rain gutters filled with leavesWe talk a lot about gutter cleaning, but many still find themselves wondering why they should bother with it. Some homeowners would rather leave the gutters alone until the debris is visible or until they actually see a problem. This could simply come down to the old expression “out of sight, out of mind”. Gutters do sit on the edges of your roof, and it is easy to forget about them until there is a problem.

However, neglecting your gutters is a huge mistake that could cost you a small fortune. Remember that simple, preventative maintenance is cheap, but repair is expensive. Here is a listing of some of the damage that could result if you neglect to clean your gutters.

Foundation Damage

The primary purpose of your gutters is redirecting water away from your home’s foundation. Without the gutter system, water will pool around the foundation and seep into the ground. This water can, over time, erode the foundation and find its way into cracks and other imperfections in your home. When cold weather comes in and freezes the water, this causes ice to form, expanding the cracks slightly, and when the water melts in winter it leaves that space behind.

The process, repeated over years, can result in severe damage. This is one of the major reasons gutters exist in the first place. Neglecting your gutters can thus cause significant loss and harm to a long-term investment: your home.

Landscape Damage

If you are like many homeowners, you have invested significant time and resources into making your home beautiful. Flower gardens positioned just below your windows, beautifully manicured hedges, not to mention a well-trimmed lawn. Periodic rains are, of course, good for maintaining this natural beauty you have striven to cultivate. However, imagine the damage that overflowing gutters can cause to that. As water comes down in torrents over the edge of your gutter, it may pool in areas close to your home. This could result in your plants drowning, adding in the costs of replacement, not to mention aesthetic damage. While your plants might enjoy the occasional rain storm, it is unlikely they were meant to be placed under a waterfall.

Collapsing Gutters

collapsed gutters on two story homeRemember that water is heavy. You’ve likely taken note of this yourself if you’ve ever left an open garbage bin out in the rain. What was once a light can filled with stuff you have no use for starts to feel like a massive burden that you have to tip over and empty in order to move around. Water in gutters acts the same way. While the occasional baseball or leaves will not weigh down gutters too much, and when functioning properly they are unlikely to be weighed down, when they do clog that water fills up. This extra weight begins to strain as the gutters find themselves with a greater load than they were originally designed to handle.

If you leave the water to sit for too long, the weight can eventually cause your gutters to collapse. This becomes even more probable when you consider that gutters are typically nailed to wooden fascia boards. Wood rots when exposed to moisture, and rotting wood is weaker than healthy wood. In addition to the costs of having to replace the gutters, you may also find yourself having to repair the wood, costing you thousands of dollars in damages.

Conclusion

Ultimately, gutters are not a part of your house to be neglected. They serve a valuable function, which is why they are such a common fixture on houses all over the nation. Regular maintenance will only cost you a few hundred dollars per year at the most, but gutter and home repair could cost you several thousand dollars all at once. Do not let yourself fall victim to this damage, and instead endeavor to have your gutters cleaned on a regular basis.