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What is the Importance of Cleaning My Gutters?

July 17th, 2023 | 5 min. read

What is the Importance of Cleaning My Gutters?

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Gutters are crucial in controlling where water goes after it leaves your roof. Well, there’s nowhere for it to go when your gutters are full of debris and blockages. 

You may think “What’s the worst that can happen?”. The answer reveals itself once you get a large home repair bill. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has taken pride in helping homeowners avoid spending thousands of dollars on preventable home repairs. Because of this, I’ll break down the importance of gutter cleaning and what happens if you neglect it. 

This article answers the following questions:

  • What is the importance of cleaning your gutters?
  • Should you clean your own gutters?
  • How often should your gutters be cleaned out?

What is the importance of cleaning your gutters?

As I said, leaving your gutters full of debris leads to problems that can cost a pretty penny to fix. The last thing you want is to spend thousands of dollars on a problem that a simple gutter cleaning would’ve prevented. 

Below are the three big problems that come with not cleaning your gutters.  

Water overflowing the sides of your gutters

The first thing you have to worry about is water overflowing the sides of gutters. This washes out the areas around your foundation over time, which eventually causes cracks. 

Foundation repairs are expensive, which only get more expensive the longer water is allowed to overflow. Overflowing water also stains the walls where the water keeps overflowing. 

While this is an aesthetic issue, you’ll need to repaint or power wash the stains. But this may not be a big deal if you’re in your forever home. 

The sitting debris in your gutters

The next thing you have to worry about is the actual debris setting in your gutters. Obviously, sitting debris doesn’t allow water to flow correctly and leads to overflowing. 

However, the debris itself also causes problems. Because the debris is built up, it never dries out completely. 

This creates a great place for mold/mildew to thrive, which can lead to health problems when the mold spreads as the water continues to overflow. There’s also the issue of the weight of the debris itself. 

gutter pulling away from home

If the gutters have too much debris, they can actually pull away from your home because the weight becomes too much for the fasteners. This creates a gap for water to saturate your exterior walls and enter the interior of your home. 

gutter pulling away from home

If left unattended for too long, the gutters will eventually pull completely away, which is a very expensive repair.

Water getting behind your gutters

The last thing you have to worry about is water getting behind your gutters. When water gets sent behind your gutters, it rots the soffit, the edges of your roof decking, the wood around your windows, and leaks into your interior walls. 

rotten decking at the gutter line(Example of rotten decking at gutter line)

This not only leads to health concerns and eventual structural damage, but the moisture also attracts termites and other insects. At the end of the day, leaving your gutters full eventually leads to completely avoidable problems. 

While these issues won’t happen overnight, leaving your gutters full of debris for prolonged periods of time will lead to expensive repairs down the road. 

Should you clean your own gutters? 

At this point, you understand the importance of getting your gutters clean. But before running into the garage to grab a ladder, ask yourself, “Should I clean my gutters or hire someone?”

I recommend hiring a professional roofing or gutter company for gutter cleanings. Look, I fully understand wanting to save money by doing it yourself. 

However, you're taking on a huge physical risk anytime you climb a ladder. Leave it to a professional if you aren’t 100% comfortable being on a ladder.

But at the end of the day, it’s fully your decision to make. So, make sure your ladder is safe and fully functioning if you plan to clean your gutters. 

Check the ladder rungs for cracks, and only place the ladder on a firm and level surface. Most importantly, DO NOT place it against the gutters because your weight will damage them.

Please, keep all this in mind if you’re serious about cleaning out your gutters. But if you’re not 100% confident you can do it safely, just call a professional. 

How often should your gutters be cleaned out?

Whether you decide to hire a pro or do it yourself, your gutters should get cleaned out at least once or twice a year. The best time for a gutter cleaning is in the fall, after all the leaves have fallen for the season.

However, getting them cleaned out in the late spring/early summer to prepare them for fall is also a good idea. That’s why I recommend cleaning them out twice a year to go with the changing seasons. 

Just like cleaning them yourself, it’s ultimately up to you to determine how often. The important thing is not to let them get full to the point that it damages your roof and home. 

Is cleaning out your gutters part of roof maintenance?

Now you know how important cleaning your gutters is, if you should do it yourself, and how often they should be cleaned. Remember, you should never try to clean your own gutters if you aren’t 100% comfortable on a ladder or dealing with heights. 

While I always recommend hiring a professional, that's a personal choice for every homeowner. But did you know that gutter cleaning is a crucial part of roof maintenance? 

In fact, a roof maintenance program is a great way to stay on top of your gutter cleanings before any of the mentioned problems can start. However, it offers much more than just gutter cleanings. 

That’s why you need to know the importance of getting your roof on a maintenance program. 

Check out 4 Reasons You Need a Roof Maintenance Program to learn what getting on a routine maintenance plan offers you and your roof.

roofing contractor questions checklist

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