The Gutters Story – Facts & Fun

Forcewashing - Gutter Season in Vancouver WA

The Gutters Story – Facts & Fun

Forcewashing - Gutter Season in Vancouver WAYou know how you can tell if someone is from the Pacific Northwest?  They walk in the rain with a hooded jacket and there are few umbrellas in sight.  That’s because we know the rain will eventually stop and its usually a gentle rain that waters the grounds and trees. In heavy rain we stay indoors.

The Pacific Northwest has its season for rains, and that season is starting.  This means two things, finding the right amount of clothes layering to keep you dry and time to clean the gutters! But what if you don’t know anything about gutters? Let’s discover more about gutters together with a bit of fun thrown in, because we can all use a giggle every now and then.

Where did gutters come from?

A gutter is simply a trough that collects rain runoff and channels the water toward your downspouts which carries it to the ground away from your home and foundation. In earlier times, rain water was collected in barrels which was used to water crops, drink from and sometimes even bathe with. Cedar wooden gutters and downspouts were created to make this process of gathering the water more efficient. They soon found out that they had to line the wood with zinc to help it last longer as the wood would get waterlogged and begin to break down.

As we progressed in the years, steel entered the scene for gutters because it was not only resistant to rotting, it was strong, but it was heavy and expensive – enter in the aluminum stage. A lightweight material that offered similar durability. In fact, a machine was developed to be able to generate an aluminum gutter in a matter of minutes to any length and all this without seams!  A product that is lighter, resistant to rotting, sturdy, but we can now add seamless which means it was even stronger and leak proof.

Most gutters today are the seamless aluminum type and come in a wide variety of colors to match your homes aesthetic. They connect to downspouts which carries the water either to a source that retains it and reuses it or distributes it safely away from your home.  Gutters and downspouts combined are an essential component to your home and should always be kept in good working order.

The Gutter Dilemma

Steel and aluminum gutters have an average lifespan of 20 years where as copper gutters have a 50-year average. This is determined by weather conditions, and proper routine maintenance.  Gathering the water from roofs and depositing it into a barrel or away from your home works only IF your gutters and downspouts are in good working order. What causes it from doing its job?  CLOGS! Any loose debris that is on your roof will flow with the rain into your gutters.  Debris such as dried leaves, acorns, and pine needles which we have a lot of in the Northwest can accumulate, decompose and compress inside your gutters.  If your gutters are not cleaned, debris can pile up and redirect the water from going through your gutter to a stream of water overflowing your gutters onto your home and foundation.  This can lead to serious damage such as siding damage, soil erosion, foundation cracking, basement flooding, dry rot of your fascia boards, roofs or soffits, water damage can also bring about mold that can quickly become a health hazard.  Dried debris in gutters are also considered a fire hazard and should be removed.

Close up view on clogged Rain Gutter in the rain.

Is this picture familiar?   Gutters can be sensitive if we aren’t careful and can easily get damaged from things like leaning ladders against gutters, overflowing gutters that haven’t been cleaned, collected water can freeze and expand breaking the gutter, and overflowing gutters can stain your gutter permanently making it look less appealing.  These are just to name a few, but all these challenges can be overcome and your gutters can be in excellent working order by following a few simple steps:

  • Get your gutters cleaned at minimum in the Fall every year. If you have trees surrounding your home, you may want to consider twice a year at minimum depending upon the debris that accumulates.
  • Use guards and screens that can be added to your gutters to keep debris out and can reduce or eliminate problems thereby lengthening the life of your gutters.
  • Keep the gutter cleaning to the professionals. At Forcewashing we do several things to make sure your gutters are in top working order.We are careful not to disturb the gutter by not leaning against it.
    1. We make sure to clean them thoroughly removing all debris in buckets so that your grounds are kept clear and clean.
    2. We can treat your gutters to assure that any mildew or mold is removed maintaining a healthy gutter and the water that goes through your gutter to your downspouts will also get this treatment.
    3. We assure that your gutters are secure and can fix them if they are not.
    4. We can replace existing gutters with brand new ones that are custom fitted to your home.
    5. We make sure your downspout is working appropriately carrying water away from you home and onto the ground.We offer a variety of solutions to reduce debris in your gutters like gutter screens and guards to name a few. Some of these solutions are more permanent which means a reduction in how often you have to clean your gutter – now that’s a solution worth hearing about!

The main point here is cleaning your gutters elongates the life of the gutter which in turn extends the life of your roof, which protects your home and keeps your family safe from the elements outside.

A funny thing happened when we clean gutters…

Plant debris, moss, water, even mold is a normal occurrence when we are cleaning gutters.  But there have been a few times when even we are surprised at what we found.  Please enjoy some of the ones that left an impression on us.

Fireworks in October?


“Where’s a frog to live?”


Thirsty anyone?


Jimmy got an A for his terrarium experiment. Dad didn’t laugh about it, instead he called Forcewashing for help!


Can we say, frozen tundra gutter? 


Miss Barbie fashioning her new moss hairdo.


Call Forcewashing today and let us help keep your gutters clean and in good working condition.

Close Encounters of the Roof & Gutter Kind

Frog Statue in Vancouver WA

Frog Statue in Vancouver WA

We strive to gain your business and your satisfaction with our work here at Forcewashing by cleaning your roofs, gutters, and driveways to perfection.  Every inch of detail is important to us; we maintain the highest quality of work and focus on making our customers happy; our reviews reflect that – thank you again to all of our wonderful customers.

Our work sometimes is a bit more challenging when we find things one wouldn’t expect to see on a roof, in a gutter, or on a driveway. But that doesn’t stop us from making sure that the work gets done right, the first time.

Please enjoy some of the more memorable moments in:

Close Encounters of the Roof and Gutter Kind


Driveway Brick Moss in Vancouver WAThe most common site is that of moss growing, but who knew Mother Nature could be as artistic with a driveway. This geometric pattern was so delicately placed around each brick it was hard to clean it…but duty calls and we erased Mother Nature’s palette. I’m sure she’s going to challenge us next year!


Plants growing in gutter in Vancouver WAPlants in solar gutter Vancouver WA Another interesting part of our job is finding hidden gardens in your gutters. We appreciate the gardening done by Mother Nature, using every aspect of every crevice to create new plants and moss.


Tiny Gutter Oasis in Vancouver WAIn these gutters is a garden oasis!


Frozen Gutters in Vancouver WAThis was one of our simplest jobs, a frozen block with debris popped out of the gutters with ease, sometimes Mother Nature can work with us in cleaning your gutters!


Animals living in gutter - Forcewashing Roof Cleaners in Vancouver WAThis friendly gentleman had a gorgeous home for a while, but wasn’t able to find his true love up there.  So we carefully took him to a nearby pond where he can enjoy searching for his one and only. We are happy to announce that the wedding will be in April of 2020 – the rainy season.


Objects in gutter removal - Forcewashing Roof Cleaners in Vancouver WAMiss Barbie is sporting a new hairstyle, it’s called Moss Brown. Notice how it gently flows on her head creating a beautiful moss like bob. Miss Barbie and her new doo was carefully brought back down, bob and all.


Tool lost on roof in Vancouver WA

Husband: “Honey, have you seen my tin snips? I was looking for them and couldn’t find them anywhere.”

Wife saying innocently: “Um, no dear I have no idea where they are”

Wife thinking to herself: All I wanted was to cut the rose bush and the thorns nicked my hand causing me to throw my hand up. But where did that silly tool go?


Shoe on roof in Vancouver WA

Mom: “Billy, get your shoes and let’s go to school, we’re late!”
Billy: “I don’t know where they are mom.”
Mom: “I put them somewhere to air out, check the roof!”


Animal waste on roof in Vancouver WAMary: “How’s your new Basenji dog doing? I hear they are real jumpers.”

June: “We love our dog; we’ve been training him to go potty in one specific area. The odd thing is, we haven’t found where he goes poo. But yes, he’s quite the jumper!”


There are also very beautiful things that we find that we are very careful with.

We hope you enjoyed our memorable moments of Close Encounters of the Roof and Gutter Kind.  As always, it is our pleasure to serve you and Mother Nature in finding safe places for all of our finds!

Gutter Guards – Are They Worth It?

Gutter guards Vancouver WA

Gutter guards Vancouver WAGutter Guards – Are They Worth It?

You’re worried about your gutters clogging up and for good reason. If you’ve seen our post on the consequences of not cleaning your gutters you sure know how important it is to keep them clean. Installing gutter guards may be one way for you to do this.

While clogged gutters can cause many different problems they’re also costly to replace. Replacing your gutters can cost anywhere from $4 to $30 per foot depending on severity and the type of gutters you want installed. Most projects range from $1,500 to $2,200.

To mitigate this costly risk you’re probably considering gutter guards to protect against buildup of large debris. Are gutter guards worth it? Find out more below…

The Cost

Similar to replacement, gutter guards can be expensive too. The cost per linear foot of a professional gutter guard installation can range from $7.50 to $10 depending on where you are and the size of your home. That cost can go up depending on the type of guards you get.

Are They Worth The Price?

Despite what you may have heard, gutter guards aren’t the end-all solution to keeping your gutters clean. They may protect against larger debris like leaves and branches but they often let in smaller debris like flower petals, moss, small leaves and buds.

This will still require you to get your gutters cleaned at least every one to two years, which can be a struggle if you’re doing it alone. However, they do mitigate the risk of your gutters clogging up.

Should You Get Gutter Guards?

The investment is significant but can be worth it if you’d like to hire professionals less or clean your gutters less. You can expect to spend less time scooping the nasty stuff out of your gutters and less time worrying about it.

The Bottom Line

Gutter guards can be a great investment from your home but it doesn’t mean you’ll avoid gutter cleaning. It’s also important to make sure you invest in quality gutter guards and have them professionally installed.

Gutter Cleaning & Consequences Of Not Getting It Done

Roof not taken care of Vancouver WA

Roof not taken care of Vancouver WAGutter Cleaning & Consequences Of Not Getting It Done

Gutters are often misrepresented and undervalued features of a home and so is gutter cleaning.

While they primarily serve as a way to safely direct and distribute water flowing off of your roof. And most of the time your gutters are doing a good job but it can get messy if they’re left uncared for.

Here are some consequences to highlight why gutter cleaning is so important. Keep these in mind whether you clean your own gutters or hire professionals.

The Foundation of Your Home May Be Harmed

When gutters are clogged and dirty it can cause water to overflow and spill alongside your home. When this happens, the water is no longer directed to safe drainage zones and can cause the ground to soften, weakening your homes foundation.

This is a problem because the soil around your home becomes softened, which can lead to foundation cracks, movement and in extreme cases structural failure. This is an even bigger risk during the colder months when water freezes.

The risk heightens even more if you have a basement. If enough water finds its way to your basement walls it can cause black mold, flooding and water damage.

All Your Landscaping Efforts Can be Wasted

When excess water falls from your roof due to your gutters being clogged, it can kill plants and grass directly beneath your roof. When these plants and grass die so do there roots that hold the soil together. After that it’s only a mater of time until the soil is washed away and unpleasant ditches start to form.

Gutter cleaning not only protects your house but your lawn and garden too!

Rotted Wood and Pests

As your gutters stay clogged and overflow more water stays stagnant in your gutters after the rain stops. The longer this water stays pooled up the higher the chance of wood rotting around it (gutters are normally attached to soft woods that rot easily.

When this wood begins to rot it makes it easier for other wood around it to rot as well. This starts to break down your homes exterior walls and leaves openings for pests like rodents and insects.

Insects like termites are especially attracted to rotting wood and decomposing plants making clogged gutters ideal nesting place for them. When the weather changes these insects will find a way into your home and start infesting.

The Bottom Line

It’s very important to stay up to date on gutter cleaning and not to overlook it. If you see any build up, take the time to clean it or call a professional to do it for you. Gutter cleaning is a necessary tasks to upkeep the longevity of your home.