Keeping a home in good repair is very important for any homeowner. It ensures that the home stays safe and comfortable for many years. It also helps to protect the value of the home and property. One important, yet often forgotten, part of home maintenance is taking care of the gutters.
What Are Gutters?
The home’s gutters are a system of channels that direct water away from the home. The gutters tend to go around the roof of a home to collect the water that runs off the roof. It is then directed to downspouts that keep the water from collecting around the home. Proper repairs and gutter cleaning are important to ensure this important task is completed.
If a home did not have gutters, the water from the rain would just pour down the roof and the sides of the home. This water would cause damage to the exterior walls of the home and collect in the ground surrounding the home. Eventually, this water would work its way into the basement or foundation of the home causing serious damage to the structure. Gutters prevent that from happening.
The Importance of Proper Gutter Maintenance
The gutters of a home must be in good repair to ensure they perform as they should. This means they must be free of debris and other clogs to allow the water to pass through with ease. In addition, they must be free of holes and have a proper slope to ensure the water flows to the downspout. The downspout must also be free from damage and debris to ensure the water is direct where it needs to be.
Debris and clogs in the gutters can allow water to pool or pour over the sides. If it is pouring over, it can damage siding and collect in the ground around the home, posing a risk to the foundation. If the water is pooling, it may be causing serious damage to the roof. This could lead to leaks in the home. Damaged or broken gutters can also pose similar risks to the home.
How Do Gutters Get Dirty?
The most common cause of gutters becoming dirty is from the fall leaves. As the leaves blow off trees, they can collect on the roof and in the gutters. Wind and storms can also cause various debris to be blown on the roof and collected in gutters throughout the year. Even birds and other animals may be responsible for the debris that ends up in the gutters.
Another common issue is if a tree hangs over a roof. If there are branches that hang over the roof or a tree near the home, leaves, twigs, and sap can all end up on the roof and wreak havoc on the gutters. Instead of cleaning the gutters once a year, twice or more may be required to keep the gutters working properly. Alternatively, the tree could be removed or trimmed to prevent the issue.
Clean, Repair, or Replace Gutters
Gather Materials for Cleaning
When planning to clean the gutters of the home, it is important to have the proper tools ready before beginning. A ladder is important to ensure that the homeowner can stand over and see into the gutters while cleaning to ensure all debris is removed and to identify problems.
Gloves are also helpful to grab the various debris safely. A garden hose will also be necessary to wash out the gutters. There are other tools that may be used when cleaning the gutters. There are tools and attachments that can be used to blow out the debris from the gutters. However, power washers are not recommended because the force could cause damage to the gutters.
For homes that are more than one store, it is recommended that a professional be called to clean the gutters properly. This is because they have all the proper equipment and training necessary to perform the job safely.
However, if the homeowner plans to perform the job, some safety should be considered to prevent damage and injury. First and foremost, do not work directly under any power lines near the roof. Also, only use a lean ladder and never a step ladder. Step ladders are not as stable for this type of job.
It is also a good idea to have someone else available when climbing a ladder. Doing the job alone can be dangerous. Someone to spot or even be available to call for help if an accident occurs can be a very important safety precaution.
With gloves on, leaves and other debris can be easily pulled from the gutters by hand. Start from the downspout. Remove and clean the downspout strainer. A trowel can be used to scoop compacted debris if necessary. For safety reasons, it is also a good idea to simply throw the debris on the grown below instead of trying to fumble with a bag or bucket while on a ladder.
After all the large debris has been removed, it is time to flush the gutters. Using a strong stream of water from the garden hose can help to loosen any remaining debris and wash it away. However, it is important to avoid spraying under the roof shingles. This could damage them.
Check and Clear Downspouts
The next step is to check to ensure that the water is flowing freely through the downspout. If there is a blockage, inserting a garden hose from the bottom may break up the clog. If necessary, a plumbing snake may be the perfect tool for clearing the clog.
Inspect Gutter Slope
It is also a good idea to check the slope of the gutter while cleaning. This is an easy process to perform. Simply flush the gutter with water again. If the water moves freely to the downspout, the slope is fine. However, if there is any pooling or standing water, there may be a problem.
Once the gutters are clear and working properly, other maintenance can be performed to benefit the home. Applying sealant around the seams and joints of gutters can help protect them from leaks. There are also gutter guards for sale online which you can choose from. Screens can also be added to the gutters to prevent debris from entering.
Cleaning and painting the outside of the gutters can also be performed to complete the finished look of a home. In most cases, gutter maintenance can be simply performed by any homeowner. However, if ever unsure, there are professionals available that can provide all the care gutters need.