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What Problems Are Caused by Blocked Gutters?

Nearly everyone is affected by blocked gutters at some point, and while they’re not always a serious issue, they can cause much bigger problems if they aren’t dealt with in good time. Not only can they cause significant damage to your home, but they could end up costing you dearly through repairs. Some of the problems caused by blocked gutters include structural damage and leaks that lead to damp and mould patches inside the home.

In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the main consequences of ignoring your blocked gutters, helping you to understand why proper gutter maintenance is so important, as well as share some tips to help you avoid running into problems.

Cracked Pipes and Collapsing Gutters

Blockages can cause damage to your guttering system, meaning you may have to repair or even replace some of your gutters or pipes when blockages are left unattended for too long. While less serious than damage to your home itself, replacing your gutters sooner than you’d planned can put a dent in your finances.

The reason that blockages can damage gutters and pipes is due to extra pressure. Large amounts of leaves or rubbish can become very heavy over time, causing your gutters to split, or come away from, and eventually completely fall from, the roofline of your home. Breakages in your guttering system that are ignored can spread the damage to your home’s exterior and interior walls and your home’s foundations, so it’s best to act quickly.

Leaks and Damp

Blocked gutters can cause rainwater overflows, persistent drips, and leaks. When gutters are blocked, they can’t channel water effectively away from your home, causing it to overflow down your walls and into your rafters and fascia boards. This continuous soaking means that the wetness never has the chance to dry out, causing potentially serious rot, damp and mould if left untreated. Over time persistently damp walls can cause mould to grow in the rooms upstairs which will adversely affect you and your family’s health. 

You may notice your wallpaper starting to peel, or even damp patches and mould across your ceiling and walls. You must treat the damp problem by fixing your broken gutters before redecorating, as failing to stop the flow of water and not giving your walls time to dry out will not solve the underlying issue and the problem will only get worse.

Foundation Damage

Damage to your property’s foundations and even eventually subsidence is perhaps the most serious issue to arise from blocked gutters and can compromise the structural integrity of your home. While it’s unlikely that your blocked gutters will result in foundation damage unless ignored for a significant amount of time, it’s best to do everything you can to prevent this issue from arising.

Foundation damage occurs when the water in clogged gutters overflows and pools at the base of your home. Large amounts of water can end up accumulating there after heavy rain, saturating the ground. If this accumulation of water persists in and around the foundations of your home, you may experience problems with damp in internal ground floor walls, and subsidence, causing cracks to appear in internal walls which, if ignored, even run the risk of your home collapsing. Extreme problems typically only occur after very long periods of time, but even slight damage to your home’s foundations can be costly to fix.

Infestations

Blocked gutters are usually caused by a build-up of debris over time, whether that’s leaves, twigs or even moss. Large blockages create dark, damp conditions that attract insects, which may result in infestations that can spread to your home and wider garden. Particularly troublesome infestations include wasp nests, which can be harmful to yourself and your family during the summer.

Slippery Walkways

If water leaks from your gutters, it may spill down onto your patio or garden path. This in itself can be unpleasant in the warmer months, but in the winter it may even pose a safety risk to your visitors and family should the water freeze into ice. It can take a while to properly remove ice from walkways and you may not always have time, or even notice that it’s there when hurrying to work or school.

How to Prevent Damage Caused by Blocked Gutters

The easiest way to prevent blocked gutters from causing damage is to prevent blockages from occurring or deal with them as soon as possible. Small blockages are normal, especially during the autumn when leaves may be more likely to be blown into your gutters. Regular cleaning and maintenance should keep your gutters in working order and your home and garden in good condition. Some tips for preventing your gutters from becoming blocked include:

·        Install gutter guards to stop leaves and other debris like moss from the roof from blowing into your gutters.

·        Clean your gutters on a regular basis – ideally before you notice problems.

·        Don’t forget to inspect your drain pipes, as hidden blockages can quickly build up here.

·        Make sure nearby trees are well-trimmed annually to reduce the number of leaves in your gutters.

·        Repair or replace broken gutters as soon as possible.

·        Consider installing strong metal gutters instead of plastic to avoid leaking, cracking, sagging and collapse. 

·        If your blockages are consistently caused by algae and fungi growth, using copper gutters may be better suited to your needs as they are naturally resistant to both.

Blocked gutters have the potential to wreak havoc on your home, but with regular care and maintenance, there’s no need to worry about damage occurring in the future. To learn more about the metal guttering systems we offer, take a look at our resources and guides

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