The average cost of gutter installation is around $850. This makes gutter installation one of the less-costly home improvement projects.
However, without proper maintenance, gutters will get you returning to your pocket often in a bid to fix them.
As such, keeping your gutters in excellent condition should be among your top home maintenance priorities.
Additionally, well-maintained gutters not only ensure that your home remains safe during storms and heavy rainfall, but also prevent secondary problems such as mold and pest.
Poor gutter maintenance results in the ideal environment that promotes issues such as clogging and leaking.
While cleaning and maintenance of gutters might sound difficult and tedious, it is a relatively straightforward process once you learn how to do it correctly.
If you are not comfortable with the idea of balancing on a ladder, you can always hire a professional gutter maintenance company to do the job.
Don’t let your minor gutter repairs snowball into something much worse. Save yourself some trouble by learning these essential gutter maintenance tips.
1. Safety First
Before you embark on cleaning your gutters, ensure that you have all the necessary safety equipment. You will need a pair of heavy work gloves to protect your hands, non-slip shoes, and safety goggles.
Next, you will need a tall enough ladder. Ensure that you place it on an even surface to prevent rocking. If possible, have someone below you to ensure the ladder stays in its place.
While on the ladder, make sure that your hips are always between the rails, while never leaning on the sides or working on the topmost two steps.
If your gutters are more than a story high or there are power lines nearby, it is best to call a gutter professional to avoid unnecessary risks.
2. Regularly Cleaning Your Gutters
Regular gutter maintenance increases the lifespan of gutters, thus ensuring your home’s exterior stays immaculate for longer as well.
The rule of thumb when it comes to gutter maintenance is to inspect and clean them at least twice a year, especially during autumn and spring.
Nonetheless, that is not set in stone, and there are instances where you might need to perform maintenance more often.
For example, people who live in rainy areas should perform maintenance more regularly since the susceptibility of the gutters to clogging is high.
The following are some gutter cleaning tips.
- Using gloved hands and a plastic shovel, remove debris from the gutter and dump it into a bucket.
- Use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to clean out the remaining dirt and debris.
Once you are on the other end away from the downspout, open the hose flush so that the leftover debris can drain down the spout.
- If the water is not draining, chances are the downspout is clogged
- Insert your garden hose into the spout and spray the nozzle at full pressure.
The stream should dislodge the blockage. If it doesn’t, you might need to use something such as the plumber’s snake tool to reach the clogged material and dislodge it.
- Reattach and tighten any pieces that were loosened or removed when working on the downspout.
- Reattach the spray nozzle to the hose and flush the gutters one more time.
3. Clear Your Roof
Always remember to be safe when scaling such heights. Also, never go to the rood when it is ice, wet, or when there are strong winds. If the weather is ideal, scale the roof and use a rake to remove leaves and other debris.
This ensures that the next rainfall does not drag them into the gutters, and clog them. Be sure to educate yourself on proper roof maintenance tactics.
4. Check for Rust, Leaks, and Holes
After you are done cleaning the gutters, do not forget to inspect them. This will involve looking for signs of rust and leaks. Also, check out the gutter joints.
If you spot any holes, embark on patching them up using metal flashing or a gutter patching kit that you can get at a home improvement store.
If it is the joints which are leaking, or the holes are tiny, consider applying a sealant as well as caulking the joints.
However, if you notice rust, it means that your gutters have reached the end of their lifespan. They need to be replaced. Consider switching to gutters made of aluminum, copper, or vinyl as they don’t rust.
5. Check the Downspouts
You will also need to perform the same inspection on your downspouts. Therefore, check for leaks and rust, as well as clogging. Also, ensure that they extend several feet away from your home so they do not drain water too close to your foundation.
6. Eliminate Pests and Rodents
There are several kinds of pests and small animals that might have made your gutters their home. This is a problem for you for so many reasons.
One, their nests will definitely cause you a clogging problem. Secondly, they are likely to find their way into your home, resulting in a pest infestation.
Thirdly, rodents will attract snakes, and you might find yourself dealing with a slithery problem.
Once clogged, the collected water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, adding to your problems. Eliminating pests is something best left for pest control experts.
Coming face to face with a snake or even bees is not something you want while you’re over 10 feet up a ladder.
7. Update Your Gutter
While most gutter maintenance focuses on functionality, you stand to dramatically boost your curb appeal by updating your current gutters. If you are on a budget, consider going for aluminum gutters.
They do not rust, can be painted, have a long lifespan, and are cost-effective.
Nonetheless, you cannot install them yourself. Have a professional do it for you.
Proper Gutter Maintenance Goes a Long Way
Gutter maintenance is among the most overlooked home maintenance projects. Nevertheless, one can be forgiven since they can’t tell the state of the gutter while looking down from below.
However, without proper care, you will find yourself potentially looking at a host of avoidable issues such as clogging, mold, pests, and more.
With proper care and maintenance, however, you will have functional gutters that look good, boosting your home’s exterior.
Would you like some help taking care of your gutters?
TC Backer has been helping residents of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware with their home improvement projects. Years of dedicated service has allowed the Better Business Bureau to accredit us with an A+ rating.
Contact us today and let us help you.