A significant risk factor to your house (and to your family) can be avoided easily by making sure that your roof and gutters are maintained properly. The risk of which I am speaking is having standing water along the base of your house’s walls. Standing water, left for too long without being taken care of, can cause irreparable damage to the foundation of a building. Not only that, but pools of water are the natural breeding grounds of innumerable bacteria and parasitic insects such as mosquitos. In many areas of the United States, mosquitos are known to carry such debilitating – and even fatal –diseases as the West Nile virus, amongst others. However, ensuring proper drainage and protecting your home and family are easy to do if you follow the proper steps.
The most common source of improper drainage woes is the fact that the gutters on houses are neither cleaned nor repaired properly by their owners. As any professional roofer could tell you, gutters need to be cleaned at least annually and inspected regularly for leaks, stoppages, and damage. At the very least, a gutter that remains clogged can cause significant damage to both the roof and walls of your house. On top of causing a need for roof repair, those blocked gutters make it so that rain water does not flow correctly through the downspouts and off to where it is supposed to be drained. This often leads to water collecting at the base of a house’s walls, where it sits and soaks into the ground. Over time, that extra water will eat away at the cement or concrete in the walls of the foundation of the house. The damage – or disaster – that the weakening of a house’s foundations can cause is incalculable.
As I said above, the pooling water is also a breeding ground for disease and sickness. Just like a swamp, standing water in our yards allows for microbes and bacteria to breed in the conditions that they favor. Illnesses that can be fatal – like the above mentioned West Nile virus or amoebic dysentery – are caused by microscopic life that infests water that stands without flowing – just like the pools of water that sit at the base of a dysfunctional downspout. Imagine if your dog were to drink from a pool full of bacteria like that – or even worse, your or a neighbor’s child.
The simplest remedy for having water pool up around your house is to make sure that all of the gutters and drains are clear and functioning. It is a simple task for most roofers to check and adjust the alignment of your drains while they are doing work on your house, and a roofing contractor could be hired if you notice drain damage before you need to have any roofing done. This isn’t to say that all drainage problems are roofing related – it is still possible that you need to have some of your property re-graded. However, keeping track of how well your gutters are working is an excellent first step.