It is easy to overlook gutter cleaning as the gutters are above your head. Ignoring this simple maintenance task can lead to major property damage.
If you neglect the roof gutters and downspouts until you notice problems with the drainage, you may already have water damage to your property. You may be more likely to keep your gutters clean if you understand the true costs of allowing debris to collect.
Clogged Gutters Allow Water to Accumulate
Why are gutters so important? They are designed to collect rainwater and carry it away from the foundation through the downspouts. If the gutters and downspouts are not cleared, the gutters may overflow with water.
As water accumulates in the clogged gutters, the overflow needs to go somewhere. It may flow down the sides of your home to the foundation. It may also leak into your home through the roof or walls.
These are all potential issues that can lead to significant damage to your property. The accumulation of water in basements, on roofs, or inside the walls may cause major damage.
Some of the biggest risks include mould growth, wood rot, and water damage. You may need to replace walls, ceilings, and flooring. In some cases, entire sections of a home may need to be restored.
Tearing out water-damaged walls, boards, and insulation is a messy, time-consuming task. You then need to deal with the cost of repair.
Repairing just one room may end up costing thousands of dollars. When you compare this cost to the typical gutter cleaning cost, it simply makes sense to keep your gutters cleaned.
Basement Leaks May Damage the Foundation
Water that seeps into the basement may damage the foundation. The gutters and downspouts are designed to keep water from reaching the sides of your house.
Downspouts typically feature a plastic track or hose to direct water several feet away from the foundation. When the gutters are clogged, the rainwater can flow directly down the sides of the house instead of passing through the downspouts.
The water that collects around the foundation seeps into the ground and presses on the brick or cement structure. Prolonged exposure to moisture and rainwater runoff can result in deterioration.
Over time, you may notice that the walls of your basement start to bow inward. You may also see cracks between the cement blocks.
When the foundation is damaged, your property may begin to shift under its own weight. You may even start to see cracks in the plasterboard on the walls or ceilings of the upper floors.
Foundation repairs are among the most costly home repairs. Repairing a damaged foundation can cost upwards of $10,000. The average gutter cleaning cost is just a fraction of this price.
Not Cleaning the Gutters May Damage the Roof
Clogged gutters may also damage the roof, which can lead to damage throughout your property.
When the gutters cannot properly drain water, extra weight is added to the gutters. The strain may cause the clips holding the gutters in place to pull free, allowing the gutters to collapse and potentially damage the roof and tiles.
If the gutters do not collapse, the water may start to drain between the roof and the fascia, which are the boards behind the gutters. As this water drains, it can leak into the interior of your walls and ceilings.
Water leakage can lead to additional problems. The water may stain the walls and ceilings and promote the growth of mold spores. If electrical wiring runs behind the walls or above the ceiling, there is also a risk of electrical shorts.
These are costly issues to deal with and regular gutter cleaning can help you avoid them. The typical gutter cleaning cost is a small price to pay compared to dealing with water damage.
Along with the dangers discussed, not cleaning your gutters may increase the risk of house fires. Dried leaves and other debris are fire hazards, especially during dry weather.
How Often Should Homeowners Clean Gutters?
Most properties need gutters cleaned twice a year. If there are a lot of trees that drop leaves close to the building, it may need to be done more often.
You may want to visually inspect the condition of your gutters throughout the year. If you have an upper floor that provides a view of the tops of the gutters, look to see if you notice any debris.
You can also inspect the gutters throughout the year by climbing a sturdy ladder to check gutters around the lower floors. However, climbing a ladder can be risky, especially if the ground near the foundation is uneven due to erosion from water leakage.
A safer option is to contact a professional company to inspect and clean your gutters. While cleaning your gutters, they can also inspect your roof for any other signs of leaks or damage. Porter Vac carries out a free roof condition report at every gutter cleaning job in case any damage has occurred.