Have you noticed water dribbling down the side of your house and puddles near your foundation? While it may seem like it, these problems don’t just come out of nowhere. These and other home damage issues can have many causes, but a major culprit is clogged gutters. Unfortunately, gutters tend to be an afterthought for homeowners when it comes to maintenance and upkeep projects. But these essential fixtures have a lot of sway over the health and safety of your home. Gutters that are not regularly cleaned and maintained can clog with various debris and not be able to collect or drain water properly. Water will overflow from the gutters and fall directly next to your home’s foundation. From there, many problems can form, fester, and wreak havoc on your home.
Read on to learn more about the common cause of gutter problems, what you can do about it, and how the professional team at AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists can help you protect your home.
What Can Clog Your Gutters
Your gutters are hung on the fascia board just below your roof. Because of their location, gutters can collect more than just water, especially if there are tall trees in close proximity to your house. Here are some of the nuisances that can clog gutters:
Nearby trees are responsible for the majority of clogs in gutters. Especially with the change of season from summer to fall, leaves can easily collect in gutters. During strong storms and wind events, twigs and pine needles can be blown into the gutters, as well. Plants could even start to sprout in the gutters with the right amount of dirt, debris, and seeds.
Animals and pests including birds, squirrels, and bugs may be drawn to your home’s gutters, especially if they contain the aforementioned debris and have easy access to them. Pests can scamper across gutters, build nests, and leave droppings behind. None of these activities is healthy or safe for your gutters or home.
Dirt, dust, and even pollen can collect inside and stain your gutters. If your roof sustains significant damage or was not installed properly, materials such as screws, shingles, tar, and caulk can fall into the gutter trough and lead to blockages and other damage.
How Clogged Gutters Can Damage Your Home
The purpose of gutters and downspouts is to collect excess rainwater and snowmelt and direct it away from your home’s foundation. This is crucial, especially in areas like Chattanooga that experience a lot of rain and flooding events. If either of these pieces is clogged or otherwise damaged, your home can suffer significant damage as well, including the following:
- Gutter and Downspout Failure – Your gutters could become heavy with significant clogs, causing them to sag, detach from the house, and affect the alignment with the gutters. They could fail, detach completely, and need to be replaced.
- Foundation Damage – If water cannot properly collect in the gutters or drain from the downspouts, more than likely it will spill over and down the side of your home or directly onto or near your foundation. Even though Chattanooga’s soil is generally well-drained silty loam, too much water in the soil can lead to excessive hydrostatic pressure being forced on the foundation. Foundation walls can start to crack and bow inward, floors can crack and heave, and other areas of your home could have drywall nail pops, sticking windows and doors, and uneven floors.
- Basement Leaks and Flooding – As noted above, excessive hydrostatic pressure from overly saturated soil can cause foundation walls to crack and bow. This also can let water inside the basement in the form of seemingly minor leaks or significant flooding. Any water that finds its way inside your basement is bad, as it can lead to increased humidity, mold and mildew growth, attract pests, and damage any stored possessions. This is extremely unhealthy and unsafe for you and your family.
- Attic Leaks and Damage – Just as water from the gutters can impact your basement, it also could leak inside your attic. If there are any cracks or holes around this area atop your home, problematic gutters can dump water inside and lead to similar damage. The humidity in the attic can increase, mold can form on various materials including insulation, and any stored items can sustain significant damage.
Having a reliable gutter system is crucial, but it’s also important to make sure the gutters stay clog-free to work their best. This is particularly important for areas like Chattanooga that see a lot of rain throughout the year. Fixtures such as gutter guards and leaf filters go a long way to protect these essential water management systems, as do the many gutter solutions offered by AFS. But the most important piece of the puzzle is regular gutter cleaning and maintenance.
A good rule of thumb to follow is a twice-yearly cleaning and inspection schedule, usually in the spring and fall. These are times when gutters are most likely to clog due to budding or falling leaves. It might feel like a daunting task, but it is important, nonetheless. If you are not keen on climbing ladders to reach your gutters, don’t hesitate to contact professionals for cleaning and inspection.
Address Your Gutter Concerns with Professional Assistance from AFS
Clogged gutters are hazardous to your home and its safety. Keeping them clean and in good working order is the key to proper water management and foundation protection.
If you notice your gutters are clogged, there is water spilling over and pooling near your foundation, don’t hesitate to seek the help of experienced professionals right away. Our expert team at AFS will inspect your home – including your gutters, foundation, and other areas – to determine any underlying or potential problems and their causes. They will also present you with a written estimate of tailor-made solutions for your home. Contact us today to get started and schedule your free inspection and no-obligation quote.