Many homeowners have a love-hate relationship with their gutters. They either forget about them, out-of-sight-out-of-mind until something goes wrong or they clean the gutters regularly, well at least once a year. Gutters that aren’t maintained can cause serious problems such as structural damage, stained siding, or leaking ceilings. Gutters, while their main purpose is to channel water away from the foundation, actually do a lot more for you and your home.
Do You Really Need Gutters?
The main function of a gutter system is to channel water away from the foundation. When rainwater is allowed to flow down from the roof directly to the ground, it can cause foundation problems, wash away the soil from around the house, and damage siding. In short, gutters and downspouts protect your home’s exterior from the elements in general and water damage in particular by preventing:
- Water from pooling underneath downspouts
- Water from pooling next to exterior walls
- Water damage to roofing shingles
- Leaking roofs
- Moisture infiltration behind siding panels
As mentioned above, gutters protect your home exterior, including the foundation. Without a gutter system in place, water would pool near the foundation. Water allowed to seep too close to exterior walls can be responsible for cracks in the foundation; flooding in the basement; and shifting that causes doors, entry doors, and windows to stick or warp. Moisture seeping through cracks in a foundation can work its way into interior walls and other dark nooks and crannies where mold can grow.
Improves Curb Appeal
Most people find it hard to believe that a gutter system can be stylish or improve curb appeal. But gutters can do just that if they are selected to match or complement the architectural style or the colour of some or all of the exterior finishing elements of the home. When buying new gutters or replacing them with the specific purpose of improving the overall appearance of your home’s exterior choose one or combination of:
- Seamless gutters
- Copper gutters
- A steel gutter system
- A half-round gutter profile
Maintaining the Gutters
A gutter system has a tough job and it has to do that job 24/7. Maintaining the gutters regularly ensures that they functional optimally through each change of the seasons. Blockages can cause overflowing (landscape erosion), pooling (flooded basement), and standing water (added stress on fascia), types of problems leading to structural issues, mold, and wood rot. When a gutter system is free of debris, rainwater can efficiently run through the system and drain out of the downspouts without doing any harm. Benefits of cleaning the gutters at least twice a year are:
- Protects your home’s exterior from water damage
- Extends the lifespan of the gutter system
- Extends the lifespan of the roof
- Helps prevent expensive repairs to roof, siding, and gutters
- Eliminates places nesting pests can make themselves at home
- Increases your home’s value/resale value
Gutters and your home need to have a solid, ongoing healthy relationship to ensure maximum protection and functionality.