Gutters are typically damaged by anything from foliage to water to the wear and tear of time. These important home components are there to keep excess moisture away from the home and maintain the potency of the soil, which is why it's so important to get them ready for the worst of Mother Nature. To protect the foundation, resale value, and integrity of the structure, homeowners should make gutter maintenance a routine practice.
Use Gutter Sealants
A gutter sealant is a common way to fix these attachments, and they’re highly recommended to avoid a more costly replacement. The actual sealant is little more than specialized epoxy that can be picked up at any hardware store for less than $10. If the gutters are really starting to tear away from the home, metal flashing can also be purchased to avoid replacing the gutter. Simply use the epoxy to attach the flashing and reinforce the gutters. If the actual gutter is beginning to deteriorate though (e.g., large holes, tears, etc.), the only option may be to replace.
Prevent Pest Infestations in the Gutters
The gutters are also a very attractive hiding spot for all kinds of pests – insects, small animals, birds and all kinds of critters. Squirrels and birds like to build their nests out of the leaves and twigs fallen in there. Roaches, wasps and many other insects thrive in the rotting debris which can be found in there. These pests can be the reason for serious blockages and gutter damage that will cost you a lot. And the stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which are a real scourge for every homeowner.
Except for proper maintenance, specialists advise installing gutter guards as an efficient way to prevent the pests from getting inside the gutters. There are a few gutter guard options available on the market, and they are all very efficient:
Foam or brush guards – these are placed inside the gutters, and the water runs through them, but the hard particles get stuck to them, without getting to the downpipe, where they can clog the entire system.
Gutter screens – they are made from mesh or perforated screens, you install them on top of the gutters, and they prevent pests and leaves from getting in.
Gutter hoods – they are similar to the screens, but they are made from a solid material, and there’s only a small opening in the end, which allows for the water to enter, but keeps everything else away.
How to Clean a Gutter
Here are a few pointers to cleaning a gutter:
- Time: Ideally, homeowners will clean their gutters once in spring and once in fall. This will keep the downspouts clear for all storms ahead.
- Prioritize: Starting at the downspout gives homeowners a way to remove the major debris first. Once all the larger items are out of the way, homeowners can use a hose to flush out the rest of the materials.
- Extra Mile: If the downspout goes under the ground, homeowners will need to carefully shift it above ground to clean. Use a snaking tool if debris can’t be reached by hand.
Use a Ladder
Any home maintenance done above ground can be risky, but professionals recommend using a ladder so no one needs to stand on the roof. Don’t use the top three rungs of the ladder for additional stability and never lean to one side or the other to reach debris. Staying directly on the area in front may take longer, but there are far fewer chances of an accident.
Cleaning out the gutters of a St. Albert home is often an unpleasant task that owners will ignore until it's too late. Taking these precautions and steps will make it possible for homeowners to catch signs of damage long before they have to call a contractor to put new gutters up (or worse, do it themselves). To prevent everything from mold to soil damage, keep an eye on the gutters at least twice a year.
By Justin Havre