When problems seem to be occurring over and over again, it may be time to replace your gutters. The life expectancy of an average aluminum gutter is about 20-30 years or longer, but it all depends on the maintenance and the care that you take putting ladders up against them. Copper gutters may last 50yrs and steel may only last 20yrs or less, it just all depends on the climate and maintenance.
When debris accumulation happens, loose debris from trees, or what else may be around your gutter, begins to decompose and then that mats down and turns into a solid sheet as it becomes damp and that can clog your gutter.
Accumulated debris caused by the clogged gutters is extremely bad for the roof which accelerates wear and can back up water under the shingles. It can also create a solid bridge over the top of the gutter that can send water rushing over the edge.
Clogged gutters can cause many different problems which include: basement flooding, foundation cracking, soil erosion, dry rot, paint damage, window, door and siding damage, mold and finally as said before it can cause a fire.
Some common causes of gutter damage include: seams splitting apart, ice forming, animal infestation, stains caused by constant overflows, storm and tree damage, and something as simple as leaning a ladder against the gutter.
It doesn’t matter what type of gutter system you have, gutters and roofs need maintenance. If you have open rain gutters, they should be cleaned at least twice a year: Spring and Fall. Depending on weather conditions, an extra cleaning or two wouldn’t hurt. If you have a low-sloped roof, even a leaf protection system won’t stop debris from collecting. With or without a protection system, maintenance IS required. A simple cleaning with a broom or blower is all that you need. That loose debris in the gutters is a fire hazard. If you cannot do any of this safely, call a contractor or install a system that offers leaf protection.