The Gutters Story – Facts & Fun

You 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 Force Washing we do several things to make sure your gutters are in top working order.
    1. We are careful not to disturb the gutter by not leaning against it.
    2. We make sure to clean them thoroughly removing all debris in buckets so that your grounds are kept clear and clean.
    3. 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.
    4. We assure that your gutters are secure and can fix them if they are not.
    5. We can replace existing gutters with brand new ones that are custom fitted to your home.
    6. We make sure your downspout is working appropriately carrying water away from you home and onto the ground.
    7. 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 Force Washing for help!

 

Can we say, frozen tundra gutter?                                      Miss Barbie fashioning her new moss hairdo.

 

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

 

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