Any part of the house above the ceiling or in the basement is usually neglected. However, the roof gutter, in particular, receives as much or more damage from the elements than windows, walls, and other accessible parts of the house. As a result, we only maintain or replace our roof gutter when it is beyond repair. This is why clean gutters such an important part of home maintenance.
WHAT ARE GUTTERS FOR?
Most homeowners take their roof gutter for granted because they are unaware of what it does and how it is affected by natural forces and elements. To understand how to keep the gutter in tip-top shape, first understand its functions.
The roof gutter drains the roof. It transports rainwater from the roof to a safe area on the ground. A downspout connects the main gutter element to the catch basin. The catch basin removes debris that could clog the sewer, which then drains into the community.
TYPES OF GUTTER DAMAGE
Consider the roof gutter’s function and location to see what types of damage it can sustain on normal days and bad weather. After neglecting your roof gutter for a long time, you may discover the following types of damage.
Just like your home’s drainage system, your roof gutter can clog when stuffed with objects or substances that require other disposal methods. When there isn’t enough water flow, dust and debris from the roof can get stuck in the gutter. This is why gutter cleaning is critical.
Today’s roof gutters are galvanized. It’s a type of steel treated with melted zinc or another non-ferrous metal to prevent corrosion. However, over time, the protective coating wears off, exposing the steel. Steel is made of iron and carbon. While carbon helps prevent iron from combining with oxygen to form rust, it is insufficient to completely protect steel. Slowly eating away the steel roof gutter until holes and cracks appear.
In some cases, depending on your home’s architecture, your gutter system may be made up of several segments connected by connectors. Although these connectors are built to last, they are not indestructible. Large gusts of wind or falling tree branches can cause them to sag or disconnect, allowing water to flow onto the wall or other structural elements of your home.
GUTTER DAMAGE EFFECTS
Any major roof gutter damage should not be ignored. If it fails to do its job, water can freely enter your home and cause havoc. Here are some of the consequences of unattended gutter damage.
A clogged gutter traps water and forms a dam. The dam can be high enough to cause water to back up into the roof, depending on the amount of debris. This can seriously damage the decking and other roofing materials.
Water Damage To The Fascia Board
The gutter is usually hidden behind the fascia board. Wet gutter water softens fascia boards, causing them to crack or disintegrate over time.
Water falling from the roof has enough power to saturate the soil around your house, which happens to be the only thing that holds your house’s footing together. If this continues, the soil will fail to support your home. The footing may shift, causing major structural damage.
HOW TO CLEAN GUTTERS
Keep roof runoff away from your home and landscaping by including gutter cleaning in your spring and fall home maintenance routine. It also allows you to check your rain gutters for leaks and sagging.
When you’re ready to do it yourself, follow these simple steps:
Gather All Materials And Tools
Before you start cleaning your gutters, make sure you’re up to the task. If working on a ladder doesn’t feel right, hire a contractor to assist you. What you’ll need to clean your gutters:
- Gutter cleaning supplies
- Gutter scoop or shovel
- A tarp
- A hose
- Awning (if needed)
- Mold remover
Use A Sturdy Ladder
Trying to clean gutters from the roof is risky. Use a ladder with ladder horns to avoid damaging the gutter. Make sure your ladder is stable and has a spotter, such as a family member or neighbor.
Also, reaching out as far as you can to avoid moving the ladder isn’t worth the risk. Remember to keep your waist between the ladder rails and move the ladder along the gutter to remove all the debris.
Get Everything Out
You can use a gutter scoop, a small gardening shovel, or your hands with rubber gloves. Lay a tarp down below the gutters and move the tarp with the ladder, or use a bucket.
Check For Sagging Gutters
In order to safely move water off your roof and away from your home, gutter pitch is critical. Snow loads, ice, and wind can all cause your gutters to sag in the middle over time. Install hidden bracket gutter hangers. Remember, if you’re not up to it, you can always hire a pro. You’ll need the following supplies:
- A tall ladder and someone to spot your ladder
- Screws for gutter hangers
- A cordless drill for the fascia screws
- A hose to clean the gutters
Once you’ve emptied the gutters with a shovel or your hands, flush them out. To clean the downspouts, use a garden hose.
Using full force, start at the opposite downspout. Check that the spout is clean. Work the hose up the downspout until it’s clear.
Fix Leaks And Repaint
Repairs may be needed after cleaning the gutters. Dry the area with a towel and apply a bead of exterior grade silicone sealant.
Summary: Steps To Clean Gutters
Any part of the house above the ceiling or in the basement is usually neglected. However, the roof gutter, in particular, receives as much or more damage from the elements than windows, walls, and other accessible parts of the house. As a result, we only maintain or replace our roof gutter when it is beyond repair.
If you have any questions about Steps To Clean Gutters contact me today.