In today’s budget-conscious economy, vinyl gutters provide homeowners with a viable option to more expensive gutter systems. A vinyl gutter system is just as effective in protecting your home from water damage as copper or aluminum gutters. While vinyl gutters aren’t labour intensive, these maintenance tips will help you keep them looking good for as long as you need them to.
Steady rain or a couple of hours of rattling wind can shake things loose. A pair of binoculars will let you scan your gutter system without having to haul out the ladder. Look for raised nail heads, sagging or misaligned gutter sections, and obvious cracks and blistering or peeling. To see if vinyl gutters have pulled away from the fascia, stand directly underneath the eaves and look up – if there’s a gap between gutters and house, it will need to be repaired.
Don’t forget the downpipes. Check each downspout for clogs, loose fasteners and screws, and other signs of damage that might need your immediate attention.
Since vinyl gutters are vulnerable to discoloration from pollutants in rain water and the air, clean the outside of the gutters regularly to prevent build-up from permanently staining the finish. Remove surface dirt by hand with a soft cloth and a solution of mild detergent and water. You can also use a garden hose. Pass on the power washer, since it can force water into any weak spots or gaps in the soffit and fascia. To remove mold or mildew from vinyl gutters, add one part bleach to five parts water with or without detergent.
Where sections have been joined together, vinyl gutters typically have seams every 10 feet. Because vinyl tends to expand and contract more than other kinds of gutter materials, these joints can wear away, making the gutter system vulnerable to leaks. To stop leaks, apply fresh sealant. Apply it only to the inside of the gutter, and use a sealant compatible with vinyl gutters.