Hidden in plain sight, they perform a very important role: they take out and direct rainwater. This natural element, if not properly managed and contained, can wreak havoc on your house and damage the roof, as well as the walls, your yard, and even your foundation. Sounds pretty important, right? But let's take a closer look at how they protect your home and how you can keep them clean and in working order:
The Importance of Gutters
While their absolute necessity in drier climates can be debated, properly installed gutters are a blessing for homeowners. Here are some of the benefits of having a gutter system installed:
Water damage to walls is limited – rainwater can damage every part of your house, including the walls. If the gutter system is good, the water is channeled and won't come into contact with any exterior siding, wood element or stucco, preventing more than just unsightly stains.
Water damage to foundations and the soil is minimized – rainwater can infiltrate to the foundation and the basement, but if your house has a good gutter system installed, these flows and channels will be controlled. Soil erosion can wreak havoc on your landscaping, but worse still -- it can damage your foundation and cause settling, leaks, and even flooding in the home.
Care and Prevention of Gutter Issues
To work properly, gutters have to be as clean as possible. In fact, a clogged up gutter is essentially useless – all the rainwater will simply go around and damage the walls and foundation of your house. In fact, the weight of the water itself can add up and pull your gutter entirely free of the home. Homeowners have to keep an eye on their gutter systems, particularly before and after rainy seasons, to ensure that they're still in good enough shape to do their job.
Keep an eye out for the following:
• Deterioration of the gutter system, looking for signs of corrosion, bowing, or obvious signs of structural damage.
• Water leaking through seams or joints, and especially signs of water leaking into the roof or crawlspace.
• The accumulation of leaves or other debris that can become a fire hazard, especially during the summer months.
• Signs of frequent water or ice dams.
• Dirt buildups that can promote the growth of various plants, including shrubs and grass, whose rooting can cause damage to your roof and eaves.
Gutter maintenance tips
Gutters are delicate building components and should be handled with care. Pay special attention to them during cleaning and regular maintenance. Ideally, you should contact a professional gutter contractor, like Aerotech, The Gutter Experts, to handle gutter maintenance, but there is still basic cleaning and maintenance you should be performing yourself:
Inspect the gutter every spring and autumn – if you notice any structural damage, contact a roofing technician or gutter expert.
Scoop out loose debris – use a simple narrow garden trowel to scoop any leaves or small dirt build-ups, and a hose to assist you where necessary or prudent.
The importance of gutters for your house cannot be stressed enough. They protect your house from rainwater and can help you avoid any repair costs caused by water damage. They do require a lot of maintenance work, especially during spring and autumn, but the benefits of having a working gutter system far outweigh the costs of keeping it maintained.
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