Often referred to as gutters, a properly installed and optimally-working eavestrough system carries run-off water from the roof via the gutters to the downspouts, which in turn direct that water away from the foundation of the home. The system is designed to protect your home from costly damage and water ingress; so if you have any concerns, it’s certainly best to address the situation sooner rather than later. A simple gutter cleaning or minor repair could make all the difference. Many homeowners are capable of maintaining their homes gutter system, but there are also many companies offering this type of service for your convenience.
Clearing out the Gunk
Many experts recommend gutter cleaning at least twice a year– once in the late spring and once in the late summer/early fall. But there are a few factors that might make you reconsider. If you have pine trees growing above your house, consider inspecting your gutters every 3 months. Without regular gutter cleaning, it will become full of debris making it hard for the rain to go down and that causes your gutters to back up and overflow, which can cause damage to your home. Gunked-up gutters also make nice homes for pests, rodents, mold and honeycombs from bee infestations. If you let gutter cleaning go by the wayside, it can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Most gutter leaks occur at the joints where two sections meet. To stop a leak, apply silicone sealant along the joint’s inside seams. Be sure to clean and thoroughly dry the seam first. Smooth out the silicone sealant edges so that they won’t collect debris.
Lift and straighten
Straighten a gutter by tightening the fastener that holds it to your house. The most common fastener is a spike driven through the gutter and into the end of a rafter. To lift a sagging section of gutter, strike the spike head up and in with a hammer to drive it deeper into the rafter. If the gutter is fastened with metal brackets, use pliers to bend the strap that bridges the gutter, and the gutter will perk up accordingly.
Repair small patches
During your seasonal gutter cleaning, you should also be inspecting your gutters for damage. If a gutter section is rusty and leaky, replace it. But if there’s just one bad spot, the few minutes it takes to patch it is time well spent. Just clean and dry the area of the leak. Follow the patch suppliers instructions for the patch material required (either fiberglass, or aluminum). Make sure to do this type of repair in dry weather for best results.
Extend the flow
If your downspout doesn’t empty into an underground drain, attach a few feet of extra downspout to an elbow at the bottom of the downspout to carry the runoff away from the foundation.
Screen out the debris
Using wire mesh screens to keep leaves out of gutters may seem like a smart idea. But leaves sometimes adhere to the screens and divert water over the gutters. These screens can also be tricky to remove when you want to clean your gutters. A more practical solution is to put a leaf strainer in the top of each downspout — just be sure to check them every couple of months to make sure they haven’t become clogged.