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The Importance of Cleaning Your Gutters

We get it, the last thing you need is yet another chore on your to-do list—but this is one task that you simply can’t neglect, especially this time of year when maples and hickories shed their vibrant leaves. Cleaning your gutters can alleviate a lot of problems—chief among them, water damage.

Here are the top 6 reasons to get the gunk out of your gutters.

1. Prevents Clogs

As you already know, gutters are an integral part of your roofing system, collecting rainwater runoff from the roof and diverting it away from the home. Without gutters, your home would vulnerable to costly moisture damage. We’re talking rot, stains, erosion and other serious concerns.

When gutters are packed with debris, they’re basically rendered useless. Clogged gutters cause water to accumulate near a house's foundation, and gradually, the excessive moisture may damage the foundation and water could even seep inside the home.

Cleaning out your gutters at least twice a year -- we recommend spring and fall -- keeps them functioning properly.

2. Eliminates Mold and Fungus

Decaying muck breeds mold and fungus, which can spread to other parts of your roof. After scooping out all the gunk, scrub the insides of the gutters to thoroughly remove grime and mildew. Here’s how:

  • Scrub gutters with a solution of one part bleach and four parts water and a soft-bristle brush.

  • Disconnect the downspouts and clean with an extended gutter brush.

  • Rinse your gutters with a hose.

  • Check your gutters a week later. If the mold has returned, contact a professional.

3. Protects the Basement

If gutters are clogged, excessive rainfall could significantly increase the level of groundwater within the soil. The extra moisture can weaken a home's foundation. Cleaning the gutters ensures water is channeled away from the home, preserving the integrity of the foundation.

4. Prevents Rot

Overflowing gutters can damage surrounding materials, especially the fascia board. That’s the front-facing wood holding the gutters in place. When exposed to too much water, these boards can warp, swell and rot. Likewise, wood siding can stain and deteriorate. Plus, excessive moisture can damage the wooden boards underneath the shingles, and if the wooden boards become soft, water damage can spread to the ceiling inside the home.

5. Keeps Insects and Rodents Away

Critters love to make themselves at home in the leafy interior of the gutters. Neglected gutters also attract honeycombs and swarms of bees and if that doesn’t motivate you to clean your gutters, we don’t know what will.

6. Prevents Ice Dams

Our region is known for the occasional cold snap during the winter. When temperatures drop below freezing, your clogged gutters can freeze. When the heat from your home melts the snow on your roof, frozen gutters won’t divert the water away. This forms ice dams along the eves and edges of your roof, which can cause water to seep into shingles and, eventually, into your attic.


While You’re Up There…

Now that you know what potential catastrophes you're preventing by cleaning your gutters, here’s a few more pointer to keep in mind:

  • Be safe. This should go without saying, but be extremely cautious. For soft soil, place plywood under the ladder to stabilize the legs. Also, make sure the ladder isn’t leaning against the gutters. The weight could cause them to collapse.

  • Examine the condition of your gutters. Note any gaps and make sure they’re pitched toward the downspout.

  • As you’re cleaning out debris, watch for excessive amounts of granules from the shingles. This could mean your roof is due for replacement.

  • Consider installing a gutter guard. The micromesh screen allows water in and keeps large debris out.

For all of your roofing needs, contact Bauer Roofing serving Charleston and surrounding communities. Contact us today at (803) 994-9498.