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Five Reasons You Should Clean Your Gutters

Five Reasons You Should Clean Your Gutters

When you think of home maintenance, your gutters may not be the first things that come to mind. Like your roof, it can be easy to neglect your gutters because of their lack of accessibility. But just because they’re out of sight, doesn’t mean they should be out of mind.

Gutters play a crucial role in redirecting rainwater away from your roof and foundation, protecting your home from potential water damage. Neglected gutter maintenance can have far-reaching consequences, particularly for your roof. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore:

Let’s get started!

How to Spot Clogged Gutters

Overflowing waterClogged Gutter_WebP-1

The first and perhaps easiest way to tell that your gutters are clogged is water overflowing from the gutter’s edges. During heavy rainfall, clogged gutters will become full of water, and the overflow will begin to spill over the sides of your gutters rather than going down the downspout. If you notice water overflowing from your gutters the next time it rains, it’s a definite sign that it’s time to clean them.

Sagging gutters

If enough debris collects in your gutters, excess moisture from rainfall will become trapped within the debris, turning those seemingly light leaves and pine needles into a heavy mass. As more debris and moisture accumulate in your gutters, the excess weight may cause them to sag, a sure indicator that cleaning, or even replacement is needed.

Plants growing in your gutters

As nature takes its toll on your gutters, they become an ideal environment for windblown seeds to land and grow. If your gutters are already filled with damp, decomposing foliage, there’s a high likelihood you’ll start to see small trees and other plants growing from them. As these plants grow, their roots can extend down your gutters and into your downspouts, making cleaning them a much harder task. If you notice anything growing from your gutters, you’ll want to clean them immediately.

Stained siding

There are many reasons that your home’s siding becomes stained, including wind-blown rain, condensation behind your siding, or simply the climate and overall environment surrounding your house. An often-overlooked reason behind those unsightly stains, though, is clogged gutters. Water overflowing from your gutters will sometimes splash back against your house’s siding. Since that water is likely carrying all kinds of algae, mold, and decomposing foliage, it can leave behind residue on your siding. If this is something you’ve noticed, it’s a good idea to check out your gutters to make sure they aren’t creating the stains.

Risks of Neglecting Gutter Cleaning

Home DamageClogged Gutters 3_WebP

Clogged gutters prevent proper water drainage into your downspout, leading to water overflow. When water overflows from your gutters, it can seep under shingles, cause your fascia boards to rot, and get behind your house’s siding. Over time, this damage may necessitate costly repairs to your roof, your gutters, the home’s interior, and more.

Foundation Problems

When gutters are obstructed, rainwater cascades down the sides of the house, saturating the soil around the foundation. Over time, this excessive water flow can weaken the foundation, resulting in cracks, shifting, and potential structural damage. This becomes especially critical in areas with heavy or frequent rainfall.

Ice Dams

During the colder months, clogged gutters can lead to ice dams. An ice dam occurs when snow melts on a warm roof and refreezes in areas prone to water pooling, such as clogged gutters. The weight of these ice dams can weigh down and damage your gutters, which can result in damaged fascia boards, and even cause water to seep into the roof, leading to interior water damage. This is especially detrimental in areas with colder climates.

Practical Tips for Regular Gutter Cleaning


It’s recommended to clean your gutters at least twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall. However, if you live in an area with abundant foliage, you may need to clean your gutters more frequently to prevent clogging.

Essential Tools

To effectively clean your gutters, you will need a sturdy ladder, a garden trowel or scoop, a bucket or other container, and a garden hose with a spray nozzle. There are also tools created specifically for gutter cleaning, which range from specially designed hand scoops to vacuum and water hose extensions. It’s also recommended to use a ladder with a ladder-stabilizer attachment.

Moving and resting an aluminum ladder against your gutters can cause dents and scratches, which will negatively affect their aesthetic appeal. A ladder stabilizer can prevent costly damage by extending the ladder’s support onto your roof rather than leaning against your gutters. Additionally, ladder stabilizers create a safer, more stable rest for your ladder, which can give you peace of mind as you climb up and down to clean your gutters.

Safety Measures

Above all, it’s important to remain safe when cleaning your gutters. Be sure you’ve reviewed your ladder’s safety manual before setting it up, and always have someone to monitor you from the ground. Ensure your ladder is secure and stable on level ground, and avoid placing it in areas with gravel or mud. Additionally, if your home is 2 stories or higher, it’s recommended you hire a professional to clean your gutters. While this will come at a cost, these professionals will have the right equipment to get the job done safely.

Gutter Guards

If you want to go the extra mile regarding your gutter maintenance, you may want to consider having gutter guards installed.gutter guards_WebP

Gutter guards serve as a form of gutter protection. They are installed above your gutters with the purpose of capturing leaves and debris that may otherwise accumulate and obstruct the flow. Numerous homeowners opt for gutter guards as an additional safeguard, complementing their regular maintenance efforts, to avert potential harm resulting from a congested gutter system.

There are several types of gutter guards, including plastic gutter guards, gutter screens, gutter covers, and gutter helmets. The type you should consider purchasing will depend on your budget, and the look you desire for your home.

Regular gutter cleaning is an essential aspect of maintaining a healthy roof and a well-functioning home. Neglecting gutter maintenance can lead to a range of problems, from roof damage and foundation issues to stained siding and damaged gutters.

Remember, when it comes to maintaining your home, "Out of sight, out of mind" should never apply to your gutters. Prioritize regular gutter cleaning, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a well-protected home.

On Tops Roofing has been helping homeowners learn about their roofing systems since 1991! Whatever your roof requires, We’re on it!

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