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My gutters clog. Should I remove them?

February 23rd, 2009 No comments

Believe it or not, I have fielded this question many times over the years. It’s tempting and seems like it would be a cheaper alternative to continuously cleaning your gutters. ┬áIt’s true that removing gutters would eliminate a seasonal chore from your to-do list; however, gutters play a critical role on homes, and it will cause other headaches that are much more problematic and expensive to resolve.

When installed and working properly, gutters are the primary mechanism for moving water off a roof and away from a building’s foundation. This may not seem like a big deal, but moderate to heavy rainfall can produce hundreds of gallons of water around the perimeter of a home in a very short period of time. Not having gutters installed would mean that the water would simply stream off the roof, and it would seep into the ground at the point of entry. If your home has a basement or a crawl space, the water will find naturally occurring cracks in the foundation and enter the structure. If you have window wells, water can build up in the wells and seep through the window openings or broken seals around the window frames. In extremely heavy rains, as the ground becomes saturated, excess water will pool around the foundation until the ground can absorb it. The presence of this much moisture around a foundation can also lead to mold and mildew problems, which is costly to remediate, potentially hazardous to your home and health, and can negatively affect your home’s resale value.

The #1 cause of flooding basements and foundation damage is clogged gutters, so you can imagine that by not having gutters, you are creating a problem that is potentially much more damaging and expensive than cleaning your gutters on a regular basis or installing gutter guards, which can help remedy the problem once-and-for-all.

If you have been contemplating removing your gutters, don’t do it! If your gutters are damaged or are not performing as they should, have them replaced. If you don’t have gutters, and you live in most regions of the country where it rains on a regular basis, we strongly encourage you to add new gutters to avoid the problems mentioned in this blog. Make sure to consult with reputable installer to determine whether they should install 5″ or 6″ gutters. The larger the opening, the more water can flow through them, and the cost difference between the two sizes is negligible.

This is also the perfect time to install gutter guards; however, don’t assume your gutter installer will offer the best long-term solution or price. Take the opportunity to educate yourself about the different gutter guard options and talk with several dealers before making your final selection.