Many homeowners are unaware of the importance of maintaining their gutters as the seasons change. If you ignore them, your gutters can fill with leaves and debris, causing water to overflow onto your roof and gather around your home’s foundation.
To avoid costly damages, it’s important to inspect and clean your gutters so water can flow freely. According to Steve Becker of National Home Improvement, Inc., this is a critical step to protecting your biggest investment.
“Most people underestimate just how damaging clogged gutters can be,” Becker said. “Leaves and debris can cause water to back up and overflow. This can damage shingles and promote wood rot. If the water overflows onto the ground, it can impact the foundation and compromise the structural integrity of a home.”
When water makes its way beneath a home’s foundation, it causes the soil to expand and eventually contract when things dry out. This can cause the concrete to sink and crack, resulting in thousands of dollars in repair costs that could have been avoided with some routine gutter maintenance.
Clogged gutters can also promote the development of ice dams, which cause even more water to overflow and pool around a home’s foundation.
“Ice dams form when you have poor attic ventilation, insufficient attic insulation, clogged gutters or some combination of the three,” said Becker. “Ice dams can tear off your gutters, loosen shingles, cause water to back up beneath the shingles and drain into your home. They also increase the likelihood that water will pool around your foundation.”
With all this in mind, it’s important to properly prepare your gutters for the colder months after trees have shed their leaves and before temperatures drop below freezing. This means cleaning your gutters to make sure water can easily flow toward downspouts. It also means checking downspouts to make sure they aren’t clogged with debris.
“It’s a good idea to climb a ladder and use a garden hose to force water through your downspout,” said Becker. “If you notice it begins to pool up or trickle out weakly, you probably have a clog that will need to be removed. Even if your gutters are perfectly clean, water will pool up and spill out if it can’t make its way through your downspouts.”
While you’re cleaning your gutters, you should inspect every inch to make sure they are not sagging or separating from the house in any way. You should also trim branches away from your gutters and roof to keep leaves, branches and debris from dropping into your gutters. You should also make sure your gutters are properly aligned to prevent standing water from gathering.
If you’re not fully comfortable with heights or are too busy, the best way to prepare your gutters for fall and winter is to hire a professional.
“Professionals can safely inspect, clean and secure your gutters to make sure your home is protected from water damage,” said Becker. “They can even install gutter guards which help keep leaves and debris out of gutters and dramatically reduce your maintenance requirements. They can also install downspout extensions, which can help prevent any damage to your home’s foundation caused by melting snow and ice.”
Whether you choose to hire a professional or tackle the job yourself, it’s vital that you make sure your gutters are free of debris and properly positioned around your home. If you ignore this important duty, you could end up with serious damage to your roof and foundation, which can both cost thousands of dollars to repair.
Founded more than 20 years ago, National Home Improvement helps Colorado homeowners protect their largest investments by assisting with essential home improvements and repairs. Whether you need help deciding the best strategy for a home repair project or assistance with an insurance claim, our experienced team can provide expert recommendations and unrivaled service.
From windows and siding to roofing and doors, National Home Improvement provides a comprehensive spectrum of services for homeowners located in and around the Denver metro area. Dedicated to quality, consistency and integrity, our experts work with homeowners to improve, upgrade and secure their homes while bringing their boldest visions to life.