handyman of Fairfax and Eastern Loudoun Counties has a reputation for providing outstanding workmanship and excellent customer service on every single job.

Pick up the phone today and give us a call at 703-962-1202, or request services via our online contact form, to find out more about what we can do to protect your home!