When it comes to home improvement projects, “clean clogged gutters” or “fix broken gutters” probably doesn’t top your list. Well, whether it does or doesn’t top your list of things that need to be done around your home, put a star by it anyway. A big star. Why? Because maintaining your gutters is one of the most important things you can do to prevent water leaks and floods in your home.
Your Gutters Are A “Star” System!
The purpose of your gutter system isn’t for eye-popping curb appeal. Their function is to carry rain water and snow and ice melt from your roof to the downspouts and away from your home’s walls and foundation. Clogged gutters prevent water from freely flowing, and hold the water at your roof line and fascia board until it spills over the side and/or soaks into your roof and home.
Now, consider the volume of water in the form of rain (32 inches) and snow (5 inches melted) that soak your roof in a year. According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s rainfall calculator, 37 inches of water falling on a 2,400-square-foot roof, for example, is approximately 55,000 gallons of water.
Hence, the “star” you wrote on your to-do list next to “clean clogged gutters,” they earned it.
Water Leaks: Roof, Ceiling And Walls
Water damage to your roof and home can occur rather quickly when water is spilling over your gutters. Water can soak in through cracks and gaps in shingles and sheathing and erode wood. Water can flow horizontally along eaves and down your walls or behind siding. Water stains on your ceiling may actually be caused from a roof leak several feet away.
Water is heavy and can do additional damage by pulling your gutters away from the fascia. Water can go where other substances cannot. Once water penetrates the waterproofing barrier of your roofing system and walls, it’s just a matter of time before rot, mold and potentially other financially catastrophic water damage occurs. It’s as simple as that.
Foundation and Flooding Problems
Your downspouts are important in that they direct thousands of gallons of water away from your home’s foundation. When water is spilling over clogged gutters or through damaged gutters onto your lawn, the soil becomes saturated and puts an enormous amount of pressure on basement walls. Three things tend to happen:
- Immense pressure causes basement walls to push inward or crack.
- Soil erodes around your foundation, which can result in cracks in walls and uneven floors.
- Hydrostatic pressure forces water into your basement through cracks and saturation.
Maintaining Your Gutters
If you have a lot of leafy trees near your home, you probably have a good idea what could clog up your gutters. However, there is more than one reason gutters can become clogged.
- Any objects that fall from nearby trees or is carried on the wind onto your roof can create a dam in your gutters.
- Gutters need to be pitched one-quarter inch sloped per 10-foot gutter expanse to the downspouts.
- Damaged gutters that pull away from the fascia board sag and allow water to collect.
- Ice dams can be caused by vegetation and debris blockages as snow melt can’t drain and re-freezes.
The good news is that all of the preceding scenarios that can cause clogged gutters and potential water leaks and floods in your home are preventable. With routine inspections and maintenance, you won’t have to deal with the devastating aftermath of clogged gutters.
If you have questions about clogged gutters or would like more home care tips, contact the professionals at MN Plumbing & Home Services today!