Having your gutters cleaned probably isn’t at the top of your favorite spring and fall activities list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Gutters are designed to catch the rainwater that rolls down your roof so that it doesn’t trickle down the outer walls of your home. Once water is collected in your gutters, it’s redirected to a vertical pipe known as a downspout to safely lead it to a good drainage area.
When your gutters or downspouts become clogged with debris, they can overflow onto your roof, causing damage to both your home and wallet.
A general rule of thumb is to have your gutters cleaned twice per year, usually in the fall and spring. In Portland, this is especially important due to higher-than-average rainfall. If you live in an area surrounded by trees or other foliage, you might even consider cleaning your gutters seasonally.
Your gutters and downspouts are open to the great outdoors, which means they are constantly collecting dead leaves, twigs, bird nests and other debris. If these materials aren’t removed, rainwater won’t be able to pass through. With nowhere else to go, water will flow back onto your roof, leading to a whole host of problems that can be expensive to fix.
Water pooling on your roof is never a good thing. When rainwater doesn’t drain properly, it can cause roof leaks, rot the wood surrounding your gutters and create a breeding ground for moss and insects. All of these problems can cause significant damage to both the interior and exterior of your home, starting with your roof. Roof repairs and replacements are always more expensive than roof cleaning!
Aside from collecting on your roof, rainwater will also sit in your gutters. The extra weight can cause your gutters to crack or even collapse, pulling shingles off your roof as they go. There is also a potential for exterior damage to your home, depending on how and where your gutters fall.
As dead leaves decompose inside your gutters, the water becomes filthy, making it ripe for mold growth. Mold is common in the Portland area and can lead to health issues if it gets inside your home. It’s also tough and expensive to remove.
Moisture will build up in your attic as water seeps through your roof’s shingles, giving mildew a chance to grow and thrive. Keeping your gutters free of debris will help prevent water from getting where it doesn’t belong.
The purpose of a downspout is to let water out in a place where it won’t be problematic. When your downspout is clogged, water can pool on your lawn, drowning delicate plants and washing away the topsoil they need to flourish. It can also cause slippery conditions in your yard and on your driveway, posing a safety risk, especially to children and older adults.
The last thing you want to find in your basement after a storm is rainwater. As water runs down the sides of your home due to your clogged gutters, it can seep into any rooms that are at or below ground level, damaging your home and nearby belongings. It can also overflow onto your home’s foundation, leading to cracks and structural damage that can easily cost thousands of dollars to repair.
For birds and rodents, there’s nothing cozier than a warm, moist, dark place where they can unwind – and your clogged downspout and gutters fit the bill. Pooled water is also attractive to insects, and decaying leaves provide the perfect feast for a host of other uninvited guests.
Despite the glamour, gutter cleaning can be a dangerous job. To be able to fully rid your gutters and downspouts of debris, you’ll need access to your home’s roof, either by ladder or by climbing out a window. When height is involved, there’s always a chance of injury.
In Portland especially, the wet climate can make your roof slippery, increasing the risk of falls. Simple, unexpected events like a gust of wind or a swarm of insects can cause you to lose your balance.
Professional roofers are specially trained to reduce the risk of falls – no matter the height or slant of your roof – and they have access to equipment that can help get the job done safer and faster. Plus, gutter cleaning provides the perfect opportunity for a roofing professional to inspect the current condition of your roof and make recommendations for proper roof maintenance. Roof Life offers these inspections at no cost or obligation to you.
Oregon City, OR
Kent and Renita H.
Dide and Jennifer K.