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Ignoring Your Gutters: What Could Go Wrong

When you don't take care of your gutters, they tend to fill up with dirt and leaves. This may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised at how quickly a gutter can get clogged with layers of mud that pour in from your roof! Over time, negligence can pose some serious problems for your roof and gutters. Here are several of the biggest dangers you face when you don't properly maintain your property:

Leaks at the Edge of Your Roof

Gutter components are not designed to overflow. If you get a lot of rain in your area, your gutter system may not be able to cope if no one has been taking care of it. You're likely to experience spillage and leaks around the edge of your roof. This can damage your roof and even cause your gutter brackets to rust (depending on the material used). Over time gutter sections can warp, tilt, sag and show other signs of wear and tear because of these perennial problems.

Gutter guards can help with this, but not all guards are suitable to every climate. Consult a professional before picking out any gutter accessories.

Ice Dams

Do you have ice or snow built up on your roof? Ice, snow and worn, debris-filled gutters are a dangerous combination. Part of the gutter's job in winter is to provide a place for melting ice and snow to drip away from the roof. If your gutter is filled with leaves and dirt, the water cannot escape as easily. When temperatures drop again, the water refreezes. This forms icy patches around your gutters. In addition, this can actually drive moisture back up under your shingles through repeated refreezing, and do serious damage to the edges of your roof. Having a clean gutter system is important when it comes to protecting your rooftop during winter.

Siding Damage

What happens when gutter systems overflow? That water has to go somewhere, and it probably won't be heading to your downspout. If your gutters are crammed with debris and mud, they will fill up faster than intended and that water will start spilling down the sides - straight onto your eaves and siding. In bad rainstorms, your siding gets drenched in water for hours. This can lead to siding damage, discoloration, mildew, and to moisture seeping behind your siding and doing even more internal damage.

Sometimes the result is even worse and gutter water pours onto your foundation, leading to cracks and structural damage over time.

Failed Gutter Problems

Ultimately, worn and poorly maintained gutter sections will fail. Gutters are designed to withstand the weight of water for brief periods - not the weight of ice and debris for long periods of time. Poorly maintained gutter components put too much strain on their brackets and eventually collapse, potentially damaging other parts of your house on the way.

Photo Source: Flickr

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