How to reduce and prevent gutter leaks and damage

Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Gutters are long horizontal troughs along the ends of roofs that catch and direct rainwater away from landing straight down the sides of the house. Water falling directly at the sides of a house can weaken and displace the soil, compromising the building’s foundation. This can also cause excessive moisture collection along the walls, windows and doors of the house. That’s why even though gutters are mostly looked over in picking out a house, it is important to maintain and pay attention to a home’s gutters.

Gutters are regularly subjected to clogging from outdoor debris such as leaves, twigs and some blown away pieces of wood. It is recommended to clean them at least twice a year to maintain peak working conditions. Gutter clogging will cause water to overflow to the sides, resulting in fascia rotting and excessive soffit stress that leads to heavy gutter and structure damages. Making sure this system is kept clean and intact contributes much to the safety and security of a home.

Common causes of faulty and leaking gutters are found out to be due to improper installation, lack of necessary maintenance and seasonal weather damage especially from heavy snowfall or strong storm winds. To prevent gutter damage, one should first identify the source of the problem through inspection. Repairs should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid further destruction that would require more pricey repairs and would prompt the decrease of the home’s overall value.

Sometimes gutter overflow could be caused by downspout clogging. Downspouts are vertical pipes attached to the gutters that lead the water down a drainage ditch or simply on to ground level. To fix downspout clogging, after cleaning the gutters use a high-pressure hose or plumbing snake to move clogging debris out of the pipe.

To further prevent gutter problems from arising, installation of gutter guards could be done to keep away debris from landing or entering a gutter system. Splash guards can also be installed to stop water splashing due to fast-falling rains or due to steep roofs. Splashing would cause almost the same amount of problems as gutter overflow as it could again result in water damage and weakening the home’s foundation.

Another way for prevention is to inspect the gutter for incorrect tilting, sloping and correcting such problems early on. Adjust the positions of the home’s gutters according to what would fit with the house’s structure and what would work best for draining.

For places with heavy snowfall, adding a heating apparatus to gutter guards will help melt frozen waters and built up snow that was able to pass through the gutter guards. Insulation and ventilation in a house’s roofing would primarily melt snow as it lands on the roof and would lessen the need for a heated gutter guard and decrease winter season maintenance. But for simpler methods, buying a roof rake, or improvising one out of a regular garden rake, and clearing out snow build-up manually can be done instead.