An often overlooked area of home care is the trusty gutters. Gutters play a crucial role in keeping your house intact, and lack of care can cause serious problems down the road. While they can be a bit of a hassle to clean and maintain, it’s well worth it for the stability of your home. Today we’ll look at the role of gutters, and easy ways homeowners can keep them in working order.
What’s So Important About Gutters
The role of the gutters is to move water away from the house. Any water that lands on your roof should be caught by the gutters, and moved through the downspouts away from your home.
This is important as otherwise you’d have water enter the ground close to your home and find its way into your foundation. Overtime, this can cause foundation damage which is not cheap nor easy to fix. Well maintained gutters prevent this and provide your home with protection from water damage.
Oftentimes, if you’re having water problems below your home in a basement or crawlspace the first step is to check your gutters drainage.
5 Easy Ways To Maintain Your Gutters
Fortunately, maintaining your gutters is fairly easy if a bit time consuming. Here are 5 things you should be doing to keep your gutters in tip top shape.
1. Clean Them Regularly
The first step is to make sure you’re cleaning them regularly. Clogged gutters are ineffective, and blockages will prevent water from making it to your downspouts.
“How often should I clean my gutters”, is a question many homeowners ask and the answer is it depends. In general, you’ll want to try at least twice a year. It all depends on the amount of refuse that you have building up in them. If you live in a rural area or around lots of trees you may need to clean more than that.
Well cleaned gutters are the most effective, and help ensure your gutters are doing their job. If you notice that water is spilling over the edges of your gutters that’s a sure sign that they need a cleaning.
2. Repair any Loose or Hanging Areas
You also want to be sure that you’re repairing any loose or hanging areas. Spots like this can upset the natural grade of the gutter, which can lead to water flow or overflow problems.
Depending on the severity, this could be an easy or difficult fix. The key thing you want to ensure is that there is a slight slope leading to the downspout. This is generally ¼” per 10 feet of gutter, and this helps make sure that water is able to flow away from the house properly.
3. Seal Up Cracks
If you find any cracks you’ll also want to seal these up. Cracks will also disrupt natural water flow, and often pour water out too close to the home.
There are a number of products that can help fill out small holes, many of which are quick and easy to use. They may have a drying period, so make sure to use these when you have enough time before the next rain. For larger cracks you may need to hire a professional.
4. Check The Downspouts
As with cleaning the gutters, you also want to make sure that downspouts aren’t clogged. On a rainy day, you should be able to see a clear flow of water. If not, your downspout might be clogged.
Depending on the severity of the clog there are a few ways to unclog a downspout most of which you can do at home.
You also want to make sure that the downspouts themselves are draining far enough away from the home. In most cases, you’ll want the water moved at least 4’ away from the base of the home to prevent foundation damage. If this isn’t the case, it’s fairly inexpensive to buy gutter extenders that will help with this.
5. Consider Gutter Guards
Lastly, consider installing gutter guards if you dislike the yearly maintenance of your gutters. While they won’t fix all problems they do help mitigate the cleaning which is usually the most time consuming and least pleasant.
Gutter guards are a series of protection that sit on your gutters and prevent debris from getting into it. This means you don’t have to clean them as often or at all.
There are a number of different options and they all have their own pros and cons. They range from cheap DIY systems to comprehensive gutter replacements that will last for decades.
Taking Care Of Your Gutters
Proper gutter maintenance is an essential part of home upkeep and neglecting it can cause serious problems for your home. While it’s not the most glamorous of tasks it’s important to stay up with it, especially in wooded areas where debris can quickly build up. Done properly, it can greatly help to reduce the risk of water getting into your home and damaging your foundation.