General Gutter Maintenance

All gutters require maintenance. It’s just a matter of how much maintenance yours will require. Maintenance is the key to keeping your gutters free of debris and in tip top shape so they can do the job you expect them to do. That job is keeping your house free from water damage by catching the rain water as it flows off your roof and directing it through the gutter and down the downspout ultimately releasing it away from your house or into your city’s drainage systems.

There are many factors that determine the amount of maintenance your gutters will need. Below are a few things to consider when determining your maintenance needs:

       – The number of trees around your home
       – The type of trees around your home
       – The age of your gutters
       – The types of animals such as birds and squirrels around your house
       – Weather conditions

The more trees you have around your home the more often you will need to clean your gutters. Leaves and sticks can quickly build up in your gutters and cause clogs which can lead to damage. Walk around your house and check for overhanging trees. You should have trees trimmed back so they don’t hang over your roof.

The types of trees around your home is also a factor in determining how often your gutters will need to be cleaned. For instance tall pine trees drop pine needles that can easily fill your gutters causing them to clog. Pine needles tend to fall throughout the year. Other types of trees drop nuts and buds in the spring as well as their leaves in the fall. You just need to be aware of the types of trees around your home and when you can expect debris to fall from them.

The age of your gutters should be considered when planning your maintenance. If gutters are older you should inspect them more closely then you would new gutters. The first thing you should do when inspecting your gutters is to check the fascia boards to make sure there is no sign of rotting. If there is you will need to remove your gutter and replace or repair the fascia board that is rotting. If the fascia boards appear to be ok the next thing you should do is to check all of the supports to make sure the gutters are securely fastened to the fascia board. There should be a support attached at every other rafter tail along the gutter. If you come across any loose supports you should fix or replace these supports in order to prevent the gutter from sagging or pulling away from the house. You can purchase ferrules (the spacers in the gutter) and spikes or screws that go through them, the fascia board and into the rafter tail by clicking here or at any hardware store that sells gutter accessories. Once you are sure the gutters are securely attached to the fascia board and rafter tails you should check the seams to make sure they are properly chaulked so the gutters won’t leak. If the chaulking appear to be old and cracked you should remove it and reapply fresh chaulk to ensure a good seal. You should also check for holes in the gutters and missing rivets around the downspouts and corners. All holes should be repaired and any missing rivets replaced. You can purchase a rivet tool and replacement rivets by clicking here or at any hardware store for a minimal cost. Place the rivets in the hole where the missing rivet was located.

You should be aware of animals around your house that can drop debris in your gutters. Squirrels and birds can build nests in your gutters that can clog them quickly if you don’t take care of the nests right away. Look for any sign of a nest while you are inspecting your gutters.

Weather conditions also have an affect on your gutters. Storms can blow leaves and debris into your gutters even if you don’t have trees next to your house. Wind can damage your gutters and loosen them. Snow and ice can cause damage to your gutters as well. If your gutters are clogged ice can build up inside them and weigh them down which in turn can cause them to pull away from your house. You should always inspect your gutters after a hard storm or after a long cold winter to make sure they are free of debris and remain securely attached to your house.

It goes without saying that part of your maintenance should include cleaning your gutters. Your gutters should be cleaned regularly in order to keep them free of debris. The number of times during the year in which you should clean them depends on many of the situations I have talked about above. Every house is different and yours is no exception. You will get an idea of how often they will need to be cleaned by keeping an eye on them throughout the year and cleaning them out when they start gathering debris.

As you can see there is a lot more to maintaining your gutters than just cleaning them out every once in a while. You can avoid major problems by inspecting your gutters regularly and making small repairs as issues develop before a problem has a chance to grow into a situation that will end up costing you thousands of dollars to repair.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please feel free to leave a comment below.


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