Maintenance Tips for Gutters and Downspouts

When gutters aren’t properly maintained, expensive issues can arise, like a cracked foundation, sinking driveway, or landscaping damage. But cleaning the gutters regularly is only part of a comprehensive maintenance plan for any type of gutter system. Use these maintenance tips for gutters and downspouts to help them protect your home for many years.


Periodic inspections of the gutters, downpipes and your home’s exterior are the best preventative medicine there is.

Ensure nails, screws and fasteners hold gutters and downspouts tightly in place. Look inside the gutter channel to see if hangers are in good shape – not loosened, bent or broken.

There should be no signs of damage to the outside of the gutters – no pulling away from the fascia; no rust spots; no leaking seams. Also look for mold and mildew growth.

Check the downspouts for clogs – water should be able to run freely through the downpipe and exit in a “gush” rather than a “trickle.”

If gutters have had problems in the past, the resulting water damage could just be making itself known. Examine your home’s exterior for:

  • loose or damaged siding panels
  • cracks in the foundation
  • rot, mold, and mildew growth on window and/or door trim
  • rotting of or mold and mildew growth on wood soffit and fascia panels
  • peeling or blistered paint on outside walls (applicable to structures without siding)

Take Action

Visually inspecting the gutters and other elements of your home exterior will alert you to anything that needs repairing, especially problems requiring immediate attention.

Are the repairs ones you can make? Unblocking a downspout is a relatively simple procedure. But when it comes to more complicated repairs, you might have to call a professional. Prioritize – if the repairs are minor, perhaps they can wait until the gutters need cleaning and everything can be done at the same time.

Clean Inside and Out

Keeping your gutters free of debris is an important component in maintaining your gutter system. Rainwater should flow easily through the gutter channel and exit freely out of the downspout. There should be no standing water in a gutter section and no pooled water beneath the downspout.

But the outside of the gutters should be cleaned too. It’s not just a matter of appearance – toxins and pollutants in rainwater can permanently streak or scratch the gutter’s exterior surface.