For many homeowners, gutters fly beneath their radar – as long as they’re working. But when something goes wrong with the gutter system, it becomes very noticeable pretty quickly. When they become cracked, leaky, or dented, gutters are ineffective and won’t protect your home’s exterior the way they should. However, there are several proactive ways to avoid failing gutters and related gutter problems.
Regularly Maintain the Gutter System
At some point, you will need to repair your rain gutters as they age, the normal result of regularly dealing with the elements. But if you take care of them properly and clean them regularly, you will avoid total gutter system failure. It’s also reasonable to assume you that with scheduled home maintenance, you won’t have to repair them as often.
For gutters and downspouts to work nicely together they need to be debris-free. Clogs don’t just stop water from flowing easily through gutter channels and out of the downspouts. Debris build-up often creates standing water. Standing water combined with wet organic materials weighs a gutter system down, stressing hardware, pulling nails and brackets from the fascia. One way gutters fail is due to missing or sagging gutter sections.
While scheduled gutter cleanings twice or three times a year are certainly a large part of a gutter system’s upkeep, other key home maintenance tasks need to be performed. Even when gutters are cleaned on a regular basis, winds and heavy rain can shake things loose. Inspect the gutters and downspouts after any storm that hits your area. It will be better to discover if something needs repair now rather that wait until the next time the gutters will be cleaned.
To decrease the amount of leaves, twigs, and blossoms that enters the gutter system, trim back the tall trees growing close to the roof, gutters, and exterior walls of your home.
Reduce Effects of Wind Damage
Keep the lawn raked and tidy. Store seasonal items such bikes, the barbecue, and patio furniture. Put away small pieces of lawn care equipment and tools after each use. When active storms are forecast, take down swings, wind chimes, and hanging planters. Secure recycling bins. Ensure the roof is well-maintained.
What do any of these things have to do with a gutter system failure? Reduce the effects of wind damage by airborne debris like roof shingles, twigs, and children’s toys that can easily transform into weapons during a windstorm.
Don’t Ignore Problems
After a gutter cleaning or a periodic inspection, if and when you do find problems resist the ostrich home maintenance method. Ignoring problems with the gutters doesn’t make them go away; it allows them worsen. Gutters that leak, perpetually have standing water (possible gutter pitch issues), or display signs of damage such as cracks, holes, and dents, are all gutter problems that should be addressed sooner rather than later.
Hire a Gutter Contractor
When repairs are needed, assess the degree of damage or severity. If you DIY, filling in small holes or caulking leaking seams will save you money. For serious repairs such as multiple leaks, missing gutter sections, or drainage issues, hire a gutter contractor – they will be able to give you a clearer picture of any additional damage or issues that might not be obvious to the average homeowner. A professional will also use the right tools and techniques needed to repair your specific gutter system.
Select Quality Rain Gutters
It all starts at the beginning – purchase new gutters with quality and strength in mind. When a gutter system has been designed from quality materials, selected to handle the annual rainfall of the local region, and installed by a reputable company, it will be more durable and reliable for several decades.
Make Your Gutter System Stronger
If you aren’t planning on buying new gutters in the future, there are ways to upgrade your current gutter system so that it is stronger and less likely to fail. Consult with a gutter installation company (free estimate) to check the following:
- There is the correct number of downspouts for the size of your home
- The gutter slope or pitch is accurate
- The gutters haven’t been installed too close to the roofline
- There is the right number of hangars to provide adequate support with putting strain on the fascia