Gutters are an integral piece of your home’s well-being. They serve to control the flow of rainwater to protect your roof, walls, foundation, and landscape.
But when neglected, experts say, gutters can turn from a necessity to a nightmare. A gutter clogged with leaves, sticks, and other debris can cause leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. Professional gutter cleaners would say that gunked-up gutters also make nice homes for pests, rodents, mold, and honeycombs from bee infestations.
As a homeowner, gutter maintenance becomes easy to overlook—especially since it’s not the most fun activity for an afternoon. People tend to procrastinate or forget about cleaning their gutters until it becomes too late.
But, keeping your gutter clean is essential for a safe and long-lasting home. Not doing so can end up leading to significant and costly headaches. While it may be an inconvenience for a couple of hours, the effort is well worth it in the long run.
What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Gutters?
When it comes to gutters, everything can seem fine—until it’s not. When you dismiss caring for your gutter, suddenly, the years add up, and you realize you have a big problem on your hands. Depending on the damage, it may be too late, and you’ll have to replace the gutter altogether. But, all hope is not lost! You can prevent getting to that point by knowing what kind of consequences you might face if you leave this chore unchecked.
When you don’t clean your gutters, the downspout can get clogged from leaves, debris, or any matter that can wind up there. This blockage then leaves standing water to collect and eventually overflow.
Left unattended to, the leaves that clog up your gutter can begin to decompose and eventually rot. In a wet climate, like in the Pacific Northwest, mold will start to grow and thrive, leaving the exterior of your gutter blackened and looking filthy. Even worse, this mold can lead to a slew of health problems if it enters your house, and getting rid of it is expensive and inconvenient.
You might not realize that neglecting your gutters can even lead to replacing your entire roof—which is no small or cheap feat. When you have a clogged gutter, rainwater has nowhere left to go but overflow or soak through your shingles and leak into your home. Your shingles then become softened and significantly damaged, allowing for more leakage from rainfall.
The weight of the rainwater can also cause the gutter to rip and damage your roof. Not only would you have to replace your roof and gutter, but you may have to deal with water damage within your home.
Bugs, Insects, and Pests
When leaves decompose, it starts to attract unwanted tenants like bugs, pests, and other critters. The rotting leaves are a rich and accessible food source that draws in all sorts of pests to your gutter—making them one step closer to entering your home.
Another consequence you might not even realize is that a clogged gutter can lead to destruction to your driveway and yard. When there’s poor drainage, the excess water can pool up and cause mold growth on your driveway. In the winter months, that water could freeze and turn into ice that causing dangerous slips and falls.
While all of these outcomes might terrify you, know that you’re still ahead of the problem. Now that you know what could happen when you neglect gutter maintenance, here you can learn how to spot potential damage.