Gutters aren't usually the first thing on homeowners' minds when they think of a way to improve their living space. They're somewhat out of sight, and if they do their job, we don't think about them all that much. However, today's trend-savvy homeowners realize gutters can be an interesting visual accent. Besides their decorative potential, gutters perform essential home maintenance functions. They keep water away from the home itself, preventing damage. Downspouts guide this water away from the foundation of your home.
If you haven't shopped for gutters before, you'll be amazed at the decorative options which are available today. The trendiest homes incorporate decorative accents into unexpected places, giving a fresh and modern appeal to even the most traditional decor. Decorative gutters, and downspouts, splash guards, and other related products offer an excellent opportunity to beautify and maintain your home at the same time. They also allow you to add more downspouts and channels without taking away from the visual appeal of your home's exterior. This can reduce the danger of overflowing gutters during heavy rains or snow melts, which helps maintain the integrity of your home's structure and foundation.
Your home's gutters perform a critical function. Water damage isn't just annoying; it can be extremely costly to repair. Often, you don't notice or see water damage until it has become extensive. By the time a leak drips water inside your house, there is a lot of damage done to the roof. Likewise, by the time you see water in your basement, the foundation of your home has either cracked or become saturated. These situations mean big repair bills. In extreme cases, water damage can lead to the need for a new roof. The type of damage they help to prevent is exactly why placing gutters and downspouts is so important. When placed in the proper areas and at the right angles, gutters carry potentially damaging water safely away from your home.
To keep your gutters functioning properly, it's important to clean them out regularly. There are special brushes and pushers designed for this purpose, with angled heads and very long, telescoping handles. These tools allow you to clean your gutters without the hassle of climbing and balancing on a ladder.
Gutter covers are a popular addition that can reduce or even eliminate the need to regularly sweep out your gutters. These mesh attachments sit on top of the gutter, keeping leaves, twigs, and other debris out while still allowing water to flow freely. Keep in mind that the accumulation of debris will still need to be swept off at least a few times per year.
Cleaning your gutters or keeping them clean with covers, is essential. If gutters become clogged with leaves (which can happen almost overnight), they can't drain off water properly. This causes leaks. When leaves are clogging a gutter, water backs up at the clog. Eventually, that water will seep into your roof or walls. Over time, that water damage leads to cracks, interior leaks, and costly repair bills.
Replacing, Repairing, and Installation
Over time, gutters can become damaged by many things. Ice dams (caused by melting snow which re-freezes) can cause the gutters to sag if they are too large and heavy, which is usually irreversible. This requires replacement because if the gutter's angle is not correct, water will not flow properly. The same damage can be done by clogs formed by leaves and other debris.
Occasionally, a gutter will rust through at the site of a clog. This can be rather easily repaired using a patch kit. Patch kits are available at most home improvement and hardware stores.
Downspouts are often damaged and dented by hail. If the dent is deep enough, it can cause water backup and damage. Dents can also be caused by careless drivers if the downspout is close to a driveway, or by children playing with bats or sticks. These dents usually require replacement.
If you own an older home, you may have several holes, leaks, and dents in your gutters. If this is the case, a full replacement may be less expensive than repairing and replacing each issue individually. It also gives you a chance to outfit your home with gutters made from more weather-resistant materials, which are more durable and will last longer before needing repair or replacement.
Small repair jobs are usually simply DIY projects. However, a larger-scale replacement often benefits from a professional touch. The amount of climbing alone is enough to influence many homeowners to hire a professional, since balancing high in the air while installing a gutter can be a difficult and nerve-wracking experience.
If you decide to let a professional handle your gutter installation or replacement, contact us at APD Roofing, a certified, licensed and insured roofing company. So once you've narrowed your list, call us and we’ll discuss your project and help you avoid costly delays once work has begun. Remember that outdoor work is at the mercy of the weather.
Lead Claims Consultant, IICRC Certified
APD Roofing Houston