House with new seamless aluminum rain gutters with storm clouds in the background. For storm runoff, it's all about gutters!

All About Gutters and Their Maintenance

When leaves and debris fall and clogging happens, an article that’s all about gutters and their maintenance becomes timely. Many homeowners have found their gutter systems have gotten clogged lately. And the subject is something that many of us would rather not have to worry about.  

Maintenance of gutters and downspouts can be a real chore, especially if you have many trees in the area as we do here at Lake of the Ozarks.  However, you need to maintain your gutters and downspouts to ensure that the rain is properly diffused away from the home.  Without them, gallons of water from rainfall will hit right at the base of the home, which can flush out foundations and cause basements to leak.  So, they are a necessary part of responsible homeownership. And like any other home maintenance tasks, you will save money in the long run!

Since this post is all about gutters and their maintenance, we must also mention the need to keep them intact.  Over the winter or during any storm, a piece of the system could come loose.  The rainwater will run off the roof and onto the ground below if it isn’t properly fixed. Also, repairing fallen gutters must be done in a timely fashion, or they could cause additional siding damage from swaying in the wind.

When installing gutters, you need to ensure they have the proper pitch so that the water can drain out easily.  They should be installed by a professional as there is actually quite a bit of complex math involved. First, you will need to determine how much water can come off your roof with your actual roof pitch.  Professionals try to get the pitch of the drain to be 1/2″ over 10 ft to keep the water moving properly. They use various brackets to hole the gutters in place and attach them to the fascia.  If there is no fascia board, then straps will be used to fasten it. 

When posting all about gutters and their maintenance, we cannot forget the required cleaning. So first, you obviously need to keep your gutters clean and free of debris. While you are cleaning your gutters, be sure that you check for leaks in the system.  Many times aluminum gutters are sealed with caulk at the corners, end caps outlet locations, and joints.

If you have galvanized gutters, you will need to inspect for any rust.  Rust indicates that the gutters’ finishes have worn off.  You should clean up the rust the best you can and then spray it with a sealer to prevent it from getting worse.  While this isn’t a permanent fix, it will slow down the rusting process.  Once this begins, you will probably have to do this every year as a part of your maintenance plan.

Cutaway view of new gutter guards installed on a copper seamless gutter.

While gutters do require cleaning just about every year (and sometimes more than once), you can avoid this chore by installing gutter guards.  Gutter guards will guard your gutters from leaves, pests, and debris that would ordinarily fall into them.  The guards are a sort of screen that will go over the top of the gutter, preventing any solids from getting in.

And finally, since this is all about gutters and their maintenance, we can’t forget to check for clogs.  The downspouts can be clogged from time to time from debris shaking loose.  Cleaning downspouts can be done by using a wire and poking it down into the downspout from the top. This can also be performed upward from the bottom if the clog is near the bend at the lower end of the downspout. To determine if it is clogged, you can also simply use a hose and run water down to see if it clears.  In fact, you should use a hose to run water as a means of testing for leaks as well.  

Whatever the materials, your gutter system is there to protect your house from unwanted water.  The water should be drained away several feet from the home where it will not present any issues.

Having your gutters in top condition will improve the overall look of your home and will help provide important protection against water damage. It’s a good idea to get your gutters and roof inspected yearly so you will know what needs you’re facing before they become a larger problem.

And if you aren’t sure about handling these problems yourself, or simply don’t have the time, then consider having them managed by a professional.

So, if you would prefer to have your gutter maintenance or repairs handled by a pro, give Roof Lux a call! 

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