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This is not a fun job. But it is a job that must be done, because “prevention is better than cure”.
Not cleaning gutters can result in problems including flooding, damage to foundations, structural damage, rotting fascia, and ground erosion. All this is preventable, provided you, the homeowner, attends to the following costly mistakes.
Don’t bother cleaning the gutters until they are full.
This is the number 1 error. If your gutters are full, and heavy rainfall or a storm comes along … yeah, it is much too late to do anything about it. When the gutters are full, the water has a hard time getting to the downpipe, and it has to go somewhere, so guess where it goes. Some will overflow and make big puddles around your foundations, or it will go into your roof area, and into the ceiling. Then what happens? You will need to spend big on repairs to restore and repair your house. If you are not keen or physically able to get on a ladder and clean out the gutters yourself, there are people who will do it for you. Compare the cost of paying a cleaner to repairing the roof and ceiling.
I don’t need to check the gutters, do I?
Severe storms do damage, we all know that. You can’t make an inspection while the storm is raging, but it is certainly a good idea to get up there and see what happened, without too much delay. Ensure that no damage has happened to your roof and gutters. Any problems will come to light the next time it rains or storms, with the same unwanted result to your ceilings. If you’re not sure about anything at all, call in the experts again. You don’t want a nasty surprise next time a storm hits.
Get the cheapest quote
The job needs to be done, so I don’t want to pay too much. However think of this before you go along that line. Sometimes all you need is someone with a leaf blower to do a basic clean out. But if you want a proper clean, including all gutters, downpipes and drains, to ensure grime, dirt and debris is completely removed, you need to go to a reputable gutter cleaning company. You will find different websites quoting basic prices, which seem to be cheap, but there is the possibility that those basic prices do not include everything that needs to be done. Contact a local roofing company known to have a good reputation, and known to do a good job, and ask for an inclusive itemised quote, so no hidden costs can be added on afterwards.
I’m depending on the gutter guards
These are promoted as the solution to keeping leaves out of the gutter. They help, but they are not the ultimate solution. Cheap gutter guards have large grids that don’t even notice the dirt and grit that easily gets through. Some without UV protection will disintegrate over time. Even the most expensive gutter guards still allow dirt and debris fall through. This builds up in the gutter, and in a cursory observation you won’t see it under the guard.
Let’s go back to the reputable cleaning company. They know all the facts about what works and what doesn’t. You will be spending money on something that no-one will see unless their windows are above your roof level, but you will be protecting your investment in your home.
Are your property values affected if your gutters aren’t doing the best job?
Buyers expect that the gutters are in good nick. Gutters are expected to be able to easily catch and remove the rain water that falls on the roof. They are not listed as an asset in the real estate advertisements. “Four bedrooms (great), two and a half bathrooms (also great), large kitchen with a huge island (wonderful!!), working gutters (huh??)”. Because gutters are supposed to work properly. Do we have to promote the fact that the lock on the front door works properly? Do we have to show that there’s a space for a refrigerator? Of course not, those things are expected. Same with gutters, buyers would expect that they work. Therefore they do not add to the value of your home.
There is a but
But if your gutters are broken down, obviously looking very ugly, that will have a negative effect on the value of your house. When gutters are good, they are barely noticeable. When they are ugly, they are very noticeable.
When the gutters don’t do what they’re supposed to do, which is to transport the rain water from the roof to the downpipe and subsequently to the drains, that can lead to costly problems, and your potential buyer will not want to buy into that situation. Water brings life, but in some circumstances it bring destruction. In the natural world, erosion caused by water is obvious. Water has power.
It can cause similar erosion, albeit on a much smaller scale, to your home’s foundations, which could result in subsidence and cracks forming in your foundations and or walls. That will result in expensive repairs.
Water that can not flow through blocked gutters will back up onto your roof or overflow, spilling down the walls. Water pooling on your roof will, in time, cause damage to your roof, rafters, ceilings and everything it can get close to. And water which spills over down the walls will pool on the ground and even get into your foundations.
We have to conclude that good gutters don’t have any effect on the value of your home, since everyone would expect that the gutters would do what they are supposed to do. They don’t get included in the “selling points”, such as “3 car garage”, “in-ground pool with sauna and spa”, etc. Gutters are important, but they sit there, surrounding your home, doing their job without fanfare.
But bad gutters … that’s a different story. Get your gutters checked. Actually the Building & Pest Inspector who has an important role to play in the purchase of a house, is likely to put a big red X on their report if they feel that the gutters are not up to scratch. Before getting ready to go on the market, make sure your gutters get a pass mark by having a professional gutter cleaner get up there to clean out your gutters. It is not a great expense, but it may mean that there would be no further, and much greater, expense if the roof or foundations need to be repaired.