If you own a home or are planning to build one the use of gutters and downspouts should be reviewed and given some serious consideration. As a resident and home inspector here in Southwest Florida I’ve seen what water can do to a home over an extended period of time. We live in an environment where afternoon thunderstorms are the norm. To many homeowners gutters and downspouts become an area to cut costs and this is unfortunate since they play an integral role in protecting our homes from the damaging effects of water. Properly installed gutters and downspouts can save money and a great deal of headaches down the road and are worth their installation costs many times over in my honest opinion. This post is meant to give homeowners a better understanding of their operation and just why they are so critical for proper water drainage.
Without gutters, during a rain storm the water flows down our roof structures, off the eave of the home, and lands near the base of the home. Over time this flow of water near the base of the home may erode the soil near the home resulting in a grade that back pitches towards the house. This can lead to pooling of water next the home, water intrusion into the home, and even possible settlement of the foundation in some instances. Another common occurrence is the deterioration of exterior doors and door frames from the constant contact of water flowing off the roof and landing at the base of the home. Most of these moisture problems can be avoided with the installation and proper maintenance of gutters and downspouts around the perimeter of the home. Gutters and downspouts will move the majority of rainwater away from the home either underground or into an approved drainage collection site. This proper water drainage can save a home from the damaging effects of water. If downspouts do discharge at grade level it is important to extend the downspouts a minimum of five feet away from the base of the home. This simple procedure will help prevent moisture from entering a home a reduce the damaging effects of water exposure over an extended period of time.
With proper gutters and downspouts installed it is equally important to properly maintain and clean the gutters and downspouts as often as necessary to ensure they function properly. There are several tools available on the market that are specifically designed to remove debris that naturally accumalates over time. Proper cleaning of your gutters and downspouts will ensure they function as intended for years to come. Here in Florida it is a good practice to clean your gutters twice a year in both spring and fall.
In the event that you need gutters and downspouts installed I recommend contacting a firm that specializes in their installation. While they are simple in their operation they require skill and sufficient manpower to properly install them. Once they are installed and are properly draining water away from your home you will be pleased. The cost to install gutters and downspouts will be worth the thousand of dollars in repairs and throbbing headaches that will likely be avoided down the road.