Gutters protect your home from water damage. When they aren’t working properly, your home becomes vulnerable to leaks, mold growth, damaged siding, and oversaturated landscaping. If you’re comfortable making repairs yourself or if you’re a homeowner that doesn’t mind hiring a pro to repair the gutter system – but not for every little thing – it might not be clear when you should get help. If it prevents having to repair major structural damage, it will be money well spent. Here is a brief guide on when you should call a professional gutter company.
Cleaning Your Clogged Gutters
Most gutter problems can be minimized or avoided altogether with regular gutter cleanings. Gutter cleaning professionals typically advise that the gutters be cleaned twice a year, in early spring and late fall. But depending on where you live (next to a major road) or in a neighbourhood with lots of trees (microclimate), you might need to clean the gutters three or four times a year. Call a professional gutter company if:
- You don’t feel comfortable on a ladder
- The house is more than one and a half stories
- The gutters are hard to reach
- You have to climb on the roof to access certain parts of the gutter system
- You don’t have the time to clean the gutters more than once a year
Having the Gutters Inspected
If you are in the habit of regularly cleaning the gutters, there are still things that can happen to a gutter system that aren’t readily apparent to a homeowner. Hire a professional once every two or three years to have the gutters and downpipes thoroughly inspected. Identifying a problem is the first step in preventing it from becoming an expensive issue.
Repairing Leaking Gutters
Many DIYers are comfortable making minor repairs to leaking gutters. The most common reason a gutter system leaks is because the seams where two sections are joined together have separated. The second reason gutters begin to leak is the appearance of rust, first as pinholes and then as noticeable gaps as they become larger. Seams and pinholes can be repaired with sealant, while holes require patching. As gutters age they become worn at the seams – depending on the extent of the damage, the gutter sections might have to be replaced or a new gutter system has to be installed. Hire some when:
- You don’t know what type of sealant you need to use
- There are a lot of holes
- You have re-sealed the same seams several times in the past six months
Readjusting the Gutter Slope
Are the gutters free of debris but the gutter system still isn’t working as it should? Standing water in the gutter channel is often a sign that the gutter slope, or gutter pitch, needs readjusting. If the problem is not fixed, standing water combined with a lot of debris in the gutters can lead to overflowing, which can damage siding or cause basement flooding. A gutter section needs to slope a ¼ of an inch for every 10 feet of gutter. To make the water flow properly again, the gutters – either the whole system or just part of it – needs to be taken down and then reattached at the proper angle. A homeowner who will not feel comfortable with the process should hire a gutter installation technician.
Fixing Sagging Gutters
When gutters sag and pull away from the fascia of the house, this typically happens because the hardware and fasteners have become worn. To fix the problem, a homeowner will have to tighten the screws and ensure that the back of each affected gutter section fits snuggly against the fascia with no gaps. However, if the sagging gutters have become warped or too damaged, replacement sections or a new gutter system will have to be installed by a gutter contractor.