Remember your gutters? If you're like many homeowners, you might have answered that question with a non-committal shrug. Even though gutters are a prominent feature on just about any home, it's easy to forget about them and the important role that they play in keeping your home dry. Still, do you really need to worry about your gutters as long as you clean them periodically to keep them free of debris?
The answer, of course, is "yes!" Gutters require periodic maintenance and repairs in order to function as intended. So just what can happen if you fail to keep your gutters in tip top shape? Consider these possibilities.
Water is one of the most consistently powerful forces on this planet. A seemingly small crack in your gutter is going to be exposed to the relentless wearing effects of water over days, weeks, or months. It may not seem like this is a problem, but tiny defects will quickly turn into major problems as they are worn down over time by the force of water. Ignoring a small crack can eventually result in a section of your gutter that fails entirely or, worse, allows water to reach your home unnoticed.
Gutter systems are designed to safely direct the flow of water away from areas where it can cause harm to your house. If your gutters are no longer performing this task properly, then it is likely that water may pool in locations that your home's builders never intended. This can result in water damage to vulnerable areas such as the foundation, but water infiltration also creates an environment that is perfect for mold growth. Even worse, water that collects in this way often goes unnoticed for long periods of time, leading to extensive damage that can be very costly to repair.
In extreme cases, your gutter may be allowing water to seep into your home. By the time you are seeing noticeable amounts of water pooling in your home's interior, it is likely that a gutter has already completely failed. The most common cause of this problem is water that has managed to seep behind the gutter itself either because there is no drip-edge flashing or because the flashing has been damaged or improperly installed. Water infiltration can also occur if gutters are damaged during a storm, but usually damage of this magnitude is easy to spot and address.
Gutters most commonly overflow because they need cleaning, but you may also have problems with overflow if your gutters are damaged and beginning to sag or if the gutters installed on your home are insufficient for the flow of water running through them. Whatever the case, overflow should never be ignored. Water that flows out of gutters is not be directed where it should be and is more likely to find its way into your basement or to do damage to your home's foundation.
For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Mr.Gutter, LLC.