Gutters play an important role in protecting your home from water. They direct water that falls from your roof away from your house so that the water can drain in the proper location. In addition, by directing the water away from your home, your house and its building materials are less susceptible to suffering water damage. Basements also have a lesser chance of being flooded because the gutters will prevent the water from running down your home’s siding or pooling next to the foundation.
Problems from Poorly Maintained Gutters
Gutters can only fulfill their purpose if they are properly maintained. When gutters are filled and clogged with fallen leaves and other debris, water is unable to drain away from your home. Instead, gutters become filled with water until it overflows. The extra weight from the water and debris can also cause your gutters to eventually be pulled loose, making them even less effective. When there are pools of water in sheet-metal gutters, the water causes the gutters to rust. When there are pools of water in wooden gutters, the water causes the gutters to rot.
Furthermore, when water overflows from gutters, the water will not be directed away from the home. This gives water the opportunity to accumulate near your home, potentially causing water damage to your home’s foundation. This also means water will run down along the side of your home, which may cause the siding to rot or become stained. Even worse, water may leak into your home’s basement. If enough water leaks down there, it can cause your basement to flood.
Gutter Maintenance Tips
Knowing all this, it is important to perform regular gutter maintenance to prevent water damage and basement flooding. Your home’s gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year ― once in the spring and once in the fall. If you have trees that are directly above your home’s roof or live in an area that experiences a lot of storms, then you should have your gutters cleaned on a more frequent basis to ensure that they can work effectively.
If you are going to clean your gutters yourself, make sure you are comfortable with and capable of safely using a ladder. If not, hire a professional service to clean your gutters. When cleaning your gutters, you should have protective gear — such as heavy work gloves, safety goggles or glasses, or a face mask — on hand. This gear will protect you from any debris and sharp objects.
Some tools you can use to clean out your gutters include a leaf blower, a rake, a gutter scoop, and a hose.
Leaf blowers are suitable for low-sloped roofs and can even be connected to a gutter cleaning kit. Use a gutter scoop to remove leaves and other debris from your gutter. If you don’t have a gutter scoop, then you can use a narrow garden trowel. It’s useful to have a plastic bucket on hand so that you can quickly and easily dispose of any waste that has been sitting in your gutters. Use your garden hose to flush out any dirt that’s stuck in the gutter and to check that water can properly drain from the gutters. You can also use a pressure washer but be wary of its high-pressure power.
Check that the downspouts direct water far enough away from your home to drain safely. If not, get the extensions for the downspouts to prevent water from accumulating near your home and ensure it drains properly at a distance.
When you clean out your gutters, you should also inspect them to make sure they’re properly secured and in good condition so that they work effectively. If you need to re-secure your gutters, then you might need to redo the rivets and/or spikes. If your gutters have cracks or holes, close them up using silicone sealant. Heavily damaged gutters should be replaced as soon as possible to prevent additional damage to your home.
This fall, keep the aforementioned tips and information in mind and be proactive to prevent your gutters from causing water damage in your home. One day of gutter cleaning and maintenance can help prevent basement flooding or water damage that will cost you in restoration and repairs. If you do experience water damage or basement flooding from your faulty gutters, call our professionals at ServiceMaster Professional Services for our water damage restoration services. Our water damage experts will work to remove excess water and moisture, thoroughly dry out your home, and make repairs on any affected building materials.
You can reach SVMPS 24 hours a day at (800) 245-4622 for emergency water damage restoration in the Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN area.