Gutters are designed to channel roof water (from rainfall or melting snow and ice) into appropriate drainage channels. When they get clogged up with debris, they fail in their duties. Most people mention basement or foundation damage as the main consequence of dirty gutters, which may be true. However, dirty gutters can also damage your roof in several ways such as:
Dirty gutters can lead to serious damage to your roof shingles. This kind of damage mostly occurs during the winter season. When debris clogs the gutters, the roof water that is supposed to be channeled to the correct drainage pipes backs up in the gutter. The water then gets underneath the shingles, freezes, and then expands. When this happens, the shingles may crack and fall off the roof or become liable to wind damage.
Apart from shingle damage, clogged gutters can also lead to roof leaks. Remember, roofs are designed to facilitate the downward flow of water. If this doesn't happen fast enough, then the water starts to soak between the shingles, damage the underlayment, and leak into the house. There is no limit to the damage water can do once it gets into the house.
Leaving your gutters dirty can also inflict a lot of damage on your fascia boards. This happens when the debris in the gutter piles up and holds enough water or moisture to keep the board wet. As you know, moisture is a good rot accelerant, and soon you will need a new fascia. In fact, the moisture may even affect your roof's framing and sheathing.
Even if there isn't a lot of rainfall or water from falling snow, the damage can still happen. How? The debris has a wicking effect and brings water down to the bottom of the fascia. The resulting damage can be expensive to fix.
Lastly, the debris may even contribute to the damage of your gutters. The moisture will corrode the fasteners and loosen them. In addition, the weight of the debris may also contribute to this loosening. In the end, you will have to repair or replace your gutter, something that you could have easily avoided by simple cleaning.
These are only a few examples of how damage much dirty gutters can do to your roof system. Cleaning gutters can be a DIY project, or you can hire gutter cleaners to do it. However, gutter damage should only be handled by a professional roofer, such as Jerry Newman Roofing & Remodeling, Inc.