Gutters can be an overlooked feature when buying a home for the first time. Without properly installed and regularly maintained gutters, the house may have suffered from water damage. In the United States, water damage is the second most frequently filed insurance claim; wind and hail take the number one spot. Water damage can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars, from roof repairs to complete foundation fixes.
Gutters and Water Damage
Gutters are essential for a home because without them, rainwater and melting snow or ice flows down the sides of the house and pools at the foundation. When the gutters are not maintained, they become clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris. Clogs cause overflow and it can be as damaging as not having any gutters. The water not only pools at the foundation, but it can seep in around windows and up and under the shingles of the roof. Water damage left unchecked leads to wood rot, mold, and the need for expensive roof repair.
How to Spot Problems Caused by Gutters
Rainwater that isn’t caught properly by gutters and diverted away from the home by the downspouts often leaves obvious signs. Look for dirty/stained siding. When the rainwater overflows the gutters (or the house has no gutters) dirt, bits of leaves, and even small particles from the roofing shingles cascade down the siding. Over time, this leaves stains and makes the home look run-down. Other signs include visible mold and wood rot, particularly around windows.
Run-off also affects a house’s foundation, the water can seep into cracks leading to moisture in the crawlspace or basement. It does not take long for mold to develop in these cool, damp spaces. Mold spores can then travel through the house via the HVAC system causing respiratory issues for both humans and pets.
This House Doesn’t Have Gutters! Now What?
Gutters can be installed if the home doesn’t have any. Opt for professional installation for the gutters and downspouts. Professionals will know how to create the proper angles to divert the water away from the foundation and landscaping to avoid damaging erosion. They’ll make sure the gutters are leveled correctly as well to create the right flow.
Home expert Bob Villa says the “most common gutter sizes are 5 inches and 6 inches, although 4 inches is available as well. Downspouts are commonly 2 x 3 inches and 3 x 4 inches in size or 3 or 4 inches in diameter.” You’ll have to choose from materials that include vinyl, aluminum, and steel.
Gutter Maintenance Tips
On average, your gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year. However, if your property or the neighboring one has a lot of trees, you may need it more frequently. Rely on a professional gutter cleaning service like United Window Cleaning to make the chore easier. Professional teams have the right equipment and know-how to get the job done. It’s also safer to have the pros come in and clean the gutters. Professional gutter cleaning means no ladder climbing for you.
Just bought a new house? Congratulations! Let us come out to inspect and clean the gutters. Before the first winter storm hits, contact United Window Cleaning to schedule your gutter cleaning.