How to Maintain Your Gutters

In Vancouver gutters are especially important. Rain gutters are a homeowner’s number one defense against water damage, including mold and erosion. Regular gutter maintenance can extend the life of your gutter system, allowing the roof to function properly and helping you to avoid costly repairs.

Scheduled Cleaning

Ideally, Vancouver gutters should be cleaned twice yearly, once in the spring and again in the fall after the trees have shed their leaves. If you have to get a gutter cleaner to clean them for you, but your budget will only allow for an annual professional cleaning, choose the fall to have it done. A build-up of twigs, leaves, and miscellaneous items like balls or birds’ nests can cause serious problems. It’s not just the potential for clogs and the resulting water damage it can cause: debris adds weight to the gutters, causing the gutter system to sag. Pooled water can also weigh rain gutters down.

If you intend on cleaning the gutters yourself, invest in a pair of good work gloves, safety goggles and basic gutter cleaning tools like a gutter scoop and a pressure hose or nozzle. Invest in a sturdy, outdoor ladder and use it safely. When clearing away the debris from gutters, don’t forget the downspout.

Check for Damage

Even if you have your gutters cleaned by professionals on a regular basis, plan to visually inspect the gutters and downspout from time to time. Particularly after heavy rainfall, hail or a windstorm, checking for damage might allow you to catch a small problem before it becomes a larger one. Look for: dents made by hail or windblown objects; sections of gutter or downpipe that have become loose; piles of junk trapped in the gutters; or areas of vinyl guttering that have become cracked, broken or discoloured.

In addition to visual inspections to check for damage, you should also regularly look for leaks. Common reasons for leaking gutters are: end caps were not properly sealed; seams in the gutter or downpipe have become worn; or areas have developed rust spots.

Make Small Repairs

Once you’ve discovered problems, plan on fixing them yourself or have a gutter specialist do it for you as soon as possible.

Sagging gutters: A gutter system should be fastened securely; if the rain gutters are pulling away from the structure, replace worn brackets or loose screws.
Standing water: Never drill a hole in a gutter so that water can drain; standing water is an indication that the pitch of the gutters needs to be readjusted so that water can flow downward toward the downpipe.
Leaks: Most leaks in a vinyl or aluminum gutter system can be readily repaired by using the appropriate sealant.
Holes: Holes, including ones caused by rust, should be patched if they are not tiny enough to be easily filled in with sealant. However, if there are too many to patch, then you should probably think about replacing that section of gutter rather than repairing.