When you think of crucial areas for home maintenance, gutters may not top your list of priorities. In fact, improper maintenance of your gutters and neglecting the roof of a structure can have far-reaching implications in terms of structural integrity and building safety. Clogged, damaged or aging gutters can cause water to quietly compromise your home, damage your roof and potentially cause standing water issues, which affect the stability of decking and balconies.
Evaluation: The First Step of Gutter Maintenance
A visual evaluation of the gutters on your property can help you to spot potential issues before they become costly, damaging problems. Assessing the condition of your gutters accurately will require you to have a basic idea of signs to look for.
- Breaks in Gutters – Visually check the gutters around your building for any signs of breakage or cracking. Make a point of paying special attention to joints and corners, which can be common problem areas.
- Determine the capacity and appropriate design – In order to direct water away from the foundation of your home, the gutters must be of an appropriate length and have sufficient downpipes to relieve the gutters of the water they are collecting. If your gutters aren’t able to successfully divert water away from your home, they may contribute to foundation damage in the future.
- Check for Blockages and Clogs – Even if they’re in otherwise great condition, your gutters will not perform as intended if they’re blocked or clogged. Leaves, storm debris and other organic material can become lodged in the curves of gutter pipes. Roofing materials which have come loose from the roof may also prevent the proper flow of rainwater through gutters.
How Gutter Maintenance Can Affect Your Roof
Roof repairs can be quite expensive, which is why most homeowners would rather avoid their necessity if at all possible. While you know how much damage a falling tree limb or other heavy debris can do to your home, a strong storm isn’t the only source of potential roof damage. Neglecting to complete basic gutter maintenance can lead to moisture issues which can cut short the life of your gutters or damage your home’s foundation and walls. It can also present the risk of roof damage.
When gutters are filled with damp, heavy organic material, they can begin to damage a roof directly by tearing away from the edge to which it is attached. Standing water can eventually begin to compromise roofing materials, as well as creating the perfect environment for mosquitoes to breed. Protecting your roof from damage requires you to be mindful of potential gutter malfunctions and clogs, as inoperable gutters can often lead to serious roofing issues.
Because the signs of roof and gutter damage aren’t always obvious to the untrained eye, it’s wise to schedule routine evaluations of your property by a professional building inspector. These trained professionals can help you to find areas of potential risk before they become expensive damages, and to ascertain the level of existing damage before it’s exacerbated by the elements. Protecting the roof, foundation and structural integrity of your home is one of the best and most effective ways of guarding your investment, ensuring your home or business is a safe, sound structure for years to come.
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