Autumn is here! And with this season of pumpkin spice and cozy sweaters comes the annual falling of the leaves. While these fallen leaves are beautiful, they can do more damage than you might think; they can fall straight into your roof’s gutter, leaving you susceptible to tens of thousands of dollars worth of home damage. Cleaning your gutters will save you from this damage.
Leaves aren’t the only danger to your gutters. Here, we have outlined why and how you should keep your gutters clean.
Why Should I Worry About My Gutters?
There are six main reasons to clean your gutters.
Causes Damage to Your Roof
Roofs are not known for being cheap. A clogged gutter can decrease the lifespan of your roof and increase the cost of all the repairs you’ll have to do.
Since the water doesn’t drain through a clogged gutter, it sits and wears away at the weathering protection and sealing of your roof. The longer the water is there, the sooner it will start to deteriorate and rot.
Eventually, water will leak into your home and damage its interior as well.
Causes Damage to Your Foundation
A clogged gutter isn’t just an issue because it creates standing water, but because it also forces the water to pour off the sides of the gutter in an overflow.
The water spilling over will pool at the foundation of your home and seep into the cracks. With the oncoming winter, the water could freeze, expand, and destroy your foundation.
Creates Ice Dams
Ice dams are absolutely stunning to look at and absolutely detrimental to the health of your roof. While clogged gutters aren’t the only culprit for ice dam formation, they are one.
Ice dams prevent snow and water from running off by creating a ridge of ice around the perimeter of your home.
Unable to escape, the snow and water can put extra weight on your roof and cause interior damage. Ice dams can also cause damage your insulation, ventilation, shingles, gutters, ceilings, and walls.
Makes Nests for Pests
Having a gutter full of leaves and water is comparable to an HGTV house special for insects, rodents, and birds. Mosquitos will lay their eggs in the standing water and birds and rodents will make nests in the thick and lush leaves that have built up in your gutter.
Along with having your exterior becoming a nesting ground, your interior could be at risk. With increased damage to the outside, pests will see the weakened and leaking structure as an invitation into your home.
Suddenly, a few chirping baby birds in your gutters aren’t the only problem.
Causes Damage to Your Landscape
As mentioned before, a clogged gutter can cause spillover. The spillover can damage your foundation, but also the landscaping of your home.
Your garden and general landscaping will be at risk to overwatering, erosion, and death from the spill off. Landscaping is time-consuming and expensive. Your once full and luscious garden can wash away with only a mud puddle to remember it by if you don’t care for your gutters.
Not to mention your home’s curb appeal will greatly decrease with damaged landscaping that serves more as an eyesore than anything else.
Decreases Your Home’s Value
The value of your home is heavily reliant on the curb appeal.
One of the first components of your home assessed during an appraisal is the roof and if the roof is damaged with curling shingles or has mold from a leak, you can forget about adding any value to your home. You may even forget about selling your home altogether!
Curved and damaged gutters can decrease the value of your home by 10%.
Landscaping and maintenance of your lawn can be an easy way to gain 5-10% in value and cost you twice as much if they aren’t kept in good repair.
Taking care of the outside appearance of your home and spending the time and money to upkeep it, according to Hermann London, has at least a 100% ROI.
How Should I Clean My Gutters?
We’ve covered the why it’s important to take care of your gutters, but now we need to know how we should go about doing that and how often.
We have a step-by-step process with some of the materials you might need for your DIY gutter cleaning project.
- Plastic scoop
- Tarp and/or Bucket
Step-by-Step Process for Cleaning Gutters
- First, you’ll want to start at the very bottom with the downspout. Clear that out as much as you can.
- Set up the ladder in a sturdy location and climb up to get to the gutters. Use the plastic scoop to remove the bigger debris. Dump the debris into a bucket or a tarp to avoid damage to your landscaping.
- Use your hands to scoop out any remaining larger debris (e.g. leaves).
- Use your hose to wash out any granules or smaller debris that may be lingering.
- Repeat this process as needed until the water comes out clean and efficiently.
It is best to clean your gutters semi-annually, during fall and spring.
It also depends on how many trees are in your yard. If you have lots of trees, maybe taking a look at your gutters every three months is better than every six.
If you don’t have a lot of trees, stick to a semi-annual cleaning schedule and you’ll be sure to avoid the thousands of dollars of damage that a clogged gutter can do to your home.
One final thing to note is that there are gutters that prevent build up by having a protective shield or roof over top that allows water to still go through the gutters, but not the debris that could cause a build-up.
While these gutters aren’t always perfect, they do greatly reduce the amount of maintenance that you’ll have to do.
No matter what type of gutters you have, keeping them clean and unobstructed can only help.