How Your Gutters Affect Your Roof and Your Home

Fully functioning gutters are important for the overall health of any home.
February 14, 2024

How Your Gutters Affect Your Roof and Your Home

Most homes have gutter systems, but many homeowners never take the time to fully understand what gutters are and what purpose they serve to the overall health of their home. Gutter systems collect rain and storm water and safely direct it off your home’s roof and away from its exterior and foundation. Poorly maintained, damaged, malfunctioning, or clogged gutters can increase your risk of damage to your home. Let’s look at why gutters are necessary, the risks of ignoring gutter maintenance and gutter repair, and how gutters affect your roof health, safety, and structure.

Rain gutters help move water away from your home's walls and foundation. Consider gutter repair if your gutters aren't doing the job.Understanding How Gutters Work

Gutters are installed along the edges of your roof. They are available in many different styles, shapes, materials, and designs. The basic function of gutter systems is catching water and diverting it away from your home. During storms or when snow on your roof melts, your home’s gutters will catch water as it streams down your roof. The channels or troughs of the gutter system then direct the water off the roof, through the downspouts, and away from your home.

Why Gutters are Necessary to Roof Health

Without gutters, you are at a much higher risk of water damage to your home. While gutters aren’t required by law or building codes in most states, they are a crucial element of your home’s water drainage. Because they direct rain and storm water away from your home, they can reduce your risk of mold, mildew, soil erosion, foundation and structural damage, roof rot, roof leaks, wood rot, pests and insects, animal activity, destroyed landscaping, and more. Gutters can protect the health of your:

  • Roof – Gutter systems help water drain more efficiently from your roof. This can reduce your risk of roof rot, leaks, roof damage, ice dams, and other roofing issues.
  • Exterior siding – Gutters keep water off your exterior siding and can prevent mold, mildew, wood rot, peeling and cracking, wear and tear, and other problems.
  • Landscaping and plants – Without gutters, water might damage landscaping and plants around your home or destroy your lawn.
  • Foundation – If water pools around your home’s foundation, you can develop structural issues, cracks in your foundation, soil erosion, shifting, and flooding.
  • Walls – Gutters also protect your home’s walls, ceilings, and floor from water damage, mold, mildew, and structural issues.
  • Attic and basement – Your gutters, soffits, and fascia can prevent attic flooding and improve attic ventilation, so you are less likely to develop mold, mildew, condensation, humidity, pests, and insects. Gutters can also prevent basement flooding.

The Dangers of Damaged or Clogged Gutters

If you neglect gutter maintenance and repair, your gutters can become damaged or clogged. Damaged or clogged gutters can increase your risk of:

  • Foundation decay and damage.
  • Damage to your walls and ceilings.
  • Flooded basement or attic.
  • Soil or landscape erosion.
  • Insect or animal infestations.
  • Wood rot and roof rot.
  • Ice dams.
  • Damage to your driveway or your neighbor’s landscaping or driveway.
  • Roof leaks.

Do You Really Need Gutters on Your Home?

There are some very rare situations in which gutters might be optional or not entirely necessary for the health and safety of your home:

  • Your home is on a downward slope and water will naturally run down your roof and away from your home.
  • Your home has a long overhang between 6-10 inches and can successfully divert rainwater without a gutter system.

What to Do About Common Gutter Problems

When you recognize and solve common gutter problems quickly, you are protecting the health, safety, beauty, value, and energy-efficiency of your home. Calling a professional for gutter maintenance, gutter repair, or gutter replacement can extend the lifespan of your home and reduce the wear and tear it experiences. The two most common gutter problems are:

  • Clogged gutters – Clogged gutters can prevent water from draining properly. Water can back up and pool on the roof, or it can overflow from the gutter system and pool around your foundation. Gutters can quickly become clogged with dirt, twigs, leaves, animal nests, rocks, and other debris, especially after heavy storms. You should inspect and clean your gutters seasonally, after big storms, or if you notice debris building up. You can also install a gutter guard system to reduce your risk of clogged gutters.
  • Ice dams – Ice dams occur when snow melts and gets trapped in the eaves of your roof and freezes again. An ice dam can damage your gutters and affect your attic’s ventilation. You can prevent ice dams with regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs.

Clean gutters protect your home from damage.Proper Gutter Maintenance

Proper gutter maintenance can reduce your risk of clogged gutters, extend the lifespan of your gutter system, and protect your home from damage. You should inspect and clean your gutters each season and check them for damage or clogs after each heavy storm. You should also schedule annual inspections and upkeep from an expert who can assess the health and function of your gutters and determine if you need gutter repair or gutter replacement.

Do Gutters Increase Your Home’s Value?

Yes, properly installed and maintained gutters can increase the value and curb appeal of your home.

How Long Do Gutters Last?

Most gutter systems can last between 20-50 years depending on the style of gutters, how often the gutters are maintained and repaired, and what style and material the gutters are.

Schedule Gutter Maintenance or Gutter Repair in Northern Maryland

If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your gutters or if you have clogged gutters in Northern Maryland, contact us at Harford Roofing & Exteriors. Our experienced team of roofing contractors can inspect your gutters, assess their health and functionality, and determine if you need gutter repair, gutter maintenance, or gutter replacement. We also offer new gutter installation for new construction, home renovations, and home remodels. Call us today at (443) 292-6020 or request a quote for the cost of roof repairs.