Rain gutters can make you smile or frown. It depends on their condition. Installed to channel rain water away from the roof, straight into the downspout and far from the house, they do prevent damage. But if they are clogged or damaged, they do more harm than good.
Roof damage may happen for all sorts of reasons – heavy impact, improper roof installation, poor quality shingles, old age, no maintenance, you name it. Don’t forget that the roof system consists of many parts, and one affects the other. It all has to do with the attic ventilation and insulation as well. If there’s none, there’s a possibility of mold growth which will gradually affect the roof too.
Clearly, the enemies of your roof are not limited to just one. But here we are going to address the question of gutters and guards. That’s because the gutter installation is done for the protection of the roof and the building, but may become the foe. And when it comes to the rain gutter guards, there’s still a debate on whether they are worth installing or not.
So, let’s climb up to our roofs to check the gutters.
With rain gutter installation, you should have peace of mind
The rainwater falls on your roof and ends up in the gutters to start its journey back to mother earth. And so, the gutter system and the downspout play the vital role of transporting the rainwater. When the water is properly channeled off the roof and away from the house, there’s no damage.
So, when there’s a risk that the gutters may affect the roof?
When the gutters are installed wrong or are wrong, there’ll be a problem
A bad rain gutter installation will create a problem to your roof. If the gutters tilt backward, they may overflow. The inclination of the gutters determines whether or not the rainwater travels quickly into the downspout. And so, the bad installation of the gutters can cause roof problems.
It’s also important that the gutters are of the correct size – based on the roof. If they are not big enough to handle the runoff, the water will overflow.
When there’s gutter damage, there’s roof damage
And then, there’s the possibility of gutter damage. Gutters may get old and naturally wear. If they are not seamless gutters, their joins may crack leading water to different directions.
When the gutters are filthy, the roof is threatened
Gutter cleaning goes a long way into keeping the roof intact. Water overflows when the gutters are filled with leaves, twigs, debris, pests, and anything that finds its way into the gutters. Such problems are kind of unavoidable. So, there’s no question of whether or not gutter cleaning is needed, but on how often it must take place.
This is determined by several factors, too. If there are no trees around your house and the location doesn’t experience heavy storms often, your gutters may not need cleaning as often as homes located under trees in very stormy areas.
But there’s also the question of gutter guards and how they affect gutter maintenance and the roof condition. Let’s see.
The role of guards to the prevention of roof damage
There’s an argument on whether the rain gutter guards are actually helpful or not. Their job is to act like screens that protect gutters from getting filthy. If we assume that they were perfect and did keep all flying objects and debris from gathering in the gutters, it would be perfect. Why? Because the gutters would stay clean for their entire lifespan and so the rainwater would never overflow threatening the condition of the roof.
But gutter guards are not perfect. They may prevent big pieces from finding their way in the gutters, but they cannot keep debris out. Some twigs are still found in the gutters, even if they are protected by guards. So, if the guards are really good, they may keep the gutters clean for long but the gutters will still need cleaning at some point.
The whole point is to keep water running off the roof though the gutters. The gutter and to some extent, the guards too, play a role in keeping the roof from getting damaged. But if they keep the water from flowing due to their bad installation, damage, or filthiness, the water will eventually damage the fascia and soffit. It will also damage the shingles and may leak into your home.