Not spending a few quick minutes on your aluminum gutters now can cost you thousands of dollars later.
Did you know that something as small as a clog in your gutters can result in thousands of dollars of damage to your foundation, basement and exterior trim? It can also cause damage to your roof if your gutters decided that the weight from the clog was too much resulting in a full collapse. The last thing you want to have to do is trim repair or repair to your foundation due to neglecting something as simple as gutter maintenance.
Maintaining your gutters and repairing at the first signs of damage can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major catastrophe. However the majority of home owners do not do a simple check every year that could potentially save them a big headache.
Trees lose leaves in the fall, water and ice can fill up gutters in the winter, with the coming of spring seedlings and dead material from winter can clog gutters and in a Virginia summer the occasional strong breeze can result in leaves and other material blowing up onto roofs and into gutters. Even if you didn’t have to contend with these potential problems there are still the issues of rust and bad seams that may form over time.
There is no easy way to clean and maintain your gutters so get your ladder and get up there! Although you may have gutter guards that is not the be all, end all of gutter maintenance. If your gutter guards are clogged with material then water cannot access the gutters and will pool on your roof, clog your gutters and cascade over the sides. In essence, your gutters (and your gutter guards!) are useless.
Here are some steps to help keep your gutters like new and your house problem-free:
- Use a safe ladder that you know is secure. This is not the time to trust grandpa’s old wooden ladder that has been rotting in the backyard for the past 15 years. Buy one or rent one (for about $40) at your local home improvement store.
- Use a ladder stabilizer to ensure you do not crush your gutters with the ladder. These can be purchased or rented at some hardware stores. Be aware of electrical wires nearby. If possible, have a handy neighbor spot the ladder for you. If you have teen children, put the grounded one to work for you holding the ladder and collecting the gunk you pull out of the gutter.
- Don’t forget your gloves and bring a hammer to resecure any loose gutter spikes.
- If you use gutter guards ensure that you carefully pick them up and inspect the gutters underneath. Ensure everything is flowing free by running your hose into the gutters. If you like, spray the water on the roof and think Hollywood rain special effects.
- Pull out any old leaves and debris that has worked its way into your gutters. Make sure, as you throw it down it does not hit the siding or wrap around a rung of the ladder. I have heard of this happening before with bad results.
- Check downspout to ensure that any screening is not clogged. Run water through the downspouts to ensure they are clear. Are fasteners secured?
- Check the spikes that hold the gutters to the roof. Are they all intact? Any pulling loose? If a few are loose and the grade of the gutter is compromised this can result in water overflowing at the lower gutter point. Add longer spikes if necessary for a better grip on the roof.
Hey, while you are up there you can check a few other things on your roof such as the condition of your shingles, vent pipe gaskets or for any bare nails.
If you would rather save the time and leave it to the pros, call your local, trustworthy and reliable roof contractor, siding contractor, or trim company.
Remember that not doing this basic maintenance on your roof now can result in thousands of dollars in loss later. Next topic, a rubber roof.”