To steal from Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote: like death and taxes, blocked gutters are inevitable.
No matter where you live, those essential trough-like structures which exist to funnel rainwater away from buildings are a magnet for all kinds of debris.
Sure, we may love to live in a tree-lined avenue but leaves and twigs are going to blow away and guess where they’ll end up? Right! Your gutters.
Damp encourages the growth of moss, so that’s another way your gutters might become blocked.
And while we can’t help but admire the beauty of birds, we might not be too impressed when they dump a load of detritus in our gutters. Or even worse, make a nest there. And they’re not the only beasties that can contribute to a blockage. Bees and wasps and sometimes rats can make their home in that cosy niche between your roof and walls if they are not regularly given a gutter cleaning service.
Leaves are a very common cause of gutters becoming blocked. This is simply because they get blown from the trees and onto your roof. They are often in close proximity to your gutters too so it’s pretty obvious that some of them are going to end up there. This becomes an acute situation in the autumn when wind and rain combine to exacerbate the situation. Basically once leaves have blown into your guttering the wetter they will get and they’ll turn into a kind of mulch that makes them a lot harder to remove. Left long enough and mold might form, or birds will find that squelchy mucky stuff an attractive foundation on which to build a nest.
Unfortunately, moss is attracted to the moist dark environment of your gutter and it can cause serious problems. Moss is formed by spores which are attracted to damp, cool surfaces – especially those not receiving much sunlight. The problem is you may not realise that moss has formed until it’s too late, unless you schedule a regular gutter cleaning service. Moss can increase in density and this can cause nasty blockages. You might think that a downpour would flush out this pesky growth but in fact, as rain accumulates on the mossy mass it becomes harder to remove.
After the perils of autumn, it’s snow you have to worry about when it comes to gutters. When snow falls it can melt on a well-insulated roof, however as this melt slides into the gutter it can freeze again. Icy gutters filled with leaves and moss and bulky ice can become a real problem so a regular gutter service is essential to prevent this.
You might want to go to one of the sources of the problem and ensure that trees close to the property are regularly trimmed.
Gutter guards are another solution for blocking out leaves, debris, and other unwanted gunk. That helps to prevent them from entering the gutter and blocking it up. You can add gutter guards to your current rainwater system and it will help to make your gutters last longer.
This is the simplest and most cost-effective way to ensure gutters don’t cause you problems down the line
The job of your gutter is to funnel away rainwater from the walls of a building hence when there’s any kind of blockage it can cause a whole raft of problems. These include:
Imagine if a cascade of rainwater suddenly has nowhere to go because a gutter is blocked. What will probably happen is it will back up and lap over the gutter and flow onto the external walls. This can cause damp to seep through – a problem which is not easy, or cheap to solve. The situation can get even worse if the water makes its way into the foundations of the building.
A blocked gutter can result in damage to the fascia and if the fascia fails, then water can get behind and begin to increase damp in the roof space. Wooden fascias will also become damaged and potentially rotten in this case, causing the need for a replacement.
Humidity is the culprit when it comes to creating mold and mildew and if spores get into your property, they can lead to patches appearing on walls. Mold reproduce by means of tiny spores. The spores are like seeds, but invisible to the naked eye, that float through the air and deposit on surfaces. When the temperature, moisture, and available nutrient conditions are correct, the spores can form into new mold colonies where they are deposited. Worryingly, mold can produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals.
Accumulated debris is not the only cause of gutter damage, however. Care must be taken when checking and cleaning gutters, as leaning ladders against them can often lead to cracking. This causes leaks, and therefore more possible damage to walls and fittings.
This debris can lead to further issues, as it can dry out and be a fire risk. Blockages will ultimately lead to overflowing gutters which can increase the risk of damage to your walls and roof. Obviously, the best way of ensuring that debris does not gather is to check your guttering as often as practicable, and to make sure that all debris is removed as soon as possible.
Pests such as wasps can make their homes in accumulated debris, and this can lead to difficult and somewhat dangerous situations when it comes to removing nests. Keeping gutters free of debris is the best way of minimising the chances of pests moving in.