How to Keep Your Gutters and Drains Clean in the Fall

Most people don’t know how damaging natural debris can be. Although those beautiful autumn leaves look great, they can wreak havoc on a roof.

Debris Buildup and What Happens if it’s Ignored

All it takes is a little moisture and seemingly weightless leaves biodegrade into a wet, heavy mass that will clog your drains, block scuppers and invite mold, fungus and mildew. If they’re not taken care of swiftly, leaves and debris may lead to backed-up water, which further increases the load on the roof deck. Standing water is especially damaging, just 1-inch deep adds five pounds per-square-foot of live load on your roof. Eventually, standing water can leach the pliable properties out of some single-ply membranes, decreasing flexibility and the life of the roof.

During the winter, ponding becomes crucial when water freezes and expands, forcing its way into any cracks or under flashings. The added weight of the ice may cause serious structural damage and force you to make costly repairs, or – in the most extreme cases – even collapse the roof.

Preventative Maintenance Helps Reduce Risk

In the fall, frequent checks and swift debris-removal are necessary to prevent blockage and buildup. Areas of standing water are indicators of blocked drains. Partially blocked drains allow water flow, so even if you can’t see standing water that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re free of a drainage problem. Staining of the roof’s surface could also be an indicator of ponding, which is a red flag. Not every problem caused by leaves and other debris is apparent to the untrained eye so it’s vital to have a qualified roofing professional take a look.

Drains and gutters should be cleared now — before frigid temperatures can turn soggy leaf debris into frozen blockages.

Professional Analysis

In addition to disposing of leaves and debris, a qualified roofing specialist will water-test both internal and external drains and inspect gutters and downspouts. While they’re at it – they’ll check the little things that can escape the notice of a maintenance crew, such as examining strainers to ensure that they are in place and that the bolts holding them are secure. It takes a trained eye to recognize early problems with sealants, flashings, mortar, seams and penetrations. Gutters and downspouts should be checked for sagging, loose connections and broken or missing fasteners.

Little Buckaroo Construction is an experienced roofing contractor in Boise, Idaho.

Call Little Buckaroo Construction today and have our team inspect any of the concerns you have with your roof. Our caring, friendly professionals will provide you with a free estimate.

Call us at 1 (208) 869-3926 or email us at We are waiting to help you!