Wednesday 14 April 2021

3 Dangers of Not Cleaning Your Gutters

Cleaning out your gutters can be an unpleasant and intimidating task. Many of us avoid doing it because we would rather not climb up a ladder, can’t be bothered, or simply don’t know how. But whether you are going to clean your gutters yourself, or choose to hire someone to do it for you . . . here's why you really shouldn't neglect cleaning your gutters this Spring.

Gutters serve the critical function of diverting water away from your home, and once your gutter system fails, this can lead to costly damage and repairs. First on the list  . . .

1. Damaged Gutters 

Dangers Of Not Cleaning Your Gutters roof damage

When your gutters are full of debris they can become very heavy and bend and pull away from your house. Fixing or replacing your gutters is far more costly than a simple cleaning. Worse yet, the water can leak into your home, potentially, leading to . . .

2. Weakened Foundation

Dangers Of Not Cleaning Your Gutters weakened foundation

Water can cause the soil under your foundation to shift and crack. When this happens, your home is literally on shaky ground. In extreme cases, water damage can actually cause structural failures in a house. 

3. Basement Flooding

Dangers Of Not Cleaning Your Gutters basement flooding

When there’s nowhere else for your water to go, it'll end up in your basement. The longer you leave your gutters clogged and dirty, the more water can pool around your home’s foundation. As the water overflows and runs down the side of your home, it will eventually leak into your basement walls. When this happens it can cause mold to grow, unpleasant smells, water damage and eventually flooding. If your basement isn’t waterproofed, this can cause serious damage to your home.

The best time to clean your gutters is before these kinds of damage can occur. In general, we recommend cleaning your gutters at least once a year (twice if necessary).  And the best time to do it is in the Springtime (before the rain!).

Don't neglect this important aspect of home maintenance!  

Give Heights Residential a call. We'd be happy to help. We will clear and flush the gutters and even give you a 9 point inspection to let you know about any potential problems with your gutters or roof. 780-488-8714

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Thursday 8 March 2018

Think Autumn is the best time to get your gutters cleaned? THINK AGAIN!

You see the leaves falling and your gutters filling up, and you think to yourself, "I'd better get my gutters cleaned." But, you live in Edmonton, and no sooner has the last leaf fallen than the snow has started to fly. " Dang it! 

But, how important is it to clean your gutters before winter? Well it won't hurt. But it won't help all that much either. By November your gutters are frozen solid, and they will stay that way till April

Gutters and downspouts, if they are working properly, divert water away from your houseThat is what they do. So make sure the are clean before any big rains come your way!

Cleaning your gutters can wait until Spring.  (Or even Summer.) Any time. As long as it's before that torrential rain!

Monday 6 July 2015

Gutter Guards. Do They Work?

Cleaning leaves from gutters is an annual mess for any homeowner with deciduous trees. If you're lucky enough to have evergreen trees, cleaning needles from your gutters is an ongoing process--all year long. And even if you're not in a high-leaf/high-needle zone, your gutters will still slowly gunk up with particles from composite shingles, twigs, and dirt.

That's why inventors have tried to devise solutions that let water in but keep leaves out. New styles pop up regularly. And, man! Wouldn't it be awesome if they worked?

The downside of gutter protection

  • They are never maintenance free. Gutter guards still need cleaning.
  • Gutter guard installation can be expensive. It can cost anywhere from hundreds to several thousand dollars. 

Should you get gutter guards? Probably not. Some types should definitely be avoided. Others may simply not be worth the cost and effort. Let's take a look at a few of the most common types that we've been seeing out there.

Plastic Mesh

The simplest DIY and cheapest option: plastic mesh that comes in rolls. It sits inside gutters. It's cheap ($0.12/ft) and is pretty easy to install.

Unfortunately, it's practically useless. Plastic mesh will not keep your gutters clean, and will actually make the cleaning process more difficult. Debris will still get into the gutter, and the screen itself will need cleaning. Not to mention, this type of screen doesn't even stay in place well.  We just rip this stuff out when we find it. Avoid!

Gutter Filler / Filter

These products consist of shaped open-cell spongey material that fit inside the gutter leaving the bottom open for water flow beneath the filler. It's a pretty simple DIY project and on the cheaper end ($1.74/ft at Home Depot).

This foam will keep more debris out of your gutter, but maintenance is still an issue. The foam will require regular cleaning as debris piles up on top. And cleaning the tops of these filters becomes labour intensive as debris gets matted and clings to the surface. 

Metal Screen

The is a wide range of metal gutter screen. Metal screen sits on top of existing gutters. It is rigid, and once it is installed, it will stay in place because it is permanently affixed. Some versions employ micro-screen. This style CAN keep your gutters and downspouts from getting clogged. And this is good. But, these screens aren't cheap. ($7/ft or more!)

But are they effective? Well, yes and no.

As metal gutter screens generally have smaller holes (especially those with micro-screen), it is less likely that debris will make it's way into your gutter (though certainly not impossible: see picture below). But, with the smaller holes, you also increase the likelihood that the water itself won't get into the gutter either. This can happen in couple of ways: either the surface gets clogged up with debris. Or, if you happen to have a steep roof or valleys (where downward-sloping sections of roof meet and water runoff is heavy), the screen won't be able to handle that much water.

But will metal screens reduce the amount of cleaning needed? Maybe.

Metal screens will still need regular cleaning. The difference is that the debris will sit on top of the metal screen, rather than in the gutter itself. But, if you do end up needing to open up these screens to clean the gutters, you will have the added challenge of removing the screen.

Final Verdict

These are just a few of  the types of gutter protection out there.  Our official position is: some types of gutter protection MAY help keep your gutters cleaner. But your expectations have to be realistic and maintenance WILL ALWAYS be necessary. Perfect gutter protection, one that is completely maintenance free, does not exist.

In the end, regular gutter maintenance is often the best and most economical way to keep your gutters functioning. In fact, there is nothing more reliable than a real person cleaning the gutters, removing roof debris and evaluating the conditions of your gutter system routinely. Ultimately, there's no way you can avoid cleaning your eaves - regardless of whether you have gutter protection or no.