WEB EXCLUSIVE: Preventing Problems Using Gutter Protection

This Web Exclusive article is contributed by Tim Croll, manager of business development for FXI Building Products Corporation, maker of Leaf Defier® gutter protection systems.

Clean gutters are a necessity for every facility. The failure to keep gutters free of obstructions and debris can lead to multiple problems that, in many cases, prove more timely and costly to fix than the initial preventive methods. This is because rainwater and moisture, if left unchecked and not properly funneled away from buildings, can:

  • increase stormwater runoff leading to overflows that cause landscaping erosion;
  • cause roof water overflows that may eventually cause foundation cracking;
  • produce biological pollutants such as mold; and
  • create conditions that invite insects, vermin and other pests to feed and nest.

As a result, an important component of facility management, but one that is often underused, is gutter protection. The fact is that few facility managers understand the full value of systems that dependably direct the flow of water away from their facilities.

Even if cleaned regularly, gutters can become clogged with obstacles ranging from twigs, leaves, and pine needles to seeds and acorns to animal remains. Consequently, this debris not only prevents the free flow of water from properties, it also creates a moisture-laden breeding ground for pests and other creatures.

Subsequently, studies have recently defined the importance of reliable and tested gutter protection products, which have been proven to direct the flow of water and particulates through gutter valleys, while eliminating obstructions. Properly maintained and monitored gutters can help prevent the formation of heavy sludge pockets that cause sags and other forms of water related damage.

In addition, gutter protection systems can also help eliminate threats to indoor air quality. This is because clogged gutters can cause seepage, which can lead to the growth of mold in drywall, sub-floors, carpets, and rooftops. As a result, quality protection systems can improve the interior environmental quality of structures by consistently funneling water away from rooftops and reducing the opportunity for moisture to penetrate building envelopes.

Research within the pest management field has also confirmed the potential benefits of gutter protection systems, which if used properly can change conducive conditions away from pests, critters, and insects and toward facility managers. For instance, recent tests have shown that effective systems can solve pest problems by keeping gutter pathways clear of potential food sources, while helping to prevent all forms of pests from entering the gutter cavity, including breeding insects such as mosquitoes and carpenter ants.

Subsequently, proper gutter protection strategies should become an integral element of the facility management process. Systems designed with high performance urethane polymers can be inserted into gutters to ensure obstructions and animal food sources are kept from entering and clogging gutter systems. As a result, water then flows readily through the foam filter insert, into the gutter valley, and out the downspout to virtually eliminate overflows and the myriad of potential problems that accompany overflows and the accumulation of stagnant water.