Rain gutters have the important job of carrying water that your roof collects during a rainstorm safely away to a drainage system. This task may seem mundane, but the truth is it couldn’t be more important for your home as a whole. Dirty gutters can impact so much more than just the gutters themselves—they could have a tremendous impact on other areas of your home that you may have never thought about. What can build up in your gutters? All sorts of things. Throughout their normal use, a collection of things like dirt, mud, sticks, leaves, small rocks, and even pieces of roofing materials like chips off concrete tiles or granules off asphalt shingles. All of this could create a stoppage that severely restricts or even entirely prevents water from flowing through your gutters and out through a downspout to your drainage system. Here are four of the most important reasons why you need to keep your rain gutters clean as well as some general maintenance tips for keeping your gutters in top shape and flowing smoothly.
Just how much water does your roof collect when it rains? The answer: far more than you may have ever thought. An inch of water may not seem like that much. It might cause a bit of flooding, but over the entire surface area of your roof that stretches out pretty quickly, right? Not exactly. Measurements have shown that just a single inch of rain can drop more than 1,100 gallons of water on a 2,000 square foot roof. Can you imagine dropping more than 1,000 gallons of water on the property next to your home or suddenly trying to flood it all into your rain gutters? In severe storms, an inch of rain can fall in as little as an hour or two, meaning your gutters need to remove a ton of water extremely quickly. This is why clean gutters are so important: without clean gutters, water can build up when it has nowhere to go. Built-up water can place a lot of added strain on your gutters, making them heavy and prone to falling. They can also overflow and damage everything from your foundation to the structure of your home itself.
Have you ever left water on a soft surface for an extended period of time? What happened when you came back? Odds are it was bloated, waterlogged, and possibly even ruined. This is what can happen to your roof if water is allowed to sit on it for too long. The slope in your roof is designed to allow water to roll off harmlessly, but if it has nowhere to go, it could simply build up in your gutters and immediately flood back onto your roof itself. This can cause wood rot, mold and mildew growth, warping, bowing, buckling, and weak points that are tedious and difficult to fix. Not to mention you’ll probably notice a few leaks in the area where the water was standing.
What would happen if you didn’t have any rain gutters on your roof? Water would simply pour off the low points of your roof, dropping onto the ground below. This might seem perfectly normal, so what’s the big deal. The important factor is this is more than likely extremely close to your foundation. Water getting into soil foundation can cause it to shift or become unsettled, resulting in sinking, shifting, bowing, breaking, or general deformation. This leads to foundation problems for your home, and a whole bunch of headaches that you’ll have to deal with. It doesn’t take a ton of water to do this, either. Before long, you might find yourself dealing with some of the most stressful and expensive repairs that homeowners will ever have to make. Save yourself the trouble by making sure your gutters are clean and in good shape.
We mentioned earlier that too much water in your rain gutters can be dangerous, but do you know how dangerous? Let’s look at it this way: let’s say you have semi-circular gutters that are roughly around six inches in width and around six feet long per section. If this stretch of gutter fills up, you’ll have roughly 0.6 cubic feet of water in it. How much does that weigh? About 37.5 pounds. That kind of weight falling from 9 to 10 feet can hurt someone pretty badly in addition to damaging any flowerbeds, furniture, or whatever else may have been left underneath. Falling from a second-floor ledge can be even worse. To make matters worse, gutters become more brittle as they get older, meaning they’re even more likely to fall when under significant strain from water weight.
Keeping your gutters straightened out and in good order doesn’t have to be difficult. It may not sound like the most fun in the world, but every year it’s extremely important to get out and inspect your gutters as well as clean them out thoroughly. 303 Roofers offers professional gutter cleaning services that make getting this done easy and affordable. However, we also advise considering a gutter protector. These simple metal grates are designed to allow water to pass through uninhibited but also prevent much of the other debris from falling into the gutter itself. Sticks, leaves, and other larger block-causing objects will be kept out where they can easily be swept away.