Gutter systems are the unsung heroes of a home. They keep your home’s foundation intact, prevent your basement from flooding, sustain the lifespan of your siding, and so much more. A reliable gutter system should collect and direct water away from your house, protecting the structure of your home and the features surrounding it. Not all homes need a gutter system – particularly those in arid climates – but here in the Midwest they are a necessity.
If you haven’t inspected your gutters recently, it may be time to do so. Keeping an eye on the effectiveness of your gutter system now can prevent a major headache in the future.
Keep on reading to learn how important gutter systems truly are and what you can do to ensure they’re performing their best.
What Gutter Systems Do:
1. Prevent Erosion
Assuming your home was built to code, it should be seated on a slight slope in order to help guide runoff to flow away from your home’s foundation. One of the tasks gutters are in charge of is to help keep things flowing in the right direction – away from the house.
If a home doesn’t have gutters, water will begin to situate itself next to the foundation of the house, washing away the soil and causing erosion. Erosion will cause your foundation to settle and when that happens, you will start noticing cracks in your walls, ceiling, chimney, and uneven floors.
2. Protect Landscaping
Many homeowners put a lot of care and effort into creating and maintaining a beautiful landscape surrounding their home. In order to keep your landscaping looking its best, it’s important not to forget the effect guttering can have on your garden.
Soil erosion caused by insufficient, or lack of guttering, can literally wash your garden away. Puddles of water can also form in your garden once erosion has occurred, which can drown the plants you’ve worked so hard to grow.
3. Prevent Basement Flooding
Soil that has been collecting water can become very heavy, very quickly. If water runs off the house instead of through its gutters, the soil around the home will saturate, placing a significant amount of pressure on the foundation. If this continues to occur, basement walls may begin to crack or push inward.
If the foundation walls do crack, this allows water to creep in and flood your basement. Even if only a small amount of water has made it into your basement, bigger problems could be hiding within the walls. Moisture trapped in foundation cracks creates the perfect environment for mold to grow in, which can cause major health issues for you and your family.
4. Protect Siding
With rain comes dirt, leaves, shingle particles, and other types of debris running down the side of your home. Without proper gutter installation, these particles can begin to stain your home’s siding.
Not only does this make your home look unattractive, but it can also cause deeper issues. If water continues to flow down the side of your home instead of diverting towards the gutters, your siding will begin to rot.
Rotted siding allows access for pests and water to make their way into your home, which can cause significant damage to the structural integrity of your home – an extremely expensive and time-consuming issue to fix.
Signs Your Gutters Are Not Properly Installed
There are a few telltale signs that your gutters may need repaired or replaced. Keep an eye out for:
- Sloped roof edges that are missing a gutter system altogether
- Gutters that are holding standing water
- Gutters that are leaking
- Gutters that are not securely fastened to the fascia
- Downspouts that are not securely fastened to the home’s exterior
- Downspouts that are stopped too close to the foundation*
*Downspouts should be diverted a minimum of 3 feet away from a home’s foundation.
Cleaning Your Gutters
The rule of thumb is that gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year – more if you have a multitude of trees surrounding your home. You can either climb up a ladder and clean them yourself, or you can hire a professional company to take care of the job for you. If you decide to tackle the job yourself, make sure you have the right tools available to help make it a little easier.
There are a few ways you can go about cleaning your gutters:
- Use a leaf blower or a hose to blow out any leaves and debris. Make sure to wear goggles and a mask and put on some heavy work gloves.
- Buy a gutter cleaning kit that connects to your leaf blower.
- Use a garden trowel or gutter scoop to clean it out by hand.
It’s best to clean out gutters when leaves are either dry or only slightly damp.
Should You Install Leaf Guards?
Beware the claim of “maintenance-free” leaf guards. While some leaf guard systems are effective, many out on the market can actually create more problems than not having one at all.
Some leaf guards can cause leaves and other debris to build up on the roof, causing damage to the eaves and the roof itself, while some can’t hold up in heavy rain and won’t allow all of the water to flow into the gutter.
If you’re interested in installing leaf guards, ask experienced professionals for their recommendations before you begin.
Types of Guttering Materials
Gutter systems come in a variety of materials including vinyl, sheet metal, and aluminum. Vinyl is the most popular option for those going the DIY route. Aluminum is also a very popular option for homeowners as it comes in a multitude of colors. Sheet metal on the other hand, while incredibly durable, would need to be painted in whatever color it is you want.
Seamless systems are typically made from aluminum, copper, or steel. If you want the assurance of a seamless installation, we highly recommend hiring professionals to install your gutter system for you.
Finding the Right Gutter Specialists
Whether you’re looking for gutter cleaning and repair or new gutter installation, hiring the right company for the job is just as important as the gutter system itself. Experienced professionals should begin by inspecting your gutter system and disclose any concerns that should be addressed, while discussing with you the most effective solution.
Above and Beyond Roofing and Construction is a dependable and experienced company, located in Wichita, Kansas, specializing in gutter systems. We pride ourselves on working with our customers to get them the solution they need.
Give our friendly staff a call to set up your free estimate today!