Open Accessibility Menu
Hide

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late! Why It’s Important to Clean Your Gutters

Cleaning out your gutters may seem like a tedious task—however, it’s a vitally important to-do for the overall safety and well-being of your home.

Trust us, at Mr. Handyman Northern Virginia, we understand the last thing you’ll want to do on your precious Saturday morning is to clean out the muck, sticks and leaves that have accumulated in your gutters.

Yet, to not spend time gutter cleaning—or to not hire a professional service like the team at Mr. Handyman—is to risk letting the problem fester. By not cleaning out your gutters correctly and promptly, you could risk damaging your home and garden.

Read on to discover our expert insights into how often you should clean your gutters, the best gutter cleaning practices and if hiring the experts at Mr. Handyman Northern Virginia is right for you.

Why Should You Clean Out Your Gutters?

As a homeowner, you take pride in the upkeep of your house. After all, you’ve invested time and care into your place and it’s important that your home stays safe and in tip-top shape.

Yet, gutter cleaning is often a task that falls to the wayside. It’s time-consuming, dirty and can also be dangerous if safety standards are not upheld. That said, gutter cleaning is an essential task for the upkeep of your home.

Your gutter system is designed to collect rainwater and melting snow water and carry it away from your home’s foundation through downspouts. If either your gutters or downspouts become blocked, water will fail to re-direct and manage to overflow in places it should not. This aquatic excess can be destructive to your home. Let’s keep learning and fight back!

There are many reasons why gutter cleaning is so very important:

Prevent Damage to Your Foundation

There are a couple ways that clogged gutters can negatively impact your home’s foundation. Your home’s gutter system is meant to move water away from eroding the soil at the base of your home. Should this system become compromised due to build-up, the water won’t flow away from the base of your home. Instead, it will spill over the sides of the gutters and pour down your home’s walls. This will create pools of water to form at the base of your foundation, causing erosion, cracks and settling.

Additionally, when temperatures begin to dip during the Northern Virginia winters, any water that pools around the base of your home will freeze. As it freezes, the water expands and causes additional cracking to the base of your home.

Avoid Basement Flooding

The more water that pools around the base of your home—since it is not correctly diverted because of a clogged gutter system—the more chances your basement will flood. Additionally, water may seep into your basement walls. This moisture may lead to unwanted black growth and discoloration.

Protect Your Roof

Your basement isn’t the only part of your home that can be damaged because of unclean gutters. When leaves, twigs and other debris clog-up your gutters to the point where water is flooding over, this flooding can damage your roof. Clogged gutters create standing water that may leak into your ceiling. Not only will this water damage cause unsightly brown spots on your ceiling, but it can also lead to leaks, sags or even collapses (in a worse case scenario).

Prevent Flooding Your Garden

The erosion caused by incorrectly flowing water due to blockages in your gutters not only impacts your home’s foundation, but it can also ruin your garden and lawn. Imagine there is a thunderstorm or heavy rainfall and you haven’t had your gutters properly cleaned. The excess water overflowing from your roof will land on your garden beds; damaging your flowers and causing a muddy mess. Protect your beautiful garden and lovely lawn by either hiring a gutter cleaning service or mucking out the gutters yourself.

Stop Erosion of Paved Areas

Maybe you don’t have a garden next to your home, but rather a driveway, sidewalk or patio. If water is not being moved away from these areas by a properly functioning gutter system, then the soil supporting the paved areas of your home can shift and erode—causing cracks, sinking patio stones and other damage.

Keep Pests Out

The debris build-up in clogged gutters makes a lovely home for a variety of insects and birds. Notably, mosquitoes particularly enjoy breeding in the standing water created by unclean gutters. This is because mating mosquitoes love stagnant water. If you notice an increase in buzzing mosquitoes around your home, it may be a sign that you need to clean out your gutters.

Avoid Damage to Your Home’s Fascia

Fascia is the board that runs along your gutter system. It is mounted at the point where your roof meets the outer walls of your house. Since clogged gutters cause water to overflow incorrectly or pool within your gutter system, this can cause fascia boards to deteriorate and rot.

Avoid Damage to Gutter Hangers and Brackets

The areas surrounding your gutter system are not the only parts of your home that may be damaged due to clogged gutters. The gutters themselves can also be damaged. Pooling water and debris can become seriously heavy. Your gutter system can only hold this weight up to a point. If too much time passes before you clean your gutters, the hangers and brackets can rip away from home and come crashing to the ground.

How Do Gutters Get Clogged?

Overtime, leaves, twigs and dirt can find their way into your gutter system—particularly when you live in a State with such beautiful seasons as Northern Virginia. While the change in seasons is a lovely part of living in NoVA, it does mean that falling leaves and other debris will become stuck in your gutters.

How Can I Tell if My Gutters Need to Be Cleaned?

The bestgutter cleaning practice is to unclog gutters regularly. However, there are a few signs that scream for your attention to start cleaning as soon as possible:

  • You spot birds, insects or other pests by your roof.
  • You notice water spilling over the sides of your gutters.
  • Your gutters have started to sag.
  • You see staining on your home’s siding.
  • Plants are growing in your gutters.
  • You can’t remember the last time you cleaned out your gutters.

How Often Should My Gutters Be Cleaned?

As important as it is to regularly clean out your gutters, obviously it is not practical—or necessary—to climb up a ladder and check on your gutters every day.

The best practice for regulargutter cleaning is to unclog your system twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. In the spring, snow is melting and any debris that was trapped in your gutter system between the fall and winter will be easier to access. Whereas, the season of fall would be your best opportunity to clear out debris from the summer and spring before it gets too cold.

That said, depending on your home’s proximity to trees, you may want to clean out your gutters more frequently. For instance, if you have a number of beautiful red maple or scarlet oak trees in your backyard, you may also have to deal with more leaves falling into your gutters.

Different Types of Gutters

There are three primary kinds of gutters. Each different type has its own benefits and drawbacks—from how easy they are to clean to how beautiful they are on your house.

Half-Round Gutters

This variety of gutter looks like it sounds. Essentially, half-round gutters look like a pipe that has been cut in half. Since these gutters are curved, they don’t sit flush against the fascia boards and generally require brackets to hold them in place. Half-round gutters are the traditional style found on homes built before the ‘60s; if you live in an older community there is a good chance your home was built with half-round gutters.

While this kind of gutter is very effective at carrying water away from your home, its shape is prone to clogging and, thus, requires a lot of TLC to be clean and free-flowing.

K-Style Gutters

When viewed from the side, K-style gutters look like the letter “K.” This kind of gutter is the style most commonly found in homes built post-1960. Since the back of K-style gutters are flat, they can be installed directly into the fascia board and do not require brackets to hold them in place. These gutters are quite popular because they resemble crown molding from the side, and because they carry more water than half-round gutters.

However, K-style gutters are a little harder to clean than half-round gutters because the inner angles are prone to collecting debris that is tricky to remove.

Fascia Gutters

This type of gutter is custom-built out of one long stretch of aluminum—unlike half-round or K-style gutters, which are sold in sections that fit together. Since fascia gutters are all one piece, they do not have seams that can be prone to rust or leaks.

What Are Gutter Guards?

Gutter guards are a barrier that helps prevent debris like leaves and twigs from getting into your gutters. While gutter guards have to be installed over top your gutters, they can eliminate the need for seasonal gutter cleaning. There are a variety of different kinds of gutter guards:

Brush Gutter Guards

These gutter guards are made up of bristles and fit directly into your gutters. They prevent clogging by trapping debris on top of the bristles while enabling water to run through the gutter. However, brush gutter guards do require regular cleaning. To clean brush guards, you will need to remove them from your gutters.

Foam Gutter Guards

These gutter guards are pieces of foam that fit inside your gutters, which stops debris from entering the gutters. However, the drawback of foam gutter guards is that plants may grow in the foam and debris can build up on top of the foam. Like brush gutter guards, you also need to remove foam gutter guards to clean them.

Reverse Curve or Surface Tension Gutter Guards

This kind of gutter guard needs to be professionally installed. The idea behind it is that rainwater will be able to fall into your gutters, but debris will fall to the ground due to the downward angle of these guards. However, blockages can still happen with reverse curve/surface tension gutter guards. Sometimes, pests like wasps make nests underneath reverse curve gutter guards.

Screens

This variety of gutter guard has holes in it that prevent large leaves and twigs from clogging up your gutters. However, screen guards do not entirely prevent debris from getting into your gutters. While you may have to clean out your gutters less often with a screen gutter guard, you will still need to remove the guards and clean your gutters at least once a year.

Micro Mesh

Whereas screen gutter guards have small but visible holes, micro mesh guards have holes that are so small they are barely visible to the naked eye. These guards allow water through while keeping debris out. Micro mesh guards are the best option for protecting your gutters from debris and offer a permanent solution to clogged gutters. They need to be professionally installed to do their magic.

DIY or Hire a Professional Gutter Cleaning Service?

Gutter cleaning can be a hassle that many homeowners would rather do without. Additionally, since you have to climb up a ladder to clean out your gutters, it can also be a dangerous job best left to the professionals atMr. Handyman Northern Virginia.

That said, we do have a few tips if you are DIY inclined and would prefer to tackle gutter cleaning by yourself:

  • Use the right tools. This includes a ladder, putty knife/blade, trowel and work gloves. You may also want a bucket to put the debris into.
  • Flush out your gutters afterwards. Use a good garden hose and nozzle to knock away any remaining debris and test your gutters once they have been cleaned out.
  • Plan your path. Pay attention to what areas of your gutter are most prone to clogging so you can tackle these places first.
  • Do not hang on your gutters. Gutters are not meant to support much weight. It is never safe to hang tools or buckets from your gutters or to use them to support yourself.

Benefits of Professional Gutter Cleaning Services from Mr. Handyman Northern Virginia

Our expert and professional team has years of experience when it comes to gutter cleaning and repair. Additionally, our team will fix any water damage that has been caused by clogged gutters. We pride ourselves on our standard of excellence. You can rest assured that any gutter cleaning related task will be done right the first time when it’s handled by our skilful technicians.

Contact us today to inquire about checking off gutter cleaning from your to-do list!