Some homeowners take a look at their uncleaned gutters and think, “What’s the big deal? A little gutter debris never hurt anybody. Unless my gutters are falling off my home, why should I worry about it?”
Here are the facts: uncleaned gutters can wreak a lot of havoc well before they come tumbling down. Here’s what can happen if ignore gutter cleaning. After you read this, you’ll be climbing up your ladder or picking up the phone and calling someone to address the problem.
Problem #1: Rotting fascia boards. If water begins standing inside a gutter, it may overflow the inner edge and begin seeping into the fascia boards of the house. Then when the gutters finally do fall, you’ll have to replace both your fascia boards and your gutters.
Problem #2: Broken fascia boards or soffits. Clogged gutters are heavier, which places more stress on the soffits or fascia boards to which they are attached. It’s not uncommon for gutters to remain attached to the wood – but then pull the wood down with them when they succumb to the excess weight.
Problem #3: Algae or moss formation. Leaves, twigs, and other debris that sit in a gutter for a long time can lead to the development of moss or algae. This, in turn, can damage shingles, fascia boards, and other places where wood is present.
Problem #4: Insect or rodent infestations. Any area where standing water accumulates is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and other nagging insects. An abundance of debris will attract squatting rodents and other critters which may eventually decide to explore the interior of your home.
Problem #5: Leaks. When the water standing in your gutters freezes due to cold weather, it expands the gaps between your shingles and your roof. Then, when it thaws, there’s a convenient gap for water to flow into the home’s interior and damage walls and ceilings.
Problem #6: Landscaping destruction. Remember all that time/effort/money you put into making the landscaping around your home beautiful? Clogged gutters will push runoff water over the edges of your gutters and ruin your meticulously-landscaped areas.
Problem #7: Slippery ice formation. If there’s just a cement sidewalk or a wooden deck below your gutters, the overflowing water will drip or trickle onto those surfaces. Then, when the next freeze hits, you’ll have a thin layer of ice around your home just waiting for someone to slip on.
Problem #8: Flooded basements. Did you know that the single biggest cause of basement flooding is pooled runoff water from clogged gutters? Therefore, in order to eliminate water down in your basement, you should look up to your roofline.
Problem #9: Sagging driveways. If runoff water starts pooling on your driveway, it can create pits or sags in certain spots (which may eventually turn into cracks). These areas can cause everything from trips and falls to stress (or damage) to your cars.
Problem #10: Foundation cracks. This is by far the most costly side effect of clogged gutters. A consistent stream of water flowing down to the sides of your home can cause the foundation to buckle, crack, or shift – and it won’t be easy to repair.