Your gutters play a critical role when it comes to protecting your home. Drainage systems like gutters do more than keep rainwater from pooling around your home’s foundation. Gutters also help prevent erosion, stop flooding in your basement, protect the siding of your home, and even keep your garden beds safe!
Like every aspect of your home, gutters need to be maintained in order to continue working properly. Taking care of your gutters doesn’t have to be difficult or take much of your time, and it will go a long way towards protecting the investment you’ve made in your home.
How Long Should My Gutters Last?
Many people wonder how long a gutter system is meant to last. The National Association of Homebuilders estimates the average life of steel or aluminum gutters to be around 20 years. Copper gutters can last up to 50 years.
So is it worth trying to maintain or repair your 20+ year old gutters? Or are you better off installing a new system? Don’t jump to conclusions simply because your gutter system is old. Instead, you should examine how well it has held up over the years.
Here are a few warning signs to watch for:
- Bends or dents in your gutter
- The seams of your gutters not connecting
- Large holes or cracks along your gutter
- Rusty spots along your gutter
- Several broken fasteners
- The gutters sagging or pulling away from your roof
- Peeling exterior house paint
If you notice any or all of these physical issues with your gutters, it’s likely time to invest in a new system. Call a trusted gutter installation company for a gutter inspection and evaluation.
The Dangers of Poorly Maintained Gutters
Don’t wait until your gutters are causing problems to start thinking about their maintenance. Failing to take care of your gutters can lead to serious issues and shorten their lifespan.
Take a look at some of the implications not taking care of your gutters can have on the health of your home (and on your gutters):
As mentioned earlier, gutters are meant to divert water off of your roof and away from your home’s foundation. Uncleared blockages in your gutter will cause water to pour over the sides and pool around your home.
If left untreated, this water can cause cracks to form and weaken your foundation. In extreme cases, your foundation can begin to collapse. Pooling water near the base of your home can also cause mold growth, which is hazardous to the health of you and your family.
Wood & Home Exterior Damage
Clogged, water-filled gutters will cause your gutters to become heavy and pull away from the wood fascia it’s attached to. Plus, water overflowing from the gutter will seep into the wood fascia boards, causing it to rot and weaken.
Overflowing gutters can also cause water to fall onto your window frames and doors. Eventually, this extra water can cause these features of your home to warp and weaken.
Long-term gutter issues can cause leaks– either through the foundation into your basement or through the rotted siding of your home. Even if this water doesn’t lead to a full-fledged flood, small amounts of water in your home can cause costly damage.
Gutter Maintenance Tips
Gutters are an investment, but by taking time every year to conduct some simple maintenance you’ll reduce your risk of a serious cosmetic and structural home issue. Plus, you’ll help your gutters last longer. The money you’ll save in the long run is worth it.
Here are some simple tips for maintaining your gutters.
Get Rid of Overhanging Branches
Branches hanging directly over your roof and gutter is just asking for trouble! Take time to trim back tree branches, as these will increase your chance of leaves, twigs, and other debris damaging or clogging your gutter.
Beware of Ice Damage
During the winter months, watch out for ice building up on your gutter and edge of your roof. This can cause an ice dam, which prevents the flow of melted snow to your downspouts.
To prevent this buildup, it can be a good idea to use a snow rake on your roof after a big snowfall or when you notice ice starting to build up. However, be extremely careful as there is the risk of burying yourself in snow or slipping off the roof. It’s always best to consult a professional.
Safely Look for Bees
Bees are known to take up residence in or around your gutters. Often, a bee’s nest will cause a blockage in your gutter system. Especially during the warmer months, keep an eye out for bees swarming around your house, as it’s a sure sign they have a nest nearby. If you notice a nest, call a professional. Attempting to remove the nest yourself can be dangerous.
Repair Cracks or Damage
If you notice any issue with your gutters-– for instance cracks, punctures, or sagging gutters–– repair them immediately! As you know, these issues can lead to bigger problems. Your best bet to repair the damage as soon as you can.
Install Gutter Guards
Blockages are the primary cause of gutter issues. Falling leaves are often the culprit of a gutter block. However, things like branches, moss, and ice can also cause big problems. If you notice a blockage in your gutters, it’s important to clear it immediately.
With all the varying weather we get here in the Pacific Northwest, clearing your gutter can start to become a frequently recurring hassle. Installing a protection system on your gutters is your best option.
Gutter guards will keep debris from finding its way into your gutters and causing all sorts of problems. With this system in place, your gutter maintenance will be reduced to a simple hosing down of your gutters just once a year.
Use a Seamless Gutter System
If your gutters are too far gone to be worth the time and energy it takes you to keep them working correctly, it may be time to install a new system. If so, make sure you choose a seamless gutter system. Seamless gutters eliminate your risk of leaks and makes one less thing you have to worry about.
Take Care of Your Gutters!
Maintaining your gutters doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. In fact, when you have a professionally installed gutter protection system in place, your gutters will require virtually no maintenance.
At Rainbusters Exteriors, we specialize in all gutter replacement or gutter installation projects. We use the highest quality seamless aluminum and copper gutters and gutter guards. Plus, all our work is backed by a lifetime warranty.
To schedule a free, no obligation gutter inspection and replacement estimate, contact us. We’d love to help and you’ll be happy with the results.