Does Your Roof Actually Need Gutters?

Like many homeowners, you may have wondered what gutters are for and if they are even necessary. After all, they do seem to have some problems. They sometimes clog and may house nesting birds. They also can only handle a limited volume of water, which in the Seattle area can be a problem. They may eventually pull away from your roof or tilt over time.

The basic function of a gutter is to provide a channel to redirect water and debris from your roofing surface to the ground away from your home to a drain or safe area. The gutters along your roof catch rainwater as it washes down the side of the roof. This water is then channeled to the downspouts where it flows away from your home. By redirecting rainwater, the gutter reduces erosion of the ground against your home’s foundation, which reduces the chances of foundation damage. Some homeowners have routed the downspout to empty into a tank or barrel for garden use during dry weather. Usually, rain gutters are made of aluminum, copper, or plastic.

Are Rain Gutters Necessary?

There are many times when a gutter system is necessary to protect your home: 

  • Landscape slopes upwards – When the land your home sits on has an upward slope on at least one side, water will pool along the foundation both above and below ground. Pooling water will damage your home’s foundation. Using gutters on that side of the home will redirect the water towards a downward sloping area and away from the foundation..
  • Little or no overhang – Roofs which fit close to the home allow water to pour from the roof to within a foot of the foundation, creating numerous problems. Frequent rains will cause trenches to form where the water forms. Rainwater remains close to the foundation once absorbed by the ground, causing extensive damage over time. You may also have to pass through a waterfall when entering or exiting your home during a storm.
  • Roofing protection  – Water has a tendency to seap under shingles and damage your roof’s structure. Gutters attached to your facia boards along the edge of the roof carry water away from the roof quickly.  

Gutter Maintenance

Without regular maintenance, gutters have a limited capacity to whisk away water and may overflow, although they may still effectively remove a large volume of water. Regular maintenance and cleaning usually prevents problems before they begin, since the debris will be removed on a regular basis. This is especially important during the rainy season.

Guardian roofing recommends having your gutters cleaned at least once a year. But, depending on where you live, you may need to clean your gutters more often. You should regularly inspect your gutter system for damage, especially after every rainstorm. Regular cleaning usually means getting up on the ladder to inspect your gutters and remove debris. You may want to have Guardian roofing professionals maintain your gutter system for you to prevent accidents.  Guardian Roofing offers specialized gutter cleaning and inspection services ensuring that your gutters remain in top condition. 

Proactive maintenance can prevent two of the Pacific Northwest’s biggest gutter related problems: gutter clogs and ice dams.

Gutter Clogs

Clogged gutters may be the single most common complaint about gutters, especially on properties with several trees. If you have a lot of leaves and twigs building up on your roof, you need regular roof and gutter maintenance to prevent roof damage and moss growth. In addition to gutter cleaning, Guardian Roofing can install gutter guards to prevent leaves, dirt, and other debris from entering your gutters. Gutter covers have small openings which allow water to drain away, but prevent leaves and twigs from entering. What tiny debris enters is easily flushed away, and leaves may simply be blown off the gutter’s surface. Gutter covers also prevent birds from nesting in the gutter. 

Ice Dams

Unfortunately, the presence of ice dams is evidence of a problem with your attic or crawl space, not your gutters. Preventing ice dams is usually a matter of correcting poor ventilation or adding insulation. Without proper ventilation,and insulation, you are at risk of damage to your roof regardless of whether a gutter is installed or not. You should contact a Guardian Roofing professional to check your attic and remedy the underlying issues.

If there is tree coverage over or near your roof, or if you frequently find your gutters clogged or overflowing Guardian Roofing recommends you have a professional inspect your roof and gutters immediately. Our knowledgeable technicians will work with you to find the right action plan for your gutters. Whether you need roof repair, a replacement, maintenance, or gutter guards, you can count on Guardian to help you make an informed decision.

Call us today at 877-926-9966 or schedule an inspection »