Smart Ways to Protect Your Gutters

Gutters collect rainwater from the roof and drain it a safe distance from the foundation of your home. While a gutter system is designed to keep your home’s exterior safe from water damage, there are some smart ways to protect your gutters and extend their lifespan.

Don’t DIY a Gutter Installation.

When is comes time to investing in a new gutter system don’t DIY. The process might appear straightforward, but a roofer or a gutter technician routinely do installation. A roofing or gutter installation company will advise you on the right size of gutter system; the number of downspouts required to move the volume of annual rainfall that typically falls in your region; and the type of gutter material that’s best suited to your local climate.

A professional contractor will also be able to offer you warranties, get the job done in 24 to 48 hours (depending on the size of the house and its roof configuration), and clean up after the installation is done. Professional installers know how to handle different gutter materials – the installation techniques they use to install aluminum gutters will be different when installing copper gutters.

The same could be said for major repairs. A professional gutter installer will be able to give you an estimate of what the repairs will cost, including the big picture – you see a simple gutter section replacement but the old gutters were concealing fascia rot. Call a gutter contractor to make the following types of repairs:

  • Missing or sagging gutter sections
  • Leaking gutters where the source can’t be traced
  • Constantly patching holes in the same place
  • Extensive denting

Prune Trees Regularly

Branches that hang down over the roof can be too close to the gutters for comfort. In addition to dropping twigs and leaves into the gutter system, tree limbs dancing in the wind can dent aluminum gutters. Denting can become so severe that runoff can no longer flow through the gutter troughs. To prevent damage to the fascia and branches from scratching roof shingles and the outside of the gutters, trim trees back four to six feet away from the house.

Adjust the Gutter Pitch

From the ground, gutters can appear to stretch straight across the front of a house, but they are actually sloped slightly downward toward the gutter outlet. This is to ensure that rainwater flows through the gutter system easily and exits smoothly. At the time of installation, the gutter pitch or gutter slope must meet certain requirements. However, over time the gutter pitch can change. The main sign that this has occurred is if there is standing water in the gutter troughs, but gutters are free of debris. To make the water flow through the system properly again the gutter slope will need to be corrected.

Will it Impact the Gutters?

Before adding anything to the roof, consider first how it will impact the gutters. The installation of a new air conditioner, satellite dish, skylight, or solar panels could change or disrupt how runoff enters the gutters.

Err on the side of caution: avoid attaching sun shade sails, strings of outdoor lights, or holiday/seasonal decorations from the gutters: it can add unnecessary weight, causing sagging or pulling away from the fascia.

Routine Maintenance

The best way to protect your gutters is to take care of them. Perform routine maintenance – gutter cleaning at least twice a year and making repairs as soon as possible. Inspect your home’s exterior, including the gutters, for any damage that might have occurred after a storm or active weather.