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How Do Rain Gutters Affect Roof Health?

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Are rain gutters really necessary? In Texas, a home is not required to have gutters if the roof effectively directs rain away from the home. However, if you don’t have gutters, rain can eventually erode lawn soil and possibly damage landscaping.

Faulty gutters can also compromise surrounding roofing materials like the fascia – and even the roof itself.

Can gutters damage your roof?

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Yes – gutters can damage your roof if they’re not properly maintained. If your gutters are clogged, have holes, or sag, they are not able to serve their purpose. Water could be touching your roof, possibly resulting in a roof leak. It is recommended that gutters be cleaned once a year. Or, you can purchase covers that prevent leaves from accumulating. Most homeowners opt to clean them out.

Some problems resulting from improperly functioning gutters include:

Mold, mildew, and fungus. Standing water and mud mixtures will attract mold quickly. They’re not just an eyesore, either. Erosion may occur, resulting in cracks or holes into the attic.

Fascia rot. The edge of your roof, called the fascia, is typically made of wood. It keeps your gutters attached to the roof. When water doesn’t drain from the gutters, the fascia may rot. This also leads to cracks and holes which invite bugs and critters in. Not good!

Foundation issues. While not a direct roofing concern, foundational issues affect the entire house – possibly leading to roofing problems eventually. When water doesn’t direct to appropriate spots draining away from the home, pools of water disrupt your foundation.

Improper pitching can cause standing water within the gutter. For rain to flow toward the downspouts, gutters need at least a quarter inch of slope for every 10 feet. Get on a ladder after a rainstorm and look in the gutter; if there’s standing water, it’s not pitched properly. If you cannot safely access your gutters, please call a professional.

Ice dams are often blamed on gutters, but it’s actually evidence of a problem with your attic or crawl space. This is usually a matter of poor ventilation or insulation, and you are at risk of damage to your roof regardless of whether a gutter is installed or not.

Read more: What’s an Ice Dam? How Do You Treat and Prevent Them?

Gutters 101

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Gutters are attached to the fascia running along the edge of your roof to catch rainwater and channel it through downspouts where it exits away from your home. They have a limited capacity and may overflow, but they are still very effective at removing large volumes of water. Some homeowners even channel their gutters into tanks for garden use during dry weather.

Two main systems of rain gutters are available: sectional and seamless. Sectional gutters are easier to install, and more likely to be a do-it-yourself project, but they are more prone to develop leaks. Seamless gutters are usually professionally installed since they are cut to fit onsite. Both systems are available in a variety of styles and materials.

The cost of installing gutters

The cost varies depending on quantity, style, and materials. The average residential home has anywhere from 120 to 250 feet of rain gutters, depending on the number of stories and the amount of roof line.

According to Home Cost Helper, you may expect to pay around $3 to $5 per foot to have someone install vinyl gutters, and $4 to $9 per foot for aluminum – not including downspouts. Other materials include galvanized steel, copper, and wood. Certain custom jobs may cost more.

Installing and replacing gutters for your home is something you may be able to pull off as a DIY project. But pay careful attention to getting the slopes correct. Gutters that aren’t able to move waters effectively could cost you later.

How to Vet Your Installer

As you search for a contractor to install gutters, remember that it’s an inexpensive start-up business.

Be sure to ask the contractor about their training and experience.
Request and verify references from satisfied customers.

Get several estimates and be sure the quotes are for the same type and square footage of materials.

Get in Touch with RoofCrafters

RoofCrafters has provided Central Texas home and business owners with quality roofing work since 1981. For commercial clients, custom matching gutters are available as part of metal reroofing projects.

Have roof issues caused by faulty gutters? Looking for custom gutters as part of a commercial project? Get started with a local project planner today. Estimates are always free.

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