Cleaning the gutters is not fun – it’s physical work on a ladder with your hands in gunk. But neglected gutters aren’t any fun either. The lesser of the two evils is to keep your gutter system free of debris and in good repair. Here are some tips on how to maintain your gutters like a pro.
Reasons Gutters shouldn’t be Neglected
Gutters that are clogged, have a tendency to overflow. If they sag or are missing, they can cause serious problems. Since it’s not the most popular chore on a homeowner’s maintenance to-do list, perhaps the following reasons gutters shouldn’t be neglected will provide some much-needed motivation to maintain your gutter system regularly. These include but are not limited to:
- Water damage to interior ceilings and walls
- Water-logged or ruined landscaping
- A foundation that shifts and cracks
- Pest infestations
- Discolored or damaged siding
- Damaged roofing tiles
- Sagging gutters caused by debris adding weight to gutter channels
Gutter Pros Put Safety First
Before you tackle any gutter cleaning or gutter maintenance task make sure you’ll be safe. Do a walk-around to see if power lines will be a problem; check for any cables that connect from the ground to the roof.
Make sure the ladder is set up on even ground and is the required distance (not too far, not too close) from the side of the house.
Don’t climb a ladder without inspecting it first. A stepladder must be fully opened and secured before using it; the locks of an extendable ladder should be properly engaged.
Gutter Pros do Inspections
To maintain your gutters like a pro, inspect the gutters four times a year, once each season. You will be looking for gutters sections that are:
- Missing or loose
- Pulling away from the fascia
- Rusting, cracked or damaged in some way
Conduct at least one of your seasonal inspections when it’s raining to see how rainwater drains from the roof into the gutter system. Water should land directly into the gutters – if some rainwater slips in between the back of the gutter and the fascia (incorrect gutter slope? dented gutter section?), this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Gutter Pros make Repairs
The type of repairs you will need to make depends on the type of gutter material. Make sure you’re using the right kind of caulking or sealant. Small holes need to be filled in with roofing cement. Depending on the circumstance, the gutter sections of larger holes that cross seams might have to be stabilized first or replaced.
The cracked caulking of seams that leak water has to be removed then replaced with fresh caulking. The area where the repair is to be made should be clean and dry. First, scrape away any old caulking. Use the recommended sealant to fix the leak.
Ensure that all fasteners, screws, nails, gutter spikes, etc. are flush with the surface – if the heads are raised this is an indication that they are loose and working their way out. Replace old ones with new fasteners as soon as possible to prevent sagging gutter sections or overflowing gutters.
Gutter Pros Schedule Gutter Cleanings
A gutter professional is running a business, so naturally, they have a schedule. If you keep putting off cleaning the gutters, all of a sudden it’s three years down the road and the siding of the northwest corner of your home needs to be replaced because of wood rot, a slotted time for gutter cleaning will help you to make it a priority.
Like a professional gutter cleaning service, they come prepared to do the work. Schedule a time to clean the gutters and get everything you need ready the day before, including prep work like covering landscaping, closing and locking windows, etc.