From the Desk of:
Jeff Remas, President
West Pittston, PA
Many of the homes that I inspect in the Poconos do not have gutters and I am very often asked if they are even necessary. Since there are differing opinions out there, let me tell give you my perspective.
The most common excuse for not installing gutters is fear of ice dams, but gutters are not to blame. Ice dams are primarily caused by faulty, inadequate or poor insulation and ventilation of attic or roof space, and often combined with poor roofing techniques. The purpose of this article, though, is to focus on why gutters are important.
A quality, professionally installed gutter system that keeps debris out of the gutter would be my first choice. They are more expensive than traditional gutters but worth their weight in gold if you do not have the time or ability to clean out your own gutters. If you don't keep them clean, it is often worse than not having them at all. Gutters can become blocked and weighted down with leaves and debris which makes them useless. The added weight of the overflowing water along with the water soaked debris pulls on the gutter hangars and damage the roof or fascia. Good gutter maintenance and cleaning is needed for them to function. The trimming of trees overhanging the roof would be a great start to decrease the amount of debris in gutters.
Here are a few problems associated with the lack of or damaged gutters:
Basement water problems Damaged or missing gutters can dump gallons of water directly onto the ground next to the foundation of the house. This water sometimes leaks through the foundation wall and can create water problems in the basement or crawl space.
Landscape washout Many homeowners have experienced damaged landscaping caused by problems with gutters.
Undermined driveways, patios, and walkways Excess water flowing into the ground near the house can erode the dirt directly beneath driveways, patios, and walkways. As the dirt is washed away, the driveway, patio, or walkway is no longer fully supported and can settle, crack, or even collapse. If you have already experienced this type of damage, fix the gutter or downspout problem before replacing or repairing the driveway, patio, or walkway.
Damaged fascia, soffit, or outside wall Problem gutters can cause damage to a house's structural integrity by allowing water to damage the fascia, soffit, or wood framing of the house.
Wood Destroying Insects Because wood destroying insects, such as carpenter ants and termites need water to reproduce and thrive, gutters which dump excess water near the house encourage insect infestation.
The bottom line is that gutters ARE needed and deserve your attention. Any questions?