Think of gutters as the rainwater management system of your home. They are installed along the roofline and collect rainwater as it runs off the roof. The water then funnels away from the foundation to prevent flooding and water damage.
Gutters are vital in protecting your home, yet they are often neglected. Homeowners may not realize the importance of gutters until it's too late and are left dealing with expensive repairs. Keep reading to learn more about why gutters are essential and how neglecting them can lead to big problems.
What is The Purpose of Gutters?
While gutters' design protects your home from water damage, they can actually cause damage if they are not properly maintained. Gutters are a vital part of your home's exterior for a few reasons:
- Collect rainwater and direct it away from your foundation.
- Protect your landscaping by keeping excess water away from plants and flowers.
- Prevent staining on your siding.
- Keep your basement or crawl space dry.
Without gutters, rainwater would pool around the base of your home and eventually seep into the basement or crawlspace. This can lead to mold, mildew, and other serious problems. In extreme cases, it can even cause the foundation to crack or collapse.
In addition to preventing water damage, gutters also help to prevent soil erosion. When rainwater runs off the roof and onto the ground without being funneled through a gutter system, it can wash away topsoil, exposing your foundation. This can make your home more susceptible to flooding and other types of damage.
Are Faulty Gutters Dangerous?
Clogged gutters filled with leaves, sticks, and other debris prevent water from flowing freely through the system. Clogs can cause water to back up and spill over the sides of the gutters, washing away soil and causing other problems.
Leaking gutters also cause problems because they allow water to seep into cracks in the foundation or walls. Over time, this can lead to rot, mold, and serious structural issues. The growth of mold and mildew in your foundation can begin to cause health problems such as allergies or asthma. Leaking gutters can also create an ideal environment for pests like mosquitoes and rodents. These pests are not only a nuisance, but they also carry fatal diseases.
How Do I Properly Care for My Gutters?
To avoid these issues:
- Clean your gutters at least twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall. You can do this yourself or hire a professional gutter company to do it for you.
- If you decide to do it yourself, ensure you have the proper safety equipment, like a ladder stabilizer and gloves.
- Never try to clean your gutters while standing on a ladder – always have someone hold the ladder steady.
Once you've cleared all the debris from your gutters, inspect them for any signs of wear or damage. If you see any cracks or holes, patch them with gutter sealant or caulk as soon as possible, so they don't get worse over time. If you have damaged gutter sections, you should replace them to ensure your home and landscape remain protected.