As the last few leaves prepare to float to the ground and the air becomes crisp, you know it’s the time of transition between fall and winter. Though we find ourselves already in November, there’s still time to sneak in those last-minute tasks that help keep your house in top condition before winter sets in. Let’s look at why cleaning the rain gutters of your historic brick home is one of those essential jobs that should be crossed off your to-do list as soon as possible.
Why You Need to Clean Your Gutters
Many of those beautiful autumn leaves end up on your roof or in your gutters. As the autumn rain creates a soggy clump of leaf debris, it can clog your gutter drainage points and create hazards to the roof and to your historic brick home.
Clogged gutters can’t move water from the house, leading to overflow. When water spills out over your gutters, it collects around your home's foundation. This can cause cracking, settling, shifting and bulging. These can be serious structural problems which are quite expensive to fix. Keeping your gutters clear is a simple, efficient way to maintain the structure of your house.
Water Can Damage More Than Just Foundations
Overflowing gutters allow water to trickle down your brick walls, finding its way into the smallest cracks. Not only can this excess moisture damage your historic brick and mortar, but it can also cause interior damage. Water damage on interior walls will show as brown streaks, peeling or bubbling paint, and wet carpet where it meets the wall. This creates the perfect conditions for mold, which can be a severe health hazard.
Roof shingles are meant to keep water out of your home—but that only works if the water comes from above the roof. When gutters overflow, water can be forced under the shingles, and it will find gaps in the underlayment of your roof. This can cause leaks into your attic, stain your ceilings with brown water spots, damage your walls and flooring, and provide plenty of areas for mold and mildew to form. It can also be the catalyst for the formation of ice dams in the winter, which will further damage your roof and present falling ice hazards that compromise your safety.
Should You Clean the Gutters Yourself?
Gutter cleaning isn’t a particularly glamorous task, but it’s essential to get it done to prevent expensive repairs and maintain your home's curb appeal. Before you tackle the job yourself, you should consider a few critical issues.
First, cleaning the gutters means working on ladders, and unless you have the training, experience and equipment to perform the job safely, it’s best to call in the professionals and keep yourself out of danger.
Next, evaluate if you have the skill set to identify any problems as you go along. Professionals can spot problems with soffit and fascia, rooflines, shingles, brick and gutters. They can identify issues in the early stages, enabling solutions to be found before any serious harm occurs. If there are problems with your brick, a historic home specialist can make repairs using traditional tuckpointing methods, protecting your home and stopping further damage.
Finally, do you have the time to do the job properly? Gutter cleaning is messy and can lead to debris on the ground, which can lead to a secondary clean-up job. The gutters must be emptied, cleaned, rinsed, inspected and tested to ensure they work as intended. A professional gutter cleaning service will save you time and money.
To gain further peace of mind, speak with an expert on historic bricks, who can identify problems and offer appropriate solutions that will keep your home structurally sound for years to come. Contact Renaissance Development for a complimentary consultation.