One of the biggest and most important preventative maintenance steps that homeowners can take is keeping up on their gutter maintenance; equally important is knowing what to do in the event that damage or disrepair is discovered. Without a way of effectively channeling water off of and away from your roof, you put it at risk of developing icicles and ice dams, which can cause shingle damage, propagate mold and mildew, and eventually structural damage.
To best protect your investment and keep your home’s gutter system running smoothly and efficiently, here are some tips that homeowners can follow all year to properly clean and maintain their gutters as well as how to perform repairs for common problems.
Clean Your Gutters Out Every Spring and Autumn
Before feeling the pinch of winter or summer, take a ladder and a pair of gloves, and clear your gutters of any visible debris. Be sure to check the mouth of each downspout for any obstructions as well to ensure maximum drainage efficiency. Use a hose to rinse out the gutters once finished removing all solids. Make a note of any disrepair or holes you may find.
Remove and Remediate Rust
If you encounter any surface rust during your inspection: 1) remove it with a wire brush, 2) cover it with a coat of roofing cement.
Seal Holes with Sheet Metal and Roofing Cement
Should you find any holes in your gutters: 1) cut a piece of sheet metal to size using tin snips, 2) remove any rust with a wire brush, 3) apply roofing cement around it, 4) place a patch of sheet metal over the hole, adding more roofing cement over the top.
Repair Detached Gutter Mounting
A common problem that can cause serious repercussions over time is detached gutters and downspouts, which can form icicles and run water down towards the foundation of your house. Using sheet metal screws, U-shaped brackets, and a drill, create a pilot hole then drill the gutter or downspout back into place. It is also common for downspouts to become loose around the neck where they attach to the gutter, so be sure to check the screws here and retighten if necessary.
Seal any Gaps with Gutter Caulk
While inspecting the gutters, should you see any gaps in your gutters, be sure to seal them with gutter caulk, then allow them to dry. Be sure to check all end caps and downspouts for any loose pieces; push back into place and seal with gutter caulk if discovered.
Fix a Sagging Gutter
If water is allowed to accumulate and linger in one spot, it can put pressure on the fascia, making it sag over time. If you find this to be the case, putting plastic shims between the gutter and the fascia until the gutter levels out may be a good solution in the short-term, but the best long-term solution is to remove the gutter and replace the fascia completely, so be prepared to make this repair in the future.