Welcome to the first (of many) issues of The Home Maintenance Journal, our new monthly newsletter to help you protect your home. Each month, I will share insights and suggestions for maintaining the well-being of your most valuable asset.
I got involved in this business 27 years ago, after my dad had Gutter Helmet installed at his house and invited me over to check it out. I was so impressed with the technology (and it’s come a long way since then!) that I got into the business myself. I’ve learned a lot about home maintenance along the way and look forward to passing that knowledge along to you.
Also, as a Gutter Helmet and Quality Roofing customer, you’ll receive exclusive offers and savings on a range of home protection products and services (scroll down to see our October special).
In today’s newsletter we talk about gutters — how they work and why you need them!
All the best,
Gutter Helmet and Quality Roofing
P.S. You are receiving this newsletter because you are a Gutter Helmet and Quality Roofing customer. If we have sent this to you in error, please accept our apology. You can unsubscribe with one click in the footer of this email.
Do I Need Rain Gutters?
I never gave much thought to gutters until my dad invited me over to his house to have a look at his newly installed Gutter Helmet. I liked how it looked, but I really liked how it worked.
I remember standing on a ladder dropping handfuls of leaves onto the gutters and then running a hose on the roof to see if the leaves would get caught (they didn’t).
That was 1993. Since then, I’ve been to thousands of customer homes, some of which had suffered extensive water damage due to clogged or missing gutters. On the list of things that can destroy a house, water is right at the top (along with fire).
It does its damage in any number of ways:
- Foundation damage. If it’s not channeled away from your house’s foundation, water begins to seep into it, eventually deteriorating the structure. Water can also wash away underlying rock and soil which can lead to shifting and cracks in the foundation.
- Fascia, trim, siding and exterior door damage. When water runs over the exterior surfaces of your home, it can penetrate these surfaces, causing them to rot. This is especially true of wood-based materials.
- Landscaping. As it falls from your roof, water can erode the landscaping, washing away mulch and vulnerable plantings.
- Ice buildup. Here in New England, we’ve got the added threat of ice. Unchanneled water flowing off your roof can cause ice to form on driveways, decks and walkways. Ice will then force its way into these materials, causing cracks in the surfaces and creating slip hazards.
The purpose of your gutters is to prevent all that. The rain still falls off the roof (obviously), but it’s channeled safely through the gutters and away from your home.
Does every house need gutters?
No. It depends (mostly) on where you live. If you lived in a very arid climate — Arizona, for example — things like porous gravel under the roof edge and pitched concrete away from the foundation are usually enough.
On the other extreme, certain northern climates or mountainous regions with long winters and high snow loads often don’t have gutters because the potential for ice buildup and resulting roof damage outweighs the benefit.
But here in good old New England, most houses should have them!
How do I maintain my gutters?
The thing to keep in mind is that they only work if the water flows freely through them.
Otherwise, not only does the water not flow safely away from your house, the gutters themselves (if filled with seeds, branches and other things that fall into them) can make water and ice damage worse than having no gutters at all.
So you need to keep them debris-free, especially prior to winter. That means either climbing a ladder and cleaning them out a couple of times a year, or installing something like our branded product, Gutter Helmet. (Beware of inexpensive products like wire mesh screens which don’t work well and can be difficult to remove and clean.)
Overall, given the damage that water can do to a home, gutters are very much a worthwhile investment. Keep them in good shape and debris-fee, and they will protect your home for years to come!