Take a moment to go outside and look at your home’s gutters. Do they appear to be in good condition? When was the last time you cleaned or inspected them? Have you noticed water spilling over the side of the soffit instead of moving through the spout onto the ground? These questions are far from trivial; gutters play a crucial role in the protection of a home’s exterior and foundation.
Those Gutters Do More Than You Think
Your home’s gutters are designed to direct rainwater safely away from the building and the soil it rests on, but they will fail to do so if they are not installed correctly and maintained on a regular basis. Resulting water damage can range from mild to severe, but it does not take long to move from one stage to the next. Houses with wooden shingle siding are more prone to rotting than others, but the structural integrity of any home is put in jeopardy when exposed to rainwater for too long.
To put it simply, precipitation has to go somewhere. If it is not being steered to an appropriate drainage point located a safe distance from your house, it is likely to damage your home in one way or another. If you notice unsightly water staining on a stone or brick exterior, you can imagine the damage that is being wrought on the home’s foundation.
Think about this for a second. The most important part of your home, the one that can potentially cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair if deemed unstable, is at the mercy of your decision about whether and how often to clean the gutters attached to the roof, a simple job that can easily be finished in a day. Too many homeowners fail to address routine home maintenance projects until they become major problems, typically resulting in added stress and hefty repair bills. Having your gutters cleaned and repaired as necessary is essential to protecting your investement.
Why Gutter Upkeep Is Essential
- It helps to prevent basement leaks. Because the only place for rainwater to go is down, a home’s foundation is very vulnerable to water damage. Faulty gutters are the leading cause of water problems on housing sublevels. Not only does a wet basement act as a safe harbor for the formation of mildew and black mold, but it also exposes the foundation to undue pressure. The combination of loose soil and outward force can eventually lead to support column shift, which jeopardizes the structural integrity of your home.
- It protects siding from wood rot. The fascia board and roof framing are put in harm’s way when debris is allowed to accumulate in gutters. The increased moisture exposure can eventually result in unsalvageable rotten boards that must be replaced.
- It helps to keep insects away. Mosquitoes, the outdoor pests that every Iowan despises and is forced to deal with every year, breed and nest in areas with standing water. A clogged gutter serves as a prime spot to lay eggs. With the threat of West Nile and other diseases that mosquitoes can carry, failure to maintain your gutter system could put your family’s health at risk.
Gutter cleaning is not difficult per se, but it can be a dangerous job that may be better handled by a licensed professional. On larger homes, the time saved by hiring a contractor like Hedrick Construction is well worth the investment.