Part of the roofing system, gutters provide a valuable layer of protection for your home. They keep water away from the foundation, windows, the basement, and siding where it can collect and cause moisture damage. A functional gutter system also prevents damage to the soffit, fascia, and roof shingles. Here are some things you can do to protect the gutters that protect your home.
It’s not just the Trees on Your Property
Homeowners are aware that cleaning the gutters needs to be done twice a year, in the spring and then again in the fall. However, it’s not just the trees on your property that you should worry about. If your neighbourhood includes lots of trees – deciduous, coniferous, or a combination of both – that can deposit leaves, twigs, needles, cones, and blossoms into the gutters, then perhaps the gutter system needs to be cleaned more than twice a year.
While there’s not much you can do about what blows in from somewhere else, you can trim back tree branches of the trees growing near the gutters. Keeping the gutter system free of debris that can cause standing water, clogs, or overflowing gutters is an essential part of better protecting your gutters and increasing their longevity.
Don’t Forget about the Downspouts
The downspouts are an integral component of the gutter system. Downpipes carry rainwater away from the house, safely depositing it where it can’t harm siding or the foundation. In order to function properly, each downspout needs to be checked for the following:
- it is firmly secured to an exterior wall
- it is free of debris that can become clogs
- it is not depositing water too close to the house
- there are no large dents or other signs of damage
Just as debris, dirt, and other kinds of organic matter prevent water from freely flowing through the gutters, the same can happen to the downpipes when they are not properly cleaned and regularly maintained.
Pay Attention to the Signs
After an active windstorm or several days of heavy rain is there debris on your front lawn? If the answer is “yes” then there is also a good chance that there is debris on the roof and in the gutters as well. Don’t ignore the effects of inclement weather – high winds can snap off branches and deposit leaves, while a continual rainfall can wash away the protective granules of roofing tiles. After any type of active weather, check on the roof and the gutters to ensure that there are no missing roofing shingles, the downspouts are still attached, and the gutter system is free of standing water and/or debris.
Monitoring and Repairing
In between seasonal gutter cleanings, in order to better protect your gutters from potential harm, they should be monitored for other problems such as loose fasteners, spikes or nails; leaking gutter sections; rusting and the appearance of pinholes; and the manifestation of mold/mildew/algae. Before these problems can become worse, they need to be repaired as soon as possible.