Many of us are motivated to repair the gutters when something goes wrong with the gutter system that needs immediate attention. But reactive maintenance can quickly become very expensive. The good news is, regularly maintaining your gutters will help you avoid having to replace the gutter system or make costly repairs. But what exactly is preventative maintenance for your gutters?
Cleaning the Gutters
Cleaning the gutters regularly will help increase the lifespan of your gutter system, reducing the necessity of having to replace the gutters before their time. When gutters aren’t cleaned, debris buildup adds weight to the gutter system. Extra weight puts stress on the fascia, causing gutters to pull away – gaps between the fascia and the back of the gutter section allow water to escape, resulting in problems such as sagging, leaks, and mold growth.
To ensure that gutter cleaning will be effective, know how often you need to clean the gutters. While gutter professionals advise to gutter clean in the spring and then again in the fall, you might need to clean them three times a year or when the season changes (four times annually) depending on where you live and the amount of rain your local region receives.
Cleaning the Downspouts
Clogged downspouts can just as frequently be the cause of overflowing gutters as the gutters themselves. Often homeowners forget about cleaning the downspouts or think that when the gutter outlet is free of debris, the downspout is fine. But clogs can form mid-downspout or above the elbow where the water should exit freely. Ensuring that inside the length of the downpipes is debris-free is part of maintaining the gutter system.
Cleaning the Roof
Keeping an eye on what the roof is up to is part of good preventative maintenance for your gutters. As twigs, leaves, and other kinds of organic materials collect on the roof, some of it will end up in the gutters. While it doesn’t have to be done as often as the gutters, cleaning the roof at least once a year will help reduce the amount of debris that lands in a gutter system.
Inspecting the Gutters, Downspouts, and Roof
Neglected gutters, downspouts, and roof can cause unwanted problems. However, cleaning them is only half the battle. After a strong wind storm or heavy rain for two straight days in a row, is the roof missing shingles, are the gutters overflowing, or has the downspout been dented? Inspecting the gutters, downspouts, and roof after a storm and periodically in between roof and gutter cleanings can help you maintain the gutter system throughout the year.
In addition to DIY (homeowner) inspections, it is advisable to have the gutters and roof inspected by a roofing professional once every five years.
Put it on the Calendar
Probably because there’s never a “convenient” time to perform home maintenance, it’s easy to forget about the roof and the gutters. Whether you plan to clean the gutters and inspect the roof yourself or hire a gutter professional, schedule a time, and put it on the calendar as “non-negotiable.”
Benefits of Regular Gutter Preventative Maintenance
When the gutters are regularly cleaned and maintained, you’re preventing potential water damage to the roof, siding, and foundation of your home. Benefits of preventative gutter maintenance include:
- Avoiding costly repairs and/or replacing the gutter system
- Keeping your home safe from health hazards such as mold growth, bacterial growth, and pest infestations
- Preserving the aesthetic appeal of your home’s exterior
- Reducing the risk of fire hazards
- Extending the lifespan of the gutters