Granules, Gutters, and Gravity
Gravity is a force that works on everything with mass. It is a force that multiplies by the mass of the objects it is acting on. Here on Earth the most mass exists within the Earth itself, and therefore Earth’s gravity exerts a significant force upon all other objects of mass upon it. What does that have to do with your gutters? Simple, your gutters have mass, and therefore cannot escape the force of gravity acting upon them by the Earth.
Your gutters are an extremely important component of your home. They catch and divert water away from susceptible areas of the home to prevent deterioration. Gutters must be attached to the eaves of your home by fasteners to catch water being shed from your roof and to prevent gravity from pulling them to the ground. These fasteners are designed to overcome the force of gravity acting upon the gutters to keep them secured in place. Some fastener types for gutters are better than others, but they all have limits to the amount of force they can withstand.
As more mass is added to the gutters by water during rainstorms, the force the fasteners must withstand increases. If the fasteners have been placed incorrectly, if there is not enough of them, or if the material they are fastened to deteriorates, their holding power may not be enough to withstand the force of gravity acting on gutters and the material in them. When the force of gravity exceeds the strength of the fasteners holding them in place, the fasteners fail, and down come your gutters.
Water isn’t the only matter that can add mass to your gutters. Asphalt shingles are coated with a ceramic granule to protect the organic underlayment from degradation by UV rays. The ceramic granules are heavy and can absorb or reflect most of the sun’s energy and keep it from breaking down the water proofing component of the shingle. As shingles age, or are poor in quality, damaged, or overheated due to improper roof ventilation, the granules become loose and wash away during rainstorms. As the granules enter the gutters, they deposit there and build up over time. This can add a lot of extra mass to your gutters. More mass means a stronger force of gravity acting upon them.
The gutter fasteners are only capable of withstanding a limited amount of gravitational pull. As they age, the material they are fastened to ages, or as they are exposed to prolonged stress, the force they can withstand lessens. The more mass that sits in your gutters for prolonged periods of time, the more likely the fasteners are to fail.
What does this mean for you? As a homeowner that wants to protect their investment and keep from having unnecessary expenses, you should have your roof evaluated and gutters cleaned regularly. A qualified professional will be able to keep track of the condition of your shingles, analyze your roof’s ventilation and attic insulation for potential problems, and keep your gutters clean of debris and additional mass that should not be there.
If your home is properly inspected and maintained, your roof and gutters will protect your home for a long period of time if not exposed to a storm or accidental damage. You can expect 30 to 35 years or more out of a quality asphalt shingle roof and gutter system that is properly installed and maintained. If you’re asking what is the cost of the maintenance to do that?… Roof It Right, LLC, a trusted Louisville roofing professional would be happy to provide you with a free estimate!