If you haven’t read Professional Roofer’s last riveting blog post about the most mysterious aspect of your roof (the soffit and fascia), we encourage you to go back and find it – we guarantee you’ll learn something! For our current blog series, we are writing about all the unique and interesting components of your roof, and the potential hazards or problems that might arise with them down the line. This time, we decided to discuss one of the better-known aspects of your roof: your eavestroughs and downpipes!
For those of you who aren’t quite sure of what eavestroughs and downspouts are, think of them as the “plumbing” of your roof. These components are installed along the edges of your roof to catch all the rain run-off and then carry the water down to the ground, away from your house so that you don’t end up with large muddy puddles, erosion, or flooding in and around your home. Pretty neat huh? We at Professional Roofers certainly think so!
Your eavestroughs are the “rain catching channels” that are set up parallel (or nearly parallel) to the ground along the edges of your roof. Once your gutters have collected rainwater, it travels along the system to the downpipes, a pipe or set of pipes that are set up perpendicular (or nearly perpendicular) to the edge of your roof. These pipes then carry the rainwater to the ground and away from your home. It is simplistic efficiency at its best.
Unfortunately for us, eavestroughs don’t just collect water – they also collect litter and debris that might fall onto your roof from nearby trees or be blown there during major storms. The primary cause of eavestrough or downspout problems is excess litter or debris building up and blocking drainage. When your eavestroughs or downspouts are fully or partially blocked, water will spill over, sometimes running down the side of your home, potentially causing water damage along the way.
For this reason, most eavestroughs will also have gutter guards in place, which are essentially grates that prevent litter and debris from blocking your gutters and preventing the rainwater from flowing away from your home. Litter can still build up on top of your gutter guards, so you do still need to clean your gutters regularly; however, with proper gutter guard performance, your downspouts should never become clogged.
It is important to perform regular maintenance checks on your gutter system – along with the rest of your roof. The materials used to create most modern homes’ eavestroughs, downpipes and gutter guards tend to be relatively strong, but also incredibly lightweight. If you endure a particularly trying storm, or have wildlife nearby, it is possible your drainpipes will become dislodged or broken. Wildlife like racoons (an animal incredibly common in the GTA) sometimes climb downspouts and eavestroughs to try to gain access to a home’s roof or attic space. In the process, these animals will often damage or ruin your roofing components with absolutely no regard for how much care or money you have invested in your home. The nerve!