Every homeowner knows, or quickly learns, that houses require a lot of regular maintenance. Most of us are so busy with our jobs and our families, though, that we often put off necessary home maintenance. This is especially true for dirty jobs, such as cleaning your gutters.
Roofing professionals know why you should clean your gutters; they see plenty of damage due to clogged gutters. The primary function of a gutter system is to keep water away from your roof and the foundation of your house. When clogged gutters are ignored, rainwater can damage your roof and cause structural damage to your home.
WHY YOU SHOULD CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS?
Leaves, twigs, acorns, and all manner of natural debris collects in your gutters. After a while, this organic material deteriorates into a sludge. This sludge eventually accumulates to the point of blocking water flow through the gutter system.
Damage due to clogged gutters can be extensive and costly to repair. Water pooling at the foundation of your home can ruin landscaping, and it eventually causes leaks. Leaks can damage and destroy valuable property, weaken building materials, and, worse, breed toxic and potentially even deadly mold.
If your gutters have been clogged for some time and you suspect you may have a leak in your roof, you’re probably right. Leaks aren’t always visible, though; often, they occur behind walls. Look for the following telltale signs if you think you may have hidden leaks.
Discolored or stained walls are good indicators of a leak. If you spot yellowish patches on your walls or ceiling, don’t ignore them.
An unpleasant smell can be another sign of a roof leak. When sheetrock and other building materials get wet, they breed mold. Certain types of mold are toxic and even lethal, so never ignore signs of mold growth.
Standing and pooled water are sure signs of a leak, either from your roof or elsewhere.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS?
Many homeowners aren’t sure how often to clean gutters. Expert roofers like the professionals at Southpaw Roofing suggest cleaning your gutters twice yearly, at a minimum. Under certain circumstances, it’s better to do so more often.
Some climates produce more and heavier rainfall than others. If you live in such a region, you’ll probably want to have your gutters cleaned at least three times a year. Another factor that can influence how often you should clean your gutters is whether or not there are tall pine trees around your house. Pine needles tend to clog gutters quickly.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS
Cleaning clogged gutters is a relatively straightforward, if dirty, and somewhat unpleasant job. Hiring an experienced gutter crew to clean your gutters is the surest way to keep them working optimally. If you prefer to try the job yourself, the following tips will help.
Using gloves, remove any debris from the gutters. In some cases, using a gutter scoop may be preferable. Some dirt and debris may cling stubbornly to the gutters, but you’ll be able to get the majority of the job done this way.
Once you’ve removed what you can by hand, use a garden hose, or better yet, a power washer, to clean away any remaining debris. This serves two purposes; it finishes cleaning what’s visible of your gutters and also lets you know if there are any clogs in your downspouts.
If, after clearing your gutters, water still isn’t flowing down the downspout, odds are there is a clog you can’t see. To clear a clogged downspout, use a plumber’s snake.
Remember that climate and geography dictate how often to clean gutters, but it should be done at least twice annually.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS
While it’s a job few look forward to doing, cleaning your home’s gutters is an essential part of home maintenance. If you’re planning on cleaning your own gutters, why make the job harder than it has to be? There are a few things you can do to make cleaning your gutter system easier.
Many savvy homeowners use gutter screens to keep debris out of their gutters. Screens are made from a relatively fine mesh, allowing only water and the smallest of natural particles into your gutter. Gutter guards are another option for protection. Though more expensive than gutter screens, gutter guards are more durable and keep more debris out.
Gutter cleaning and maintenance may not be anyone’s favorite job, but neglecting it can lead to leaks, structural damage, and dangerous mold. Why leave so important a job to the whims of your busy schedule? Wouldn’t you be better off letting a trusted roofing company worry about your gutter maintenance for you?
The professionals at Southpaw Roofing have over thirty years of experience installing, maintaining, and repairing all manner of residential and commercial roofs. Call Southpaw Roofing todayto learn more about gutter installation or if you have roof damage from your current gutter system. Or, better yet, visit online day or night at Southpaw Roofing