The gutter system is crucial in preventing water damage to a home or building, but unfortunately, it is also easily overlooked. Gutters are attached just beneath the edges of the roof and are often unnoticed until they get backed up or sag with wear and tear. And, when gutter damage starts, more trouble could follow.
Let’s talk about the importance of gutter cleaning and the possible consequences of neglecting this particular upkeep in your home or property in Washington, DC.
Why Is Gutter Cleaning Important?
Gutters must be clean to be fully functional and live their expected lifespan. Dirty gutters filled with debris, usually fallen leaves and broken twigs from nearby trees, deteriorate quickly and show signs of wear and tear.
Clean gutters do the best job of collecting rainwater flowing from the roof and directing it to the correct drainage or rainwater collection systems. Without gutters, rainwater will fall off a roof’s edges and saturate the ground surrounding the building, turning it muddy and soft.
The Consequences of Dirty Gutters
A muddy lawn or yard is highly inconvenient, but that might be the least of your worries when you have gutter damage.
Let’s take a look at the problems that could stem from neglecting to clean your gutters:
- Low Curb Appeal: Damaged gutters are very easy to spot. They sag, are visibly discolored, and have metal components that are warped out of place. In addition, properties with failing gutter systems often have muddy lawns and doorsteps.
- Foundational Damage: Roof runoffs that don’t drain properly will turn the ground that supports a building’s foundation soft and moist. This is dangerous because the water can seep into the basement or the crawl space underneath the building, making them weak and unstable.
- Backed-up Downspouts: Gutters along the roof’s edge connect to vertical pipes that lead straight to a drain in the ground or a water collection tank. When it rains, the debris collected on the gutters washes away through the downspouts. But if too much dirt has accumulated, the downspouts can become clogged, forcing water to overflow at the top, spill over the gutter channels, and saturate the soil below.
- Frozen Gutters: In winter, ice can form in clogged downspouts and gutter channels. Once winter rolls in, clogged gutter systems will freeze solid; then, once the weather starts warming up again, the ice will melt and cause more damage to the property.
- Roof Damage: The freeze-thaw cycles that wreak havoc in a dirty gutter system will also take a toll on the roof. In winter, the ice will weigh the entire roof system down, causing it to sag and weaken. If the debris remains well into spring and the rainy season, water will back up the roof, causing leaks and other roof damage.
- Water Damage: This follows on the heels of gutter and roof damage. Leaks that start small will get worse if not repaired immediately. If the water penetrating the roof system is substantial, the ceiling, interior walls, and insulation can also sustain some damage.
- Mold: Whenever there is water damage, you always have to look out for mold. Microbial growth can occur within 72 hours of mold spores coming into contact with water. Assuming that spores have made their way inside a building, all it takes is an indoor flood – or in this case, water damage on the ceilings and walls – for mold to flourish.
Any one of these issues are a headache on their own. However, considering it’s rare to have just one issue at any given time because these problems are often the direct result of another, it’s ultimately best to invest time and effort in cleaning your gutters.
Tips for Cleaning Gutters
The first thing you need to clean gutters is a sturdy extension ladder with a stable base that can reach the edge of your roof. Additionally, get someone else to stay on the ground and hold the ladder steady while you go up it. Then, once the ladder is secured against the siding, you can reach the gutter with a small broom and sweep away the leaves, twigs, and dirt. You may even be able to sweep them off with just a gloved hand if the debris is loose and dry.
Alternatively, you can use a leaf blower to reach farther from where you’re standing on the ladder. You can also use other tools, like tongs, a water hose, a power washer, or extendable tools with a hook-shape at the end that allow you to reach into a gutter line with both feet on the ground.
Call Restoration 1 for Damage Prevention and Restoration
Gutters need cleaning at least once or twice a year, usually before and after autumn. It’s a doable job, but if you don’t have the time or tools to do it safely, you can always call a professional cleaning company to do it for you.
If you discover that your gutters already have some damage, and you suspect your roof has some water damage as well, then you’ll need a lot more than cleaning. To prevent the damage from worsening, call a water damage repair and restoration company immediately.
Fortunately, Washington DC residents can call on Restoration 1 for gutter and water damage repairs. Our certified experts are highly trained and insured. We work efficiently to restore your property to its original condition as soon as possible. So if the dirty gutters in your home or property have already caused damage, get in touch with Restoration 1 of Washington DC today.