Rain has plenty of fans, especially songwriters with umbrellas. But a good thing in abundance can start to feel like something else.

That something else? You're soaking in it.

Colorado's monsoon season isn't due to arrive until summer, but if you're feeling a little soggy from the spate of rainy days here in the Pikes Peak region, you're not alone. The weather's been especially tough on gutters, the homeowners who (didn't realize they) depend on them and the industry folk who install and service that easily overlooked, yet crucial, aspect of a home's exoskeleton.

"They save your foundation, also your fascia and soffits from rotting," said Bob Davis, an owner of JB Masters Gutter Service in Colorado Springs, which on a recent dreary Tuesday responded to 17 calls requesting gutter work of some degree. "Water can get down and flood basements, cause settling and cause structural problems for the next homeowner. It also rots the wood up top."

A proper gutter system routes water at least four feet from the home's foundation, Davis said. Problems can arise over time when a structure settles and the gutters become offset; other common issues are due to improper installation and the use of outdated materials, such as painted steel, which can rust, rather than powder-coated metal. New roofs constructed using popular, composite materials - less resilient than wood - can be especially vulnerable to the effects of a compromised gutter system.

"Good old-fashioned wood will last 20 years with water dripping on it," he said, "but builders often take the cheaper route. That's what I've run into a lot."

But the main reason homeowners end up having to call Davis to deal with their gutter problems is simple: lack of upkeep.

"People aren't really thrilled about getting up out of their comfort zone on ladders to clean their gutters and do the maintenance. It can be scary up there, walking next to a cliff," Davis said. "It's not as important if you don't have a lot of trees and foliage, but here in Colorado we have a mix of everything."

Homes on lots without trees can get away with a gutter cleaning every two years, said Davis, whose cleaning service starts at $225 for a standard two-story home.

"If you have trees, I would say you need to get up there at least twice a year, though," he said.

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Contact Stephanie Earls: 636-0364

Reporter

Stephanie Earls is a news reporter and columnist at The Gazette. Before moving to Colorado Springs in 2012, she worked for newspapers in upstate NY, WA, OR and at her hometown weekly in Berkeley Springs, WV, where she got her start in journalism.

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