According to homeowners all over, gutter cleaning is one of their least favorite home maintenance tasks. Cleaning out the gutters is messy, time consuming, and can even be dangerous since it involves getting up on a ladder, making it an easy task to delay. Yet what homeowners who push gutter cleaning to the back burner may not realize is that in doing so, they could be seriously damaging their roofs. To avoid unnecessary roof repair, it is essential that gutters be cleaned at least once a year, or as often as necessary to keep them free of debris.
Gutters Catch Water… and Sometimes More
The purpose of gutters is to catch rainwater that flows down the surface of a roof and divert it elsewhere until it safely reaches the ground. This helps prevent roof damage, damage to the side of the house, and damage to the grounds surrounding the house. Unfortunately, gutters also tend to catch more than just rainwater. Because of this, gutters can become clogged with things like twigs, sticks, rotting leaves, and other debris that falls onto the surfaces of roofs and eventually into the gutters. When gutters are obstructed, they can no longer properly divert water and cause damage to the roof, eventually requiring roof repair.
Clogged Gutters Cause Damage to Expensive Roofs
Clogged gutters that fill up with water can damage roofs in a number of different ways. To begin with, when gutters and downspouts are clogged and gutters overflow with water, that water flows over the sides, under the bottom, and frequently flows down the sides of the house, causing streaking and water damage. Even more significant is that the edges of the roof could become submerged.
Roof edges are especially vulnerable, as this is where the shingles and underlayment stop. When these areas are left to sit under water, underlayment becomes saturated and water is spread under the protective shingles. Shingles can also soak up water and become damaged, rotting at the edges. Worse yet, the decking beneath the underlayment can then absorb water. When this occurs and all three layers of the roof are saturated with water soaked up from overflowing and clogged gutters, it is just a matter of time before wood rot and continued damage to the shingles occurs as the many layers are unable to dry out. With every rainfall, more water is absorbed. Even though things may look fine from the outside, some roofs can become seriously damaged over time.
Preventing Roof Damage From Gutters Is Easy
Gutter cleaning is really not as difficult as it may seem and can be accomplished relatively easily with the right tools. Homeowners should clean their gutters every spring after winter weather has ceased; however, in many areas both a spring and fall cleaning is best to keep gutters free of leaves and other debris. By using a hose and a pair of rubber gloves, most homeowners can flush debris out of gutters and ensure that water can flow freely to the downspout to prevent expensive roof damage and repairs. Most roofing companies will clean gutters for a reasonable fee.
Before deciding to leave the gutter cleaning to next season, it is best to rethink this choice. As annoying as this home maintenance job may be, it is inexpensive protection for very expensive roofs. Gutter cleaning is an essential task that will prevent extensive water damage, potentially saving homeowners thousands of dollars in unnecessary roof repairs!