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How Cleaning Your Gutters Can Save Your Wood Floors

Learn in this article how keeping your gutters free of debris can save your wood floors!

You may find it hard to believe that the gutters outside your home can affect the flooring inside. They are indeed connected as their proper function is to capture excess rain water and divert it away from the home’s walls and foundation.

Properly maintained rain gutters and landscaping around your home allows water to flow away from your home keeping it dry and free of damage.

Broken, clogged, or improperly draining gutters allows rainwater to run down the walls, pool next to the house, and seep into the foundation.

The increased moisture absorbed into your concrete slab or foundation walls can damage wooden wall structures and migrate into your flooring.

Graphic header about how excess moisture can damage hardwood floors

Excess moisture in a foundation or basement can damage wood floors.

It’s not hard to tell if there is excess moisture in your wood floors.

Water and wood don’t mix!

Common signs of excess moisture in your wood floors can include:

  1. Expanding, cupping, crowning, or buckling of flooring boards.
  2. Squeaking, popping, or other noise caused by boards moving against adjacent boards and loosened fasteners in the floor.
  3. Adhesive failure, hollow spots, and boards coming loose from the subfloor.
  4. Delamination between layers of engineered flooring.

Excess moisture can cause real damage to your wood floors and other parts of your home, including flooded basements, mold, and more.

The best way to prevent water coming into your home is to direct it away from your home.

Properly functioning, clean gutters and downspouts that direct rainwater at least 5 feet away from your home is one of the best ways to keep your floors dry.

Graphic header about tips for keeping gutters and downspouts working

Tips for keeping gutters and downspouts working well

It’s not hard or expensive to clean your gutters. Investing a couple hours 2-3 times a year to check that everything is working properly will protect your home and wood floors.

Follow these inexpensive and easy steps to protect your home and your wood floors from excess moisture:

  1. Clean gutters at least twice a year; in Spring when trees are flowering and in Autumn when leaves have fallen.
  2. Check downspouts for obstructions.  Replace or repair any broken or damaged sections.
  3. During a storm, check that water isn’t flowing over your gutters. This is a sign of a clog, or perhaps that the gutters are not installed at a proper angle to allow for sufficient flow and drainage.  Better yet, before storms arrive, check proper drainage by running water from a garden hose into the gutters.
  4. Add extensions to downspouts to keep water from pooling into the ground next to your foundation. Ensure at least 4-5 feet extensions are in place diverting water flow away from your home.
  5. Maintain landscaping around your home. The ground adjacent to your home should slope down and away from your home so that water doesn’t pool next to your foundation.  Maintain at least 6-8 inches height difference between the outside ground level and the inside flooring height.  Adding too much mulch or bedding outside can manifest into a moisture problem inside.

Wood floors are a great investment in your home, and if maintained properly can last a lifetime.

Keeping your foundation dry, and the interior environment of your home stable is one of the best ways to protect your floors.

Find more helpful tips on cleaning, repairing, and maintaining wood floors here.

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