How do you maintain rain gutters?
We will be looking at practical tips to care for your gutter systems.
It is necessary to carry out gutter cleaning at least bi-annually; especially during spring and fall.
If you plan only one cleaning, it’s most practical to do it in the late fall after the trees have shed their leaves.
Pick a dry day so leaves and small twigs can be removed by hand or with a handheld blower that may have an attachment designed for this purpose.
Gutter Blockage, Leaves
Be prepared to remove encrusted layers of leaves and other debris from the gutter trough.
If you encounter this kind of buildup you may wish to tackle it a little while after a rain when the material is damp. Or you can always hose down the debris.
Be careful however not to drive the packed debris into the downspouts where it may become lodged.
While you are removing debris, check for corrosion, holes, dents, sagging and leaking areas, and missing, loose or bent hangers or spikes. Mark problem areas with painter’s tape so you can spot them when you are ready to make repairs.
Clean the gutter around the downspout area first because this is the place most likely for debris to collect.
Gently flush your gutters with a garden hose or a gutter cleaning tool after you have cleaned them.
This will verify whether your gutters are draining well or if they are holding standing water, which contributes to many gutter problems.
Get rid of standing water by increasing the grade of your gutter to create and maintain the proper drain slope. Gutters should slope downward at least 1/4″ for every 5′-10′ of the gutter.
Here is the average cost to clean gutters.
You’ll probably be able to adjust the grade simply by bending the hangers. However, it may be necessary to take down an entire gutter section and remount the hangers.
Sometimes hangers have outlived their usefulness and need to be replaced.
Many sagging gutters are a result of hanger nails or gutter-holding spikes that are loosed or backed out.
This problem can be fixed by reattaching the nails, and if this does not work, go with screws as replacements.
Spikes can’t be replaced with screws. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to re-nail the spike slightly to the side, above or below its original hole. Block the old hole behind the gutter using a sealant.
If the hangers are solidly in place but the gutter still droops, it may be the gutter is exposed to an undue amount of weight. The hangers can often be bent to put the gutter back into position.
If a downspout is clogged, work to loosen debris from the bottom of the downspout or you may pack it tighter. You may be able to unstop the downspout by using water pressure.
Run a garden hose up into the spout from the bottom. Turn the water on full blast and watch to see if water starts coming out the top.
If this doesn’t work, try a plumber’s snake, also running it up from the bottom. Finally, if all else fails, take off the downspout and poke around inside to find the reason for the clog.
If you have rust in the gutter, check to see if it’s surface rust or if the rust is eating through the metal. You can easily determine this with a piece of sandpaper. Where you see the rust, sand it down. If it’s just surface rust, you can remove it with just a little sanding. If the rust goes deeper after just a little sanding then the rust is eating into the metal and needs to be replaced.
If the gutters have surface rust and if the joints are still soldered, then the gutters probably don’t leak. If the rust is eating into the metal, then your only real solution to keep the gutters from leaking is replacing the gutters.
Cleaning ice dam, icicles
Ice damming can be an issue with gutters.
Refreezing of melted snow at the roof overhang in a “dam” can trap water under shingles or other roof-finishing layers, causing leaks through roof deck joints and nail holes.
Heat tapes can aid in the prevention of ice damming and keep your gutters working properly, but insulation and attic ventilation problems should be addressed first to minimize the problem of ice damming.
Snow guards can also be attached to a roof in a pattern used to prevent snow from sliding from the roof in a sheet onto the ground. These are used on steep-sloped roofs and metal roofs.
Snow guards come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials. They are available for every type of roofing material along with their respective application and range widely in price.
They can be very helpful in keeping snow and ice from dislodging and sliding off and damaging the roof gutter.
Bird Blockage, Downspout
Bird nests can also be the reason for clogging.
Clear dirt from old nests and open up the blocked downspout. Then before birds start a new nest, tie a cord to the soffit and let it down over the area that the old nest occupied.
Birds do not like anything hanging or swinging over their head and will find a better place to nest.
These are the easiest ways to carry out maintenance services on your roof gutter system.