what happens if you dont clean your gutters

What Happens If You Never Clean Your Gutters?

Getting outside and cleaning the gutters isn’t a job most people look forward to doing. It’s dirty, time-consuming, and potentially hazardous. So, it’s no wonder so many people just put it off season after season.

It’s tempting to just not clean the gutters and let them accumulate debris. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? Surely there’s no real harm in letting another month or two pass, right?

The reality is that there is substantial damage that can be caused to your home or property if you neglect gutter cleaning for too long. In this article, the roofing professionals at A-to-Z Roofing & Exteriors will explain the many consequences that can happen when gutters become overwhelmed with leaves, twigs, dirt, and other organic material.

#1: Ground-Level Flooding

Your roof and gutters work together as a system to effectively move rainwater and snowmelt away from you home. Your gutters act as a kind of ‘highway’, and when the traffic gets backed up on this highway, bad things can happen! One of the costliest kinds of damage that can result from backed up gutters is ground-level flooding.

When gutters get backed up, the water ends up draining down the sides of the building instead of through the downspouts. Over time, this water will pool around the perimeter of the building and seep inside. This can cause extensive damage to the structural components of your home including the foundation, trusses, floorboards, and more.

#2: Cracking and Splitting Concrete

A well-designed gutter and downspout system allows water to flow away from large slabs of concrete. This is intentional, as standing water around your driveway or walkways can infiltrate the supporting earth below. When this happens, unnatural expansion and contraction occur, creating shear forces that, over time, will split and crack concrete.

Fixing damaged concrete is very expensive. It involves the use of mudjacking or polyfoam injection equipment or complete removal and re-pouring of the concrete slab themselves.

#3: Ice Accumulation

Here in Colorado, ice accumulation can be a real problem for homeowners. When water freezes, it expands. And, in confined spaces like downspout joints and gutter connections, this expansion can wreak havoc on building exteriors.

For gutters that aren’t cleaned seasonally, ice damming and expansion can cause vinyl siding to tear away from the building. Soffits and fascia—essential components of many residential roofing systems—can also become damaged.

Additionally, ice can accumulate along walkways or driveways, creating a slipping hazard.

#4: Algae and Moss Growth

In nature, algae and moss play an important role in our ecosystem. However, on your roof and in your gutters, you don’t want them!

algae and moss in gutters

When gutters aren’t cleaned properly and water is left to pool within them, the organic debris that has built up will naturally begin the decomposition process. This process almost always involves the development of algae and moss.

Not only do algae and moss detract from the aesthetic of your home, they can also infiltrate the building’s elemental defense mechanisms like siding, overhangs, and roof flashing.

#5: Damage to Shingles, Underlayment, and Sheathing

For the most part, residential roofing materials are tough. They are built to withstand mother nature for years, but only when the entire rain management system is operating effectively.

Consistently backed-up gutters and downspouts can spell disaster for roofing components like asphalt shingles, clay tile, and structural supports that underpin all residential roofs. And, you probably already know how expensive it can be to repair or replace a roof!

#6: Pest Infestations

You might not have thought that clogged gutters could lead to a pest problem, but it absolutely can.

Certain invasive insects and other pests love damp environments. Mosquitos breed in standing water, and creatures that eat mosquitoes can be attracted to the area, too. Furthermore, rodents will often be drawn to dank, damp areas of the home, compounding the issue even further.

To avoid the complications that come with pest remediation, it’s critical to keep your gutters and downspouts clear of debris and operating as they should, year-round.

Need Help with Your Gutters? Call Us!

At A-to-Z Roofing & Exteriors, we are comprehensive roofing experts. That means we handle all issues related to your roof, gutters, downspouts, and other rain management equipment.

If your gutters have become too much of a problem for you to handle on your own, give us a call. We can assist with cleaning, repair, and replacement of any gutters no matter the vintage, style, or condition.

Don’t put off giving your gutters the attention they need. Contact us today, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Fore more tips on gutter maintenance, check out our blog on 5 Tips for Winter Gutter Maintenance.

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