Jun 18, 2022

6 Top Tips for Keeping Your Home’s Gutters Clean

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Neglecting your rain gutters can bring about long-term damage to your home. Follow these six tips for keeping your home’s gutters clean.

Most people do not consider cleaning their gutters until there’s a pooling of water after a rainstorm or ice dams form on the roof during a snowstorm. 

Rain gutters are a vital component of any home's roofing system. They direct storm and rainwater away from the house and its foundation. 

Water damage to the exterior walls of your home can be caused by broken, cracked, or clogged gutters. Excess water cascading down from your gutters can harm the very foundation of your house and/or leak into your basement.

Why Is Gutter Maintenance Necessary?

Debris in your gutters not only causes water to flow slowly off your roof, but it can also add weight to your gutters, causing them to sag and fall apart. 

Stagnant water in your gutters also increases the likelihood of rust and mold developing on your roof. Other problems caused by a gutter that has not been cleaned are:

  • Increased likelihood of pests: Gutter debris can hold sufficient water to draw in flies, mosquitoes, and other pests. Stagnant water in the gutters attracts these pests, making outdoor activities unpleasant because of the higher risk of bug bites.

  • Can affect landscaping: Clogged or loose gutters and downspouts frequently end up causing rainwater to overflow and run down the gutter sides. This wreaks havoc on the landscape below, particularly gardens, often ruining your favorite plants or flower beds.

  • Increases roof damage chances: If you reside in a colder region, clogged gutters with stagnant water and debris can lead to ice dams, harming your house's roof. 

The slower this water drains, the easier it freezes and the longer it takes for the water to get discharged once the temperature goes up above freezing. Ice dams add weight to your gutters, causing them to pull away from the building.

Types Of Gutters

Gutters are a vital feature of any home. You may not give gutters much thought until they fail to function correctly. As all gutters are not made equal, doing your research to select the proper gutter system for your home can save you time and money in the long run. In terms of materials, vinyl gutters are less expensive, whereas copper gutters are more expensive upfront but last longer. There are several options to consider as you figure out the best type of gutters for your house.

  • Vinyl Gutters: Vinyl gutters, also known as PVC gutters, are a popular choice because they are easy to install  and relatively affordable. These have a shorter lifespan than the metal options available. However,you can expect more than ten years of use with vinyl gutters in most environments.

  • Aluminum Gutters: Aluminum gutters are a popular choice among homeowners for a valid reason, as they provide a good balance of durability and cost. They are cheaper than other types of metal gutters and come in various colors. They can, however, corrode over time.

  • Galvanized Gutters: Galvanized steel is an excellent material for low-maintenance, long-lasting gutters. The initial investment is higher than that for vinyl or aluminum gutters. On the other hand, galvanized steel gutters are less likely to leak or dent.

  • Copper Gutters: Copper gutters are an upfront investment that will pay off in the long run, with an enticing aesthetic and an appealing lifespan. The main selling points for this gutter material  are fantastic durability, a lovely patina, and tolerance to adverse weather conditions. However, you must conduct thorough copper gutter cleaning regularly to retain these benefits.

How To Maintain Your Home’s Gutter System

As you can see from the previous section, not maintaining the home gutter system can lead to various issues around your home. Below are the top six tips for cleaning your home’s gutter. 

  1. Clean Regularly

A hose will suffice to spraydown your gutters, but something a little more powerful, such as high-pressure water or a plumbing snake, may be required to loosen objects such as pine needles, compressed leaves, and small branches from your downpipes. 

You'll be grateful you took the trouble to clear them out so that your whole gutter system works properly and smoothly.

Gutter cleaning is recommended at least twice a year, preferably in the spring and fall. If you live in a densely forested area, you may need to increase your gutter cleaning per year schedule to as often as twice a week to maintain debris-free gutters.

  1. Check The Downspouts for Clogs

Along with cleaning the gutters, you should check your downspouts for clogs. Once your downspouts become blocked with dirt, leaves, and other debris, the water has nowhere to go and backs up, pouring over the sides during rainstorms. 

If you can't inspect the inside of your downspouts, you can check the flow and clear all clogs with a garden hose fitted with a pressure nozzle.

  1. Consider Downspout Extensions

Many downspouts only have splash blocks that catch and channel water a few feet away from the house. Because high water flows can displace these systems, if you do not routinely check and readjust your splash blocks, water may pool around the foundation or enter the basement. 

Consider setting up downspout extensions rather than the standard splash block. These flexible ducts can be connected to your existing downspouts to direct water away from the house and foundation.

  1.  Add a Gutter Guard

If you reside in a place with lots of trees, such as a pine forest, you will have to check the gutters regularly to make sure that they are free of pine needles, leaves, and other debris. Gutter guards can help keep larger particles from clogging up your gutters. , A gutter guard is flat and goes on top of the gutter, acting as a drain with its perforated screen.

WARNING: Since wasps and bees have been known to search out and use gutter guards for their nests, you should check  guards periodically to ensure that they are not clogged or inhabited.

  1. Seal All Gutter Leaks

Look out for tiny leaks or holes after cleaning your home’s gutters. If you find any, seal them with a quality gutter caulking substance like butyl rubber caulk. Spread the caulking mixture evenly over every hole or leak with a putty knife or butter knife.

  1. Have Your Gutters Secured by a Professional

Gutters of your home can become loose or detached over time. This can cause water damage to your home's exterior and foundation. Some DIYers can safeguard gutters with a few simple tools. 

However, securing the gutters can be risky, particularly on a ladder. You shouldn't let them sag. If you notice any loose or detached gutters, we suggest contacting a professional.

Final Words

Rain gutter cleaning isn't a task for everyone. If you don't have the hours or desire to climb up and down a ladder, you should hire  a professional to do it for you. Keep in mind that anyone working on your house should be licensed and properly insured.

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