Gutter Maintenance Tips
Often, when we discuss roof maintenance or even siding maintenance, gutters play a role. Your gutters are essential to your home’s exterior. They funnel the water that drips off your roof away from your home, to a downspout where it can’t dampen your roof, your siding, or your foundational soil. Without roof gutters, many homes fall prey to warping siding, roof rot, or issues of their house settling.
But your gutters themselves need to be well maintained in order to do the job reliably. If your gutters are scratched, cracked, or bent, water will not be able to reach the downspout and may in fact leak onto the walls of the house or into the foundational soil. If gutters are cluttered, they won’t be able to hold rainfall at all, which means some of that water will pool on the roof, leading to leaks and roof rot. So if you expect your gutters to protect much of the rest of your home’s exteriors, it’s only natural that you should also protect your gutters. Here are some of our gutter maintenance tips:
Clean Your Gutters Twice a Year
It’s a good idea to do a thorough cleaning of your gutters at the end of each spring and fall season. It’s in these seasons that your gutters are likely to acquire quite a bit of debris buildup. If your gutters become too clogged with debris, it can not only keep water from getting into them, but it can weigh them down, causing them to bend or pull away from the house. Clear your gutters of debris right before summer and right before winter to keep them healthy and unencumbered.
Take the Proper Safety Precautions
Gutter maintenance is something homeowners can typically do themselves, but it requires the proper safety precautions in order to protect themselves from injury. After all, as your gutters surround your roof, you will likely need a ladder to reach them, and much of the job will be clearing away debris. Make sure your ladder is NSC compliant to protect you from potential falls, and wear non-slip shoes. You should also wear goggles and a face mask, especially if you’re vulnerable to seasonal allergies.
Make sure that you plan to do your gutter cleaning on a clear, fairweather day. If you’re still uncertain about your safety, hire a gutter professional — especially to clean gutters located above the first story.
Lay a Plastic Tarp
Sure, you can bring a trashbag up the ladder with you to dispose of all of the gutter debris, but that might be a difficult balance. You want to be sure that you’re holding steady on the ladder and that there’s nothing that could potentially lead to tipping over. That’s why it’s better to lay a plastic tarp on the lawn before you get started. You can simply toss the gutter gunk below and dispose of it once you’re back on the ground. This also helps to protect your lawn, garden, or foundational soil from gutter debris or any unnecessary moisture.
Clear Debris Off the Roof, Too
While some debris will fall directly into your roof gutters, most of the debris that builds up there is the result of debris that fell onto the roof and made its way to your gutters as a result of wind, rain, or storms. Thus if your gutters are now clean but your roof still has plenty of branches and leaves on it, those branches will inevitably end up in the gutter. Brush these off, as well, to prevent any further clogging of your gutters. You may also notice some asphalt shingle granules in gutters, which typically indicates that your roof shingles need to be repaired or replaced.
Check For Scratches and Cracks
It’s important to make sure your gutters aren’t clogged and that they aren’t pulling away from your house. It’s also important, however, to be sure that they’re free of scratches and cracks that could lead to leaks. Leaky roof gutters could mean water damaged siding or even damage to the inner walls of your home. It could cause water to leak into the foundational soil of your home and lead to settling. Check for any dangerous scratches or cracks and be sure to have them sealed or repaired as soon as possible. Rusted gutters, as well, can quickly become susceptible to issues like cracks.
Trim Nearby Trees
Overhanging trees are the main cause of debris that can build up in your gutters. You can cut down on the frequency with which this happens by trimming back nearby trees with overhanging limbs. There should be at least three feet between the trees and the house. This will keep gutters from becoming scratched by branches as well as reducing the debris that gathers in your gutters. You’ll still need to clean them occasionally, as wind and storms can still lead to leaves and branches ending up in your gutter, but trimming back trees will make that job much easier.
Install a Gutter Cap
One thing that will significantly cut down on your gutter cleaning work is a gutter cap. Gutter caps are placed over your gutters but offer a mesh so that water can get in, while leaves and branches stay on top. You might still need to brush off your gutter cap surface sometimes, but it will leave your gutters in much better shape than otherwise.
Don’t Be Afraid to Consult a Professional
If you take the right precautions, you can perform gutter cleaning on your own without having to contact a professional. But you may not have time or you may be concerned about your safety. You might even have mobility issues that prevent you from performing your gutter maintenance yourself. You also have to take into account larger gutter maintenance issues, such as repairs or gutter replacement. It’s times like these when you may need a gutter repair professional to help you with maintaining or replacing your gutters. Don’t be afraid to bring in an experienced professional. You’ll find work well worth the investment, and they may even have financing plans to make it more affordable.
Jancewicz & Son has been in business for over 83 years and we’re experts when it comes to roofs and roof gutters. We can help you with your gutter maintenance, or help you find the right replacement gutters to protect your roof. Contact us today for more information or to get started with a free estimate.