Gutter Maintenance

How to Keep Your Gutters in Good Working Order

By Mark J. Donovan

It’s important to perform periodic gutter maintenance on your gutter system to keep it working smoothly. Damaged or clogged gutters do little good for channeling roof water away from a home and can lead to water damage to the fascia boards, attic area and even your basement. Non working gutters can also lead to erosion around the home’s foundation. Gutter maintenance should be done at least twice a year.

I recommend inspecting and cleaning your gutters in the spring and late fall at a minimum. If windstorms and other weather conditions, and/or if there are trees near your home, then I suggest performing gutter maintenance even more regularly.

Leaves, pine needles and twigs can easily clog gutters. Also, if you observe poor water flow exiting the down spouts, or water pouring over the sides of the gutters, it’s a sure sign that you need to do some gutter maintenance.

As part of any gutter maintenance project, in addition to cleaning them out, it is important to inspect them for any holes, cracks, or loose mounting brackets that may have pulled away from the fascia board. In addition check for any pulled away nails or screws that are holding the gutter mounting brackets to the fascia boards. Replace any damaged gutters if they are un-repairable. Also, check for any mold or mildew growth on the fascia boards. If you see any, it’s important to remove it.

In some cases you may have little choice but to temporarily remove the gutters to clean and repair any damage to the fascia boards. To check the down spouts use a garden hose and squirt water down the down spout from the top of the gutter. In some cases you may need to use a wire brush to push through or pull out any debris clogged in the down spout. You may actually have to disconnect the downspout from the gutter to remove difficult clogs.

Make sure when doing gutter maintenance to use a quality ladder that is well positioned on the ground. Also wear gloves and eye protection when cleaning out the gutters.

To reduce the frequency of gutter maintenance you may want to consider installing a gutter dome or guard over the top of the gutters. Gutter domes prevent the infiltration of leaf and twig debris into the gutters. This said, gutter domes are not fool-proof so you should still inspect your gutters a couple of times a year. Leaf debris that breaks down can eventually work its way through the gutter screens and into the gutters themselves.

Most gutter guards are very easy to install and are reasonably priced so it may be worth investing a little time and money into them to save yourself a lot of time down the road in gutter maintenance.

For more help on Shingling Your Home’s Roof, see’s Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet. The Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet will help to ensure that your roof won’t end up with a blue tarp over it and a dumpster sitting in your yard for weeks as you wait for the roofing contractor to come back and finish roofing your home.

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