Gutters are probably no one's favourite topic of conversation, but if you own a home, you need to understand the importance of quality gutters and of how to keep them properly maintained. Gutters are actually a part of your home's roof, so a roofer can answer any questions about your home's gutters in particular, but note some commonly asked questions about gutters in general, so you know how to keep yours in good repair.
Why are gutters important?
Gutters direct water that runs off the roof to attached downspouts; these downspouts then direct that water away from the home. This may not seem very important, but allowing rainwater to drop onto the ground around the home's foundation can be very dangerous to the home, and to your property. For one thing, that water may splash back onto the home, or run down the exterior walls, and this can lead to rusted aluminium siding or softened, cracked brick.
If this water collects in the soil, this can lead to flooding that washes away your turf and any landscaping you have planted around the home. This flooding can also soften and then damage the home's foundation, or lead to a flooded basement. Gutters then protect your home from all this potential damage.
Why do gutters overflow so often?
Overflowing gutters are typically caused by clogs, or because the gutters are undersized for your area's average rainfall. You can avoid clogs by adding a gutter guard; this might be a screen over the top of gutters, to block leaves and other debris, or it might be a type of brush that also captures debris while allowing water to flow through the gutters. Installing larger gutters can also be needed, so that they don't become full every time it rains.
What type of gutters prevent ice dams?
Ice dams, meaning chunks of ice along the edge of the roof and in the gutters, don't typically form because of poor-quality gutters. These are usually formed because the insulation in your home is faulty; when heat escapes the home through the roof, that heat melts the underside of snow that's sitting on the roof. This water than trickles down to the edge of the roof and freezes there at the edge, or in the gutters. To avoid these ice dams, you can then invest in better insulation for the home, check the roof for missing shingles that are letting out heat, or clean snow off your roof as soon as it falls.