One of the most overlooked exterior finishing elements is the gutter system. In order to protect a home from water damage, gutters need to be regularly maintained. But for many homeowners, gutter cleaning falls into the out-of-site-out-of-mind category. Here are some common myths about rain gutters that might be preventing you from maintaining your gutters the way you should.
Making the Gutter Debris-Free
Just making the gutter system debris-free is not good enough. It’s great you clean them, but if you stop there, you are setting yourself up for overflowing gutters that might lead to problems such as a cracked foundation, mold or mildew growth on siding, and rotted soffit and fascia. In between cleanings, especially after stormy weather, the gutter system should be inspected for:
- worn seams and joints
- leaking corners
- blocked downspouts
- clogs or debris buildup
- loose or damaged hardware
Cleaned Twice a Year
Most people are aware of the twice a year gutter cleaning rule – once in the spring, then again in the fall. While this rule applies to a wide spectrum of homeowners, how often the gutters need cleaning depends on several factors including where you live (near a factory or farm), the amount of rainfall in your area, and the size of your roof. A homeowner who believes that cleaning the gutters once a year is adequate overlooks just how much damage seasonal weather can do in between annual cleanings.
Doesn’t Matter When
Another commonly held myth about gutters is that it doesn’t matter when in the spring or fall they are cleaned. But it does. It makes sense to clean them at the beginning of the spring season when the weather is nicer (in theory) and you get to find out how well they made it through winter. When it comes to gutter cleaning in the fall, it’s better to wait after the leaves have fallen. If you have more pines on your property, then waiting until nearly the end of autumn, weather permitting, will allow more time for the needles to drop.
Cleaning the Gutters Yourself
Many homeowners think that cleaning the gutters is like any other home maintenance chore. But don’t forget, you’re not on the ground, you’re up a ladder. If heights make you nervous or you don’t have the right tools or you don’t feel comfortable working on a ladder, probably the best solution is to hire a gutter cleaning service.