Cleaning the gutters is one of those chores many people really hate. It involves getting up a ladder, and feeling around for all kinds of gross stuff that has made its way into your guttering. It also mainly needs to be done at the least pleasant times of the year to be doing outside home maintenance! So you may be wondering, what if I just left it for a while? What is the worst that could happen? Well, actually clogged gutters can cause a whole host of serious and expensive problems. Here are some of the things that might happen to your home if you neglect gutter maintenance:
One of the most common problems when guttering gets full of junk is that it can simply fail to bear the weight and fall down! The leaves and other rubbish clogging the gutters soaks up water, becoming heavier and heavier until the gutters themselves can’t withstand the load and detach from the house, either fully or in part. This either leaves you needing to reattach guttering or fit entirely new gutters, and that isn’t even to mention the possible cost if they break a window or do some other damage as they fall.
As water no longer has the ability to flow through a clogged gutter and drain away as it should, it looks for other ways to get out. Water always chooses the easiest path to take, so this could be down the side of your house, leaving ugly water marks you’ll have to scrub off, or it could be into the wood itself if you live in a wooden house. This can cause all kinds of rot which can effectively destabilise your home, making for some very costly repairs.
If water makes its way into your wood, your shingles, your roof or even things like your basement (because water seeping out of gutters can find its way into all of these places), it can not only create wetwood rot and damp, but can also cause horrible problems when the temperature hits freezing. If this water turns to ice it can really destroy the foundations of your home and cause a lot of very serious issues.
So What Should You Do?
The easiest way to prevent any of these problems is to either follow a good gutter cleaning regimen that involves scooping out any debris on a regular basis and hosing out the gutters to keep them clean, or fitting a reliable gutter shield that will stop junk falling in there in the first place. A gutter guard can often be the best option if you really dislike cleaning gutters, or simply aren’t able to do it for whatever reason (for instance if you aren’t able to climb a ladder). Another alternative is of course to hire a contractor or handyman to come round and do your gutters for you. If you do this though, make sure the person you choose is insured – if they fall from the ladder and get injured you don’t want to find yourself paying compensation!