FIXME Plumbing > News & Blog > Factors that Affect the Longevity of a Roof and the Best Way to Keep Gutters Clean
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rain and roof gutter

Factors that Affect the Longevity of a Roof and the Best Way to Keep Gutters Clean

Any part of the house that is located beyond the ceiling or in the basement usually suffers from homeowner’s neglect. The roof gutter, in particular, does not get as much attention as the windows, walls, and other accessible parts of the house, when in fact it sustains just as much or even greater damage from the elements. As a result, we only take action to maintain or repair our roof gutter when the damage is already beyond simple repair.


What’s the purpose of the gutter?

One of the reasons why most homeowners take their roof gutter for granted is because they are not aware of what it does and what natural forces and elements it deals with. So to figure out how to keep the gutter in tiptop shape all the time, it is best to first understand its functions.

The roof gutter is the roof’s drainage system. It coveys rainwater from the roof down to an area on the ground where it cannot harm other structural elements of the house. Normally, the water is carried through a downspout, which connects the main gutter element to the catch basin. The catch basin filters out debris that might clog the sewer where the water finally combines with the community’s drainage.


Common Types of Damage on Gutter

Considering the function and location of the roof gutter, you’ll have an idea what types of damage it can sustain during normal days and during bad weather. Here are some of the common types of damage you might find in your roof gutter after failing to maintain it for a long time.

  • Clog

    – Just like the drainage system in your home, which can become clogged when stuffed with objects or substances that require other means of disposal, your roof gutter can also get clogged. Dust and debris that accumulate on the roof’s surface can get stuck in the gutter when there’s not enough water flow to drain them into the downspout. This is why keeping your gutters clean is extremely important.

  • Rust

    – Most roof gutters today are made of galvanized steel. It’s a type of steel that was soaked in melted zinc or any other non-ferrous metal to protect its surface from corrosion. As time goes by, however, this protective coating wears off, consequently exposing the steel. We all know that steel is made of iron and carbon. While carbon helps prevent iron from combining with oxygen to form rust, it is only in minute quantity and cannot make steel totally resistant to rust. Soon rust will form and slowly eat away the steel roof gutter until holes and cracks appear.

  • Sag or Displacement

    – Depending on your home’s architecture, your gutter system may consist of several segments of gutter, each of which is connected to the other by a connector. Although these connectors are made to last, they are not invulnerable to extreme weather conditions. Strong wind or falling tree branches can cause them to sag or disconnect, directing the water flow away from the downspout and onto the wall or other vital structural elements in your house.


Effects of a Damaged Gutter

Any form of major damage to the roof gutter must not be underestimated. If it fails to do its job, that water can freely seep into your house and wreak havoc in its path. Here are some of the bad effects of unattended damage to the gutter system.

  • Roof Damage

    – If the gutter is clogged, water will be trapped in it and form a dam. Depending on the amount of debris that’s trapping the water, the dam can be high enough to cause water to back up into the roof. This can cause major water damage to the decking and other essential roofing materials.

  • Fascia Damage

    – The gutter is usually concealed behind a fascia board, which is basically an architectural element. Water spilling or leaking from the gutter can soften the fascia board, causing it to slowly crack or disintegrate.

  • Foundation Cracking

    – One of the main reasons why all building are designed with a gutter system is that the water falling from the roof has enough power to saturate the soil around your house, which happens to be the only thing that holds your house’s footing together. If you let this continue, the soil won’t be able to keep your home stable. The footing might shift and cause major structural damage to your home.


How to Maintain Your Gutter

Apart from regular inspection and repair, there are other ways you can ensure the longevity and durability of your roof gutter. For instance, if your house is surrounded by large trees, cutting the branches that grow or stretch close to your roof can help prevent any damage to the gutter when a storm strikes.

Removing dead leaves, twigs, and other kinds of debris is also crucial in preserving the shape and stability of your roof gutter. If you can’t commit to a regular gutter cleaning, consider installing a gutter guard instead. This is the best way to keep gutters clean. The gutter guard functions as a filter that only allows water and materials that won’t clog the downspout in.

Other tips to keep your gutters clean include choosing the right roofing materials. While asphalt roofing is a great choice, it has its fair share of drawbacks, of which the most worrisome is its susceptibility to shedding its granules. In large quantities, these granules can potentially clog the gutter system. Then again, the only way to avoid this without having to shift to a different material is to make sure the asphalt shingles are of the highest quality.

Make sure that the gutter is well taken care of by partnering with a trusted plumbing company like FIXME Plumbing in maintaining your gutter. They can even help you fix other plumbing issues that may have been affecting your family’s comfort and lifestyle for a while now.

Author: FIXME Plumbing