Why is gutter cleaning so important?

Why is gutter cleaning so important?

Image: Courtesy of Premier Clean 

Having your gutters cleaned might not feature high on your list of home maintenance and home improvement priorities, but regular upkeep is essential. Gutters are designed to collect and guide rainwater off the roof, down into the drain and away from the building, thus preventing potential structural damage. Clogged or damaged gutters can result in expensive repairs so, although they are out of sight, they should never be out of mind!

 

Why do gutters get blocked?

This can be a combination of fallen leaves, moss, twigs, and other debris that can build up over time. Leaves get blown onto the roof, traveling down into the gutters. When wet, leaves can stick to gutter walls and floors, and the flow of rainwater becomes lodged in corners and downpipes.

Over time leaves will breakdown turning into a fertile compost, the perfect breeding ground for seeds, moss, and weeds that have been blown onto the roof or dropped by birds. If left unchecked, these invasive weeds can overtake your gutters, blocking the natural flow of water, plugging the downpipe leading to rainwater build-up, and possible overflow. It is critical that gutters are in good health for the winter to ensure water is free-flowing to prevent damage by snow and ice build-up.

clearing leaves from gutters Image: Courtesy Crose Cleaning 

 

Why does moss grow on the roof?

Being part of the water loving algae family, moss (and lichen) thrives in shady, damp environments.  So, properties that are north-facing or surrounded by overhanging trees, tend to receive less daylight, which prevents the roof from fully drying out. Over time, moss starts to grow in damp areas. 

Have you ever wondered why moss tends to form at the edges of roof tiles?  Well, as rainwater flows over the roof tiles, water cohesion, or the sticky quality, that enables waters droplets to form on your windows, causes it to cling to overlapping roof tile edges.  This trapped water, unless dried out, creates a damp haven, perfect for moss formation.  Where tiles are chipped, cracked, or damaged, water can permeate the surface, creating ideal conditions for moss growth. 

 

Can moss damage your roof tiles?

Moss acts like a sponge, retaining water and preventing your roof from drying out.  If left unchecked, damp can permeate the tiles and roof, causing possible structural damage.  This is especially true during the winter months, where ice can form in moisture trapped against the tiles or masonry.  When water freezes, it expands, potentially causing tiles to raise, chip or crack, leaving it vulnerable to the elements. 

As a haven for insects, moss also attracts birds, who feed on and dislodge the moss, sending it tumbling into the gutters, causing potential blockages. 

 

 

Can blocked gutters cause property damage?

Yes, it can lead to costly property damage, if they are not dealt with promptly. Rainwater damage can lead to issues such as rotting fascia boards, water damage to walls, windows, ceilings, insulation, and even foundation damage.  If left unchecked, water can permeate through to the internal walls, causing damp and mould spores. Regardless of whether you have cast iron, pressed steel, or plastic gutters, it is essential that these are maintained and regularly checked, to ensure water is free-flowing and clear of debris.  

 gutter cleaning before and after cleaning with the SkyVac        Image: Courtesy of Ashley Mackintosh

How do I know my gutters are clogged?

For a quick visual, next time it rains, get an umbrella and give your gutters a visual health check. Are they overflowing, leaking, or sagging, or is there water running down the side of the building? Any of these factors could indicate an issue with the guttering. If you have to clear your garden or driveway of falling leaves in the autumn, then it would be advisable to consider a visual health check. 

For ultimate peace of mind, contact your local exterior cleaning professional, who will be able to check and help prevent expensive repairs.

 

How do I get my gutters cleaned?

It is advisable to consult an external cleaning service provider to help protect your home. Innovative gutter cleaning equipment from skyVac™ makes professional cleaning a breeze. No need for ladders, a single operator can easily and effectively clean gutters up to four stories high, and all from the safety of the ground. So, whether your property has difficult to reach gutters, such as above a conservatory or a garage, skyVac™ cleaning equipment features a powerful wet and dry vacuum system, along with extremely lightweight and robust carbon fibre Elite telescopic poles, making light work, of hard to access gutters.

 

How often should I get my gutters cleaned?

This depends very much on your property's surroundings, weather factors, and age of the building. Properties surrounded by overhanging trees, especially pine trees, or with moss growth, should be checked frequently, especially after bad weather, to ensure gutters are free from fallen debris. 

Ideally, properties should be checked in the autumn, after the leaves have fallen, to ensure they are in perfect condition and free-flowing for the heavy rain, snow and ice that the winter brings. When spring arrives, it is worth having them checked again, just to ensure that they have not been damaged during the winter and that any residual biodegraded leaves and moss, have been removed to prevent the growth of grass or weeds.  

 

How easy is it to check your gutters?

Your local gutter cleaning professional can inspect your gutters from the safety of the ground, using Spinaclean’s high reach inspection system. Quick to assemble, the world-leading system is able to extend up to 4 stories in height, giving a detailed eye in the sky view from the operator's monitor, with no need for ladders. So, for the ultimate peace of mind and to ensure your gutters continue in good health, contact your local cleaning professional for an inspection today. 

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Originally Published 09/ 2019 - Updated 02/2020