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There are many things on a homeowner’s to-do list when it comes to home maintenance. Some of the tasks are menacing but something you should take seriously to keep your home from a significant problem that can cost thousands to remediate. Let’s talk about one of the most underrated aspects of house maintenance today, clean gutters before winter and roof de-mossing.

At first glance it may seem like something that is not very important or is easily forgotten because let’s be honest, when do we ever go up on the roof?

Here on beautiful Vancouver Island, we are surrounded my vast and beautiful trees that paint the ground in the most beautiful brown, red, orange, and yellow color during the fall months. This natural beauty gives us a warm cozy feeling and makes for beautiful fall themed photos, but it also means that these leaves are falling on our roof and clogging up your gutters.



 It is very important to ensure your roof and gutters are properly cleaned so that the excess water coming off your roof proceeds away from your home instead of coming inside. If your gutters happen to get clogged with leaves, pine needles, and branches, then there is the potential for water to ingress into your home and into your home’s foundation.

You should have your roof & gutters cleaned a minimum of once a year depending on the number of trees surrounding your home.

Along with cleaning your gutters, your roof should be cleaned of all debris including leaves, pine needles, branches etc. A build-up of debris on your roof can cause leaks by forcing water in directions it shouldn’t travel. Common leaks caused by debris build-up, such as moss, occur most commonly around skylights, chimneys, and valleys. When it comes to cleaning your gutters, you have two choices, hire a professional or dive into the “do it yourself” method (DIY).

Although we don’t have extreme cold and freezing temperatures for an extended period of time here in Nanaimo, we do get a lot of rain and when it does get cold enough to freeze, the large amount of water building up in a clogged gutter can freeze up causing an Ice Dam. Keep reading to dive into what ice dams are and the effects they can have on your home.

This is not the only concern with a congested gutter system though. When your gutters become clogged, water will be unable to properly divert away from your home. Instead, the water will spill over the side of your gutters, potentially leading to a number of different issues like foundation damage, structural issues, mold and mildew and basement flooding.



An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.


WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS? (Boy are we glad you asked!)

Moisture ingress is the number 1 thing we see when people do not clean the gutters on their home. Moisture entering the home from ice dams can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. These can cause respiratory problems. It can also and will most likely cause extensive damage to your interior walls, which is not always visible on the surface but over time can cause rot, mold, deterioration and other problems.



Next is your foundation and the perimeter surrounding your home. Having excess water pouring down around your home’s exterior can mean that your perimeter drains become overused and will not move the water away from the home effectively. Water butting up against the exterior of the foundation is more than likely exerting stress on your foundation walls, and can cause them to crack, overtime you will notice more and more water in your crawlspace or basement.

Another issue this can have on your home is the roof damage that is caused by the freezing water or even free running water, all because the gutters where congested. As water seeps between shingles and freezes, it expands, loosening the shingles and penetrating through the layers of the roof until you have a leak and interior water damage.

Water is a heavy material, and when an excess builds up it will put an extra strain on the gutters causing them to sag or otherwise fall out of alignment. It becomes an ongoing process in which each step causes itself to become worse until the gutters suffer a complete failure.



Gutter cleaning, if done regularly, is not overly time consuming and is affordable, especially if done by a professional once or twice a year and not just when there’s an issue. If you are on Vancouver Island and needing assistance cleaning your gutters or looking for someone who can do your roof de-mossing and exterior cleaning, we recommend giving Vancouver Island Moss Removal a call as they are well known for doing a thorough job for a reasonable price. Here at Discovery Home Inspections, we see clogged up gutters and mossy rooftops fairly often during our home inspections. Having them cleaned before selling is always a good time, but not the only time it should be done!

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