You walk or drive by them every day, your own home even has them, but how much thought do you give to those metal or plastic pipes that run along the edge of your roof and down the side of your house?
We’re talking about gutters of course, and here in St. Louis, we receive on average some sort of precipitation 105 days out of the year, so it is essential to keep your gutters clean.
But have you ever caught yourself wondering ‘why are gutters important?’ Continue reading for a brief history of gutters, their purpose, and what you can do to ensure the longevity of your home.
History of Gutters
The first gutter systems date back to as early as 3000 BC when ancient civilizations would use brick and clay as a way to dispose of sewage. Over time these gutter systems have seen many transformations, one of the more popular being the gargoyle.
We have become accustomed to seeing many spooky decorations around Halloween. Ghosts, spiders, tombstones, and even gargoyles are known to appear on a few porches. But did you know that gargoyles also once served a purpose other than trying to scare away little children on Halloween?
The gargoyle was designed for two purposes, to ward off evil spirits, which explains their ugly appearance, and to funnel rainwater away from architectural buildings to aid in erosion control. Gargoyles typically have wide mouths for the drain spout and have been discovered during ancient times in Greece and Egypt.
During the Middle Ages, Gargoyles became a popular site to see among cathedrals and other important architectural buildings. One popular place today where you can see over 100 gargoyles and grotesques is the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
There is one gargoyle, in particular, that might pique your interest, as it was donated by our state of Missouri in the 1970s. The gargoyle is a bear that represents the bear on the state seal of Missouri and holds the infamous arch of St. Louis.
Why Are Gutters Important?
The aluminum gutters that are seen now on most homes, were popularized in the 1960s, but what purpose do they serve? Gutters of ancient times served the same purpose they do today, to stop erosion, help with foundation and roof issues, and even control the insect populations and prevent mold. Let’s look at some of these separately.
The sole purpose of a gutter system is to keep the rainwater away from your home. If there are cracks or other issues with your gutters, this can lead to the walls of your home cracking or cause your siding to deteriorate.
Water can also build up around the base of your house causing water to seep in, and the last thing you want to end up with is a flooded basement. These foundation problems can easily be solved by maintaining optimal gutter maintenance.
Once the water has made it to your basement, it is a safe assumption to say you now could have mold damage, and that can be a problem in and of its own. If your basement does flood, it might be a good idea to pick up a mold detector since many health risks come with mold damage in the home.
Problems with your Roof
One of the leading causes of roof damage is the failure to keep gutters clean. Failing to clean out your gutter system can result in the pooling up of water on the roof which can cause major damage to your shingles. This happens when the water in your gutters becomes blocked and has nowhere to go.
If you find yourself needing to replace your roof due to water damage, check out tile roofing. Tiles are leakproof, durable, and low maintenance, saving you long-term expenses.
Another reason you may be asking ‘why are gutters important?’ is because having clean, well-working gutters can minimize pooling leaving you with a lesser insect problem.
If you find yourself having an overabundance of mosquitos and other pesky insects, it could be a gutter issue. Mosquitos require very little water to breed in, and what better of a breeding ground than debris and water filled-gutters. You know what a challenge mosquitos can be in St. Louis, so keep the gutters clean!
You may be unaware of this, but failing to clean and maintain your gutters can result in damage to the gutters themselves. Gutters are meant to have water flow through them, not become trapped and bogged down by the weight of debris and water. Over time, that weight can cause your gutters to crack or even burst.
Maintain Clean Gutters
Maintaining proper cleaning of your gutters is vital if you do not want to pay high prices in other areas of your home later. A good rule of thumb is to clean out your gutters after any storm, and in the winter, make sure gutters are clear of ice that could be blocking the flow of water. There are a few ways you can go about keeping your gutters clean.
Clean Them Yourself
If you choose to clean them yourself, you will need a plastic gutter scoop and a ladder, but make sure someone is there to spot-check you so you don’t have any accidents. This may not be ideal if you are afraid of heights.
Hire a Professional
You can hire someone to clean them for you, but this could become rather expensive over time, as you will need to call someone several times a year to maintain optimal erosion control for your home.
If you want your home to live a long maintenance-free life due to maintaining your gutter system, then gutter covers can be an excellent way to achieve this. Gutter covers will protect your gutters from leaves, sticks, and other debris that can build up over time.
Gutter covers provide reduced maintenance which may only require you to have them inspected twice a year, giving you some added free time all year long.
We’re Here for You
So why are gutters important? The upkeep of your home should be a top priority to ensure that you maintain low upkeep costs when possible.
If you are struggling with your gutters and want to learn more about what you can do to protect your home from erosion and other foundational problems, then contact Fredrick Roofing Company.
We have been serving the St. Louis area for nearly 9 decades and look forward to serving you, so contact us today for a fair quote from a roofing company you can trust!