Some people think of gutters as merely a convenience or home feature that is nice to have but not really necessary. However, the truth is that gutters are a necessity if you want to protect your substantial investment in a house.
Even more so, well-functioning gutters are critical for guarding the well-being of your home and its occupants. Broken, old gutters can do more harm than having none at all, in fact. Below are six destructive problems caused by defective gutters.
If your gutters are worn, failing, and are unable to adequately drain water, these home features may still serve a role as a haven for a variety of pests. Clogged, broken gutters that can’t move water may prove to be a cozy place for mice and squirrels, for example, to build a nest.
Alternatively, gutters that remain perpetually plugged and hold standing water provide a convenient nursery for mosquito larvae. Pests are one reason why keeping gutters clean and free-flowing is important.
A serious problem that occurs in northern climates that experience significant snowfall, ice damming occurs whenever a cycle of melting and refreezing permits water to seep into the roof underlayment and decking.
Ice damming is exasperated if gutters aren’t functioning, as snow and ice will accumulate and build a berm that allows more water to collect. If the problem isn’t addressed, ice damming can cause thousands of dollars of damage to a home’s roof, attic, and other interior components. Replacing a non-functional gutter system is an important step to take in preventing ice damming.
If your home has a basement, then having functional gutters is essential for preventing flooding. Water that accumulates around the exterior of your basement will eventually find its way through the walls and into your home.
A sump pump can help control some water intrusion, but these devices will not substitute for effective above-the-ground measures that direct water away from your home. A big part of basement flooding prevention is having working gutters in place, directing water into drains that empty away from your home.
Fascia Rotting and Ripping
Fascias are the boards that line the sides of the eaves of your home, and gutters are usually directly attached to them for support. If gutters don’t drain water properly or become clogged with debris, this extra weight can apply downward pressure on the fascia boards.
This overload will cause fascia splitting and pull the boards away from the rest of the home. Likewise, if water continually overflows gutters, then it will keep the fascias wet and eventually cause rotting of the wood.
Another problem caused by inoperable gutters is destruction of landscaping. As water overflows the sides of gutters or leaks through splits or holes, then this liquid will erode the soil base underneath shrubs.
Landscaping can be replaced, but the constant action of flowing water will undo homeowner efforts and require expensive rehabilitation. Properly functioning gutters will direct water toward centralized drain points and control the flow of water so as to prevent erosion.
A long-term problem of having nonfunctional gutters is its negative effect on the value of a home. When all the problems caused by leaking, dripping, or clogged gutters are considered as a whole, it becomes apparent they lessen the ability of owners to sell a home for its true value.
Many of the effects caused by gutter problems are readily visible to would-be buyers. Gutter damage is a big negative and may be impossible to overcome without a lot of investment in remodeling a home.
If you are experiencing any of these problems, or you are concerned about the viability of your gutters and their overall state of repair, then contact a qualified gutter installation professional for help. They can evaluate your gutters and provide advice about repairs or replacements.