Though they can be a bit of a hassle, gutters really do exist for a reason. They divert rain, snow, and debris from your roof, home, and foundation, and can preserve the life of your home for decades if maintained properly. That’s why it’s so important to keep them clean, and why we keep talking about gutter maintenance. Unfortunately, neglected gutters lead to serious issues like ice dams, foundation erosion, molding of your home’s exterior, and even cracks in the foundation. The only way to prevent this is to make sure your gutter system is well taken care of. And while it may be the last thing you want to hear, that all starts with cleaning them out regularly. Here are the steps you should take this season to make sure your gutters are prepped and ready for winter:
Clear Them Out
Probably the most unsavory task on the list, you will have to get up on a ladder at some point to clean out any leaves, twigs, or additional debris. We won’t judge you if you hire someone to do this part; it’s not fun. If you do decide to buckle down and clear them out yourself, all you need is a sturdy ladder, a good pair of gloves, and a gutter scoop or small shovel. Make sure you pay attention to the corners and trouble spots where leaves are more likely to get hung up.
Inspect Gutter Seams and Anchors
While you’re up cleaning out the gutters, make sure you’re observant. You’ll want to inspect each seam on your gutters for leaks, as well as the anchors attaching the gutter to the fascia. If you see any space between the gutter and the fascia, or you spot a leak, you should call a professional to patch up the problem. Any leaks or spaces can lead to water erosion of the fascia, your siding, landscaping, and even foundation. The quicker you get that fixed, the better shape your home will be in for the winter.
Check Your Downspouts
You also want to make sure that any and all downspouts are clear, as a backup could cause your downspout to freeze and crack later in the season. This job is a little easier since you can always use a garden hose with an end attachment to blast out any clumps of leaves or debris. Once the downspouts are clear, double check that they’re directing water at least 10 feet from your house, and that water is flowing away from your home. If not, it’s important to diagnose and fix the issue now, before the weather gets worse. Water that pools up near your foundation can lead to dangerous structural issues.
Inspect Home for Any Structural Damage
It’s easy to check your home for any structural damage while you’re working on the downspouts. As you double-check to make sure that your downspouts are directing water away from your home, make sure you’re looking at your foundation too. If you see any signs of staining, mold, or even cracks in the foundation, it’s time for some repairs. Same goes for the siding and fascia of your home. If you see any signs of water damage, call a professional now to get the issue taken care of before a storm hits.
Install Snow Guards
Here in Oregon, we get our fair share of snow in certain areas. If you are concerned about the build-up of snow freezing your gutters, you should consider installing snow guards. While they are not always necessary, they are great at managing the amount that builds up to ensure your gutter system doesn’t experience any excessive pressure or weight due to increased snowfall.
Remember checking on your downspouts? Well if you’re concerned, they’re not directing water far enough away from your home, you might want to think about adding a few extensions. Extensions function to direct the flow of water even farther away from the foundation, easing any worries you may have had about cracks or leaks in your foundation. They also work great if you’re trying to avoid icy patches near your patio. Relatively inexpensive, downspout extensions are a quick and easy solution you can install yourself.
If you have any more questions about getting your roof or gutters ready for the upcoming winter season, make sure to give Platinum Roofing a call! We’ve been in the business for decades and would be more than happy to make any repairs you need to your roof or gutter before the seasons change.