As a handyman I get a lot of calls from customers with clogged gutters that need cleaned and/or repaired. Therefore I’ve decided to write a blog outlining the importance of clean gutters. Hopefully you find it helpful and add this task to your yearly spring/fall cleaning routine. Remember, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way in saving on home repairs later!
If your gutters or downspouts are clogged with leaves, sediment, roof granules, or seedlings, you will eventually see water damage in the following areas.
- Facia boards
- Windows and doors
- Basement walls and floors
The first area that you will see damage will probably be your facia board. This is the board that runs horizontally underneath the roof. It is also the board that the gutter is nailed or screwed to. When a gutter is clogged, water running off of the roof has nowhere to go except behind and in front of the gutter.
If rain water makes it’s way behind the gutter it will rot out the facia board, leaving a costly repair.
The second area you may see water damage from a clogged gutter is your windows and doors. Water damage in these areas typically presents themselves as bubbling paint and plaster damage.
I usually see this type of water damage in homes with smaller eves, however I have seen it in homes with larger eves as well. Rain water makes its way behind the gutter, rotting the facia board, then continues through the eve into the exterior wall and settles on the top of the window frames. From there it has nowhere to go but through the plaster board and into the house.
Lastly, a clogged gutter can result in a wet basement.
A typical 3 bedroom house will have a 1,200 sq ft roof. When a gutter is clogged, every drop of rain that falls over that 1,200 sq ft will fall directly on the perimeter of the house. The roof is essentially acting as a large funnel for rain water, dumping hundreds of gallons onto the foundation of the house every year. Unless the house has an excellent (and clean) french drain system, the rain water has nowhere to go but into the foundation, and then the basement.
This condition will deteriorate a foundation and promote mold growth.
Finally, I have one last note with regards to home gutter systems. While it is essential to keep your gutters and downspouts free of debris, it is equally important that your home has proper drip edge.
The purpose of drip edge is to carry rain water from the roofs shingles into the gutter. It is made of aluminum or galvanized steel and acts as a bridge for water to flow from the roof to the gutter. A lack of drip edge (or improperly installed drip edge) will result in the rotting of your facia board and the plywood sheeting underneath a shingled roof. Both of these conditions lead to further water damage if gone unchecked.
If your home doesn’t have drip edge, or is improperly installed there is no need to worry! While it is not as easy to install after the roof has been installed, it can be done.
In conclusion it is always a good idea to check and clean your gutters once a year, and make sure you have proper drip edge on the edge of your roof.
Always be careful when climbing ladders. If you don’t feel comfortable with heights or ladders, feel free to give me a call for help!
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