The gutters are often overlooked when it comes to roofing maintenance. But this is a mistake because the gutters are essential to your roof’s performance and the protection of your building. Debris can easily collect in the gutters and negatively impact drainage and roof stability. In reality, not cleaning your gutters shouldn’t even be an option, not doing so can result in several serious problems.
When you don’t clean your gutters
- Mold and Mildew: Mold and mildew love eating away organic material (dead and decaying leaves). Any moisture that gets added to this will only speed up the process of mold and mildew growth. Mold can grow and damage other materials in the building such as wood that is in your roofing substrate and building structure. Continued mold growth can weaken the structure.
- Water Damage: Seams along the building perimeter allow water to enter the roofing system and building. When lower floors or basements get flooded, the most common cause is a clogged gutter. The leaves clog the drainage channels, the water to dams up and eventually overflows, possibly resulting in thousands of dollars of damage.
- Cosmetic Damage: Flossing or freezing water can ruin your soffits and fascia. This will cause cosmetic damage to the roofline and affect your ventilation and heating and cooling costs. The soffits and fascia can help ventilate your basement and having to replace these can be very expensive.
- Wasted Landscape Material: This is more of an annoyance but it can be expensive if you’ve invested in your landscaping. Heavy rains can easily overflow clogged drains, forcing all that excess water to wash away your sod and begin to erode the topsoil.
- Freezing Water: Rain, clogged drains, and low temperatures are a recipe for disaster. The water stays in your gutter lines and can freeze up in cold weather creating water dams. These can cause your gutters to become overloaded and collapse under the additional weight. Freezing and thawing water also pushes the gutter material, causing cracks and other damage as well.
- Rodent and Insect Infestation: When you ignore your gutters, the dirt and debris build-up. Any rain makes these clogs worse and can lead to insect and rodent infestation. The standing water that can’t drain away from a clogged gutter is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes and other insects that gather around stagnant water attract rodents and other creatures that can be a nuisance and a health hazard.
How to Keep Your Gutters Clean?
It is important to check your gutters and have them cleaned regularly to prevent the serious complications mentioned above.
Step 1: Clear Debris From the Gutters
Have one bucket for the debris and a second bucket to hold the tools you need. Begin cleaning near a downspout. Place your ladder squarely on level ground before you climb it. Remove and clean the downspout strainer and then clear any large debris by hand. Use a trowel or gutter scoop for any compacted debris.
Step 2: Flush the Gutters
After most of the debris is removed, flush the remaining dirt from the gutter with a garden hose. Simply fit your garden house with a spray nozzle and flush out the gutter, starting at the far end and moving toward the downspout.
Step 3: Check the Downspouts
Once the gutters are clean, the water used for flushing should be draining quickly. If not, check the downspout for clogs and any lodged debris. Turn the hose on and spray down the spout. If the amount of water coming out is less than what is going in, then you have a blockage. You can remove the blockage by feeding the hose up the downspout from the ground. Turn the hose on at full pressure to try to dislodge the clog.
Step 4: Check for Gutter Drainage
When the downspout is clear of clogs, flush the gutters a second time. Check for proper water flow and drainage and look for any leaks at the seams. Make sure all the gutters are secure and firmly attached before inspecting each gutter section and the downspout for damage.
Step 5: Complete Gutter Cleaning
Seal any leaking seams and joints with gutter sealant, and use a pressure washer to remove any mildew and dirt. If you have any questions about gutter maintenance or gutter cleaning, reach out to us today. We can help you with the right tools and techniques. Or we can take care of the regular gutter cleaning for you.