Why you should be checking and maintaining your gutters every year

Why you should be checking and maintaining your gutters every year
Photo: Ronstik, Bigstock

There is a lot of work around the house throughout the year. From taking care of the facade and backyard to internal maintenance of the attic and basement, it’s easy to forget a chore or two. And when it comes to gutters, they fall under “the forgotten” territory until you notice water inside your home.

Of course, insurance will cover the damage somewhat so you should definitely consider getting one, but a yearly gutters checkup can save you a lot of trouble as well. Therefore, here is why you should keep your gutters in great shape and some advice on how to do it properly.    

Proper installation is a good start

Not all gutters are installed in the same way and a lot of it depends on the building and the materials it’s made from. Installing a proper gutter system is a job for a professional since they have years of experience and know how to adjust the process. When installing a gutter, it’s important to note the number of trees around the building since that means a lot of leafage and branches in the future that can cause clogging.

Additionally, depending on the climate, the gutters may have to withstand a considerable weight during their lifetime and so their type will depend on that. If downspouts are not installed in an appropriate location or they lack in number, the gutters will accumulate water and overflow during heavy rains. And this will also lead to more damage since standing water can cause rust and erosion.

Pay attention to angling

In order for water to flow down the gutters, they need to be positioned at a certain angle. Namely, they need a slope that will allow water to run but not too angled to impair the design of the building. Angling is crucial when installing gutters since it will prevent standing water to accumulate and destroy the gutter system.

Standing water is also a danger to the interior walls since the gutters will easily overflow and allow it to drip on the side of the building. Beside foundation and structural damage, it can also lead to electrical problems and health issues from the onset of mould. Moreover, the gutters will become heavy and put considerable weight to the roof which can easily fall off on the outer side or collapse in itself.

Clogging is the most common problem

Even if you don’t have any trees near your building, gutters will get clogged over time due to debris carried by the winds. If you perform regular maintenance of your gutters, you will barely experience any problems since not only will they be unclogged but also you will notice other issues like rust and cracks. And the best thing is that in most cases, you will be able to unclog them all by yourself with a ladder and gloves.  

However, in case that the clog is too serious, you may need to use a plumbing snake or pressured water. Also, a serious clog may require to disassemble the gutter or downspout and in that case – it’s better to call an expert to avoid damage.  

They can cause structural damage

In Australia, homeowners have to maintain their gutters in good shape since the winter there is mostly mild and consists of a rainy period. For example, maintenance and gutter installation begin as soon as April since the rains start in June and last until the end of August. And in case of downpours, having rusty, cracked or broken gutters can cause damage to the exterior and interior of the structure.

However, snowfall can also present a problem for old gutters especially when it starts to melt. Sometimes due to fluctuations in temperature, the melting snow would turn to ice which can strain the gutters and cause them to break. Therefore, before every winter, check the integrity of your gutters and fix the issues in time in order to prevent any inconvenience or structural damage to the house.

Taking care of the leaking gutters

Another fairly common problem is the leaking gutter which happens when the joints are worn down or have debris in them. Joints are the crucial part of gutters and the integrity of the whole system depends on them. Damp walls in the interior of buildings are a direct result from the leaking gutters due to damaged joints.

But problematic joints are not the only cause of leaking gutters. If your gutters have loose hangars that can put extra weight to them and deform them overtime since they can’t carry the extra weight during rainfall. Moreover, gutters sustain damage during storms since winds carry stones, branches and other types of debris that can knock them down. All this will require immediate repair in order to keep your home safe from further damage and costs.

All in all

When you start regular maintenance of the house, don’t forget the gutters. With yearly gutters checkup, you will not only keep them clean but also protect your home from possible damage. That will help you avoid expensive damage control and health issues that may arise from damp walls and mould inside the walls.

 

What do you think about it?