Your roof is sloped so that water from your roof will run off into your eavestroughs. Then, your eavestroughs divert the water away from your home’s foundation.
When your eavestroughs are clogged, however, water can build up inside them and begin to touch your roof. In the worst case scenarios, water will actually start to back up onto your roof. Slowly, this will cause the wood of your roof to rot. Things can get particularly bad after periods of heavy rain.
That rot will, in turn, cause leaks, and those leaks can get so bad that you may need to get your entire roof replaced.
There’s another problem with clogged gutters - they can lead to ice dams. As snow melts on your roof, it should enter your gutters and flow away from your foundation. When that’s not possible, however, the water will end up on your roof (or in your gutters) and freeze.
Ice will weigh down your gutters - this can eventually cause them to tear off. That can lead to serious damage to your roof.
Damage to foundation
As we mentioned in the last section, eavestroughs are there to divert rainfall away from your foundation.
When they’re clogged, they can’t do this.
Liquids take up as much space as they can. When your eavestroughs are working properly, they take the path of least resistance, down the eavestrough, through the downspout, and away from your foundation.
But when your eavestroughs are clogged, the path of least resistance is often up and over - leading to water splashing out of the eavestroughs and toward your home’s foundation. This water will then pool, especially during heavy rainfall.
The consequences of this can be severe. The water can begin to erode your foundation, causing cracks and instability. Basement flooding is another very real possibility, as the water that pools enters cracks and begins to flow into your home.
That means cleaning your gutter system - downspouts and all - is essential to preserving the integrity of your home’s structure.
They can cause rotting wood
Rotting wood is a serious problem - and unfortunately, the areas directly around your eavestroughs are often made of wood.
The fascia, which holds the gutter, is often made of wood. When water accumulates on the fascia, it can start to rot. That’s a bad enough problem on its own - but things get even worse.
Rot compromises the structural integrity of the fascia. That means it loses strength. And because it’s holding your gutters, they can begin to tear off - causing even more serious damage.
The problems with clogged gutters and rotting wood don’t end there. The sidings of homes are also often made of wood. While you should be making an effort to waterproof and seal wood sidings, a constant deluge of water from clogged gutters can ruin those efforts.
Rotted siding can lead to leaks into your home - and those don’t look good at all.
Damage from insects and animals
Animals need food, water, and shelter to survive.
For many unwanted pests, clogged gutters check all of those boxes.
Insects love clogged gutters. Termites can live in the twigs and leaves that accumulate in your gutters - then make short work of the wood in your house. Mosquitoes, the most feared insects in Canada, need stagnant water to breed.
And the problems don’t stop there. Birds may use the material in your clogged gutter to make nests - right in the gutter. That adds a lot of weight to the gutter, clogs it further, and can lead to birds finding a way into your attic to roost.
How frequently should they be cleaned?
At a minimum, your gutters should be cleaned at least once a year. If you’re following this rule, you should get your gutters cleaned in the fall - falling leaves and fruits can accumulate pretty quickly.
Many homeowners find that it’s better to clean their gutters twice a year - once in autumn, to deal with an accumulation of leaves and fruits from the summer and fall seasons, and once in the spring, to catch any debris and rot that may have accumulated over the winter.
In truth, there’s no one answer to how often your gutters should be cleaned. Realistically, it depends on a number of factors: how many trees you have near your property, how your gutter system was designed, and how much debris from the surrounding area ends up on your roof or in your gutters.
If you see that your gutters are clogged, and that water is spilling over, you should clean them right away.
Clogged gutters can cause serious damage to your home. Pests will use your gutters as their home. You risk seeing damage to your foundation, roof, and sidings - basically, your home’s entire exterior.
But cleaning gutters is not a pleasant job. And it can be dangerous, if you’re not accustomed to working on a ladder. Further still, it’s a job that needs to be done right - if you miss cleaning out a few key spots, leaves, rot, and debris will start accumulating quickly again, as they can’t be washed out.
The solution? Give us a call. We’re experts at Calgary eavestrough cleaning and repair. We’ll get rid of any clogs, repair any damage that might be contributing to the clogs (such as improper gutter slope), and ensure that there’s been no damage to your roof.