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clogged gutters

How Clogged Gutters Affect Your Home’s Foundation & What to Do About It

Clogged gutters may seem annoying, but they can be dangerous and harmful to your home. Keep reading to learn how clogged gutters affect your home’s foundation and how to fix and prevent such problems.

What Do Gutters Do?

You’d be surprised how many homeowners don’t fully understand what gutters do! While gutters are simple, you must know how they work to care for your home properly.

Gutter systems guide rainwater or snowmelt away from your roof and down to the ground. Some gutters may connect to an underwater ground system called a French drain. Specifically, most gutter systems lead water a minimum of ten feet away from the base of your home.

Without gutters, water will pool off your roof, run along the sides, and fall straight to the ground directly surrounding your foundation, leading to water damage.

Do I Need Gutters?

Yes! While you could survive without rain gutters, you would eventually have to deal with severe issues such as foundation damage, mold, mildew, wood rot, soil erosion, and other problems caused by the excess water. If your home doesn’t have rain gutters, install them as soon as possible!

Foundation Problems Caused by Clogged Gutters

clogged gutter blocked drain pipe

Clogged gutters can lead to a weakened foundation in a few ways. Depending on how the water falls, and your home is set up, you may not experience the same weakening as someone else. Below are potential foundation problems caused by a clogged gutter.

Soil Erosion

A common issue with a blocked gutter is excessive soil erosion. Your foundation is settled into the ground surrounded by soil, not free-floating with nothing around it.

When the water is not directed away from your home and instead falls along the sides, it can slowly but substantially erode the soil that supports your home’s foundation.

Rot on Wood Supports

If your home has many wood supports, such as columns and joists, that are integral to the foundation, clogged gutters are a problem. When water stays near your home, it can seep into these wooden structures, softening them and causing mold or rot. When this happens, your support may suddenly give out, causing a shift in your home.

Basement Leaks

Many people with clogged or overflowing gutters will experience a wet basement or leaks in their basement. When the water remains close to your foundation, it can slowly move into it, putting pressure on the basement walls. This pressure can lead to cracks, leaks, and fractures that allow water into your basement.

Leaning Walls and Homes

Lastly, water can weaken your foundation and cause your house to slump or lean to one side. This shift will lead to more cracks and various issues throughout your home. Your house may begin to sink on one side, and if it gets too far, you may be unable to repair your foundation.

Keep in mind these issues rarely occur individually. People with clogged gutters will likely experience multiple or all of these problems.

How to Tell If Your Gutters Are Clogged

Ideally, you want to identify clogged gutters before the above mentioned problems begin. If you suspect your gutters are clogged but aren’t 100% sure, look for the tell-tale signs below.

Your Gutters Sag

If your gutters used to align with your eaves neatly, but now they look bent, saggy, or crooked, they’re likely clogged. Gutters get clogged with leaves, sticks, and other debris. This extra weight can warp your gutters, making them sag and sink.

Water Spills Over the Roof

If water seems to spill off your roof from all sides, your gutters are clogged. When gutters work correctly, the water will not spill off the sides and instead drain through the gutter system and come out one of the downspouts on the ground.

Animals Are in Your Gutters

If you notice pests in your gutters, such as squirrels or birds, they’ve likely set up camp on the soft bed of leaves that have clogged your gutters. Clogged gutters are prime real estate for these creatures, so your gutters may need some TLC if they’re around.

Plants Grow in Your Gutters

Along with little creatures, plants may also decide to live in your gutters. Small plants and greenery, such as moss, love to live in your damp, clogged gutters. If you see anything growing on your roof, your gutters are probably clogged.

Your Gutters Are Noisy

Gutters sometimes make strange clanging or buckling noises when they are clogged. They may also make banging, gurgling, or heavy dripping sounds, so keep an ear out for these sounds, especially when it’s raining.

Fixing Clogged Gutters

expert cleaning clogged gutter

Simply put, the only way to fix clogged gutters is to unclog them. You can climb a ladder, scoop the muck, and guck out until the water can flow freely through the gutters. Power Washing excess debris and dirt can also help.

While this is a valid option, climbing up to your roof can be dangerous, and removing the buildup of materials can be gross. Instead of risking your safety, let the pros handle it and call a professional gutter cleaning service!

Preventing Clogged Gutters

Once your gutters are free and clear, we recommend taking extra steps to ensure they never get clogged again! Below are the best ways to prevent clogged gutters:

  • Regular Gutter Maintenance: Inspecting and cleaning your gutters twice a year is best. You can do it yourself or hire a professional.
  • Gutter Protection Systems: Along with regular maintenance, you can install gutter covers or leaf guards to minimize debris buildup and make maintenance easier.

Care for Your Gutters, Protect Your Homes Foundation

Cleaning your gutters regularly and investing in gutter protection can do wonders to keep your home in tip-top shape!

Contact a gutter maintenance and cleaning specialist to preserve your foundation and keep your home safe.

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