Doctors told us elbows were the smallest things to put into our ears when we are kids. Likewise, leaves should never enter eavestroughs and down-pipes, ideally speaking. But they do, because trees are so lovely in the garden, and they keep the heat off the house too.
Moreover, trees shield us from the neighbours, which is handy especially if they are noisy ones. In fact, they can create the illusion of living in the countryside far away from anyone.
Cutting a tree down is killing a living thing, and that’s not a green thing to do. Nowadays, we are learning how trees counter garden warming, by absorbing carbon dioxide and emitting the oxygen that we breathe.
If trees are our friends, then we should learn to live with them. Preventing their leaves from blocking eavestroughs is part of this. However this will always be an annual chore if we want to help avoid expensive repair bills later.
The Trade-Off Between Trees and Eavestroughs
Living in neighbourhoods with mature trees means they are going to deposit sticks, leaves, pine cones, and needles on our roofs. Gravity ensures this debris ends up in the gutters, with assistance from the wind and rain of course.
This debris gradually works its way down the gradient until it reaches the mouths of down-pipes. Eventually it blocks these, and sends rainwater cascading over and wetting windowpanes and doorways. When we reach this point, it is as if we have no eavestroughs at all.
The Next Stage Could End With Complete Replacement
The debris is surprisingly heavy when wet and lying in a flooded gutter. Moreover, it becomes a fertile breeding ground for saplings that can’t resist the damp, fertile compost. Over time, the screws holding the fascia can pull out, and send the entire system crashing to the ground.
If we can’t lay our hands on replacement parts for broken ones, then we may have to redo the entire installation. This is a fairly common problem among older houses in Calgary, especially those with mature gardens.
Maintenance is the Best Way to Prevent This Happening
We recommend clearing gutter lines at least once a year, and before the heavy rains come. While we do this we also inspect the installation and report back on any damage. Leaf guards can help, although they also need clearing occasionally.
If you ask for quotes for new guttering from several suppliers you’ll see the point of this. We’ll be happy if you ask us to do an annual gutter clean instead. We may also spot overhanging branches needing pruning, and will cast a view over the entire roof.
Images © Valiant Exteriors