Many homeowners spend very little time thinking about their home’s gutters. That is because, if those gutters are working properly, they should go unnoticed. High-functioning gutters are necessary to your home’s health for a number of reasons, and it is advisable that you give them regular checkups to ensure that they are in tip-top shape. Here is everything you need to know about maintaining your home’s gutters:
What are gutters for?
Gutters (and their downspouts) collect rainwater from your roof and guide it away from your home. If you didn’t have gutters, then water could pool on your roof, leading to erosion and water leaks. If your gutters are clogged or blocked up in any way, they cannot collect and drain water efficiently. This not only could make your roof vulnerable, but it could also soak into the soil around your home, eventually affecting the foundation and, in worst case scenarios, eroding basement walls.
Fortunately, cleaning gutters is a relatively simple process. Anyone with a ladder, hands, and a garden hose can do it. First, using your hands, remove all debris (leaves, pine cones, sticks, pine needles, etc.) and asphalt shingle granules from the gutters. Then take a garden hose, turned on to its full power, and flush out the remaining dirt and grime. Be sure to focus special attention on the downspouts, rinsing them with a garden hose until the water runs out clearly and smoothly.
Once your gutters are clean of any debris that could weigh them down, use a level to determine that they are sufficiently sloped for water drainage. Gutters should slope downward at a rate of one inch for every 20 feet. If your gutters aren’t properly sloped, reattach them so that they are.
If you find that areas of your gutters are hanging improperly or coming lose, secure them in place using gutter hanging straps and self-tapping screws. Don’t attempt to replace damaged or broken straps, as they are fairly inexpensive and easy to replace.
Minor leaks in your gutters are simple and easy to fix with a waterproofing sealant like caulk. However, if your aluminum gutters have rusty holes, your best bet is to replace the affected gutter altogether. While there are gutter patching kits on the market for the purpose of repairing rust spots, they are only a temporary fix.
Maintaining your gutters is not too difficult a job, and it is absolutely necessary to keeping your home in tip-top shape. Follow these tips to keep your gutters functioning as they should, and your home safe from water damage.
About the Author: Ernie Tooman loves to do minor home maintenance projects, including gutter cleaning. His last project involved replacing his door gaskets so that his doors no longer slammed or leaked light at night!