When do you last remember checking your guttering? If you’re like most of us you won’t be able to remember when this was, if this is the case then it’s most probably a great time to do some gutter maintenance.
Most the time your gutters will fall into the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ category, for the most part, this is fine but you need to remember that your gutters play a massive part in the structural integrity of your house. Making sure you keep them clean and maintained is a good way to keep away potential repairs which could cost more than you were expecting.
Guttering has one (very important) job, this is to make sure the rainwater runs off your roof and down your drain pipes. If your gutters become blocked or broken there can be rather serious results, it can range from needing your guttering repaired or replaced to structural damage, all the way to damp inside your house which can be a serious health hazard for yourself and your family.
Despite their importance, gutter maintenance usually gets forgotten about until something goes wrong, no matter which style you have, from plastic, pressed steel or cast iron gutters, you need to ensure they are cleaned out annually to make sure they keep performing properly. Read on to find out some more information about how to keep your gutters in shape and to avoid any nasty surprises.
What are the main causes of blocked or broken gutters?
The main thing to remember when trying to avoid large scale gutter repairs is that clean gutters are less inclined to become damaged or blocked. The two most common issues in home guttering are blockages in either the guttering itself or the down (drain) pipe. Most of the time these blockages are caused by debris(this will likely be leaves or moss fallen from trees).
The two main ways to notice if you have any issues with your gutters are to pop outside quickly when it’s raining and have a look at your house. The two things you are looking for are either sagging guttering or water running down the side of your house. These signs show that your gutter is in need of maintenance as you most likely have a blockage. If your gutter is sagging it may also be a sign that you have faulty brackets or some of the fixings have come loose. With regular cleaning, you will be able to spot these faults early to help take precautions before any major damage is caused.
Leaky gutter joints are a common issue regarding gutter maintenance. One of the major causes of damp inside the home is due to leaking gutters, if you have any damp inside your house it is advisable to check your guttering first to work out if you can isolate the issue before looking into other reasons.
How to clean or fix blocked and damaged gutters
The easiest and most efficient way to deal with blocked or damaged guttering is to call in the professionals. They will be the best people to assess the situation and advise on the best way to resolve the situation, chances are they will sort out any issues you have there and then but at the same time they can advise and teach you how best to maintain and clean your gutters in the future. The main tools they will need will be a ladder that stretches to your roof, some thick garden gloves, a hose, some garden waste bags for the debris, some type of scooping tool and a long piece of stiff wire. Of course, they will bring all of this equipment but it’s nice to know what you will need should you decide to take up the task at some point in the future.
As previously mentioned the two common causes of blockage are in your guttering and in the drain pipe. If they notice a blockage in your guttering then they will remove any large debris and then flush the remaining debris down your drain. If the blockage originates in your drain pipe then they will use the long wire to make a hole in the middle of the blockage so when you then run the water down the pipe is should start to work away the debris from the centre now there is a path for the water to run through. Once they believe they have sorted the blockage they will most likely aim your hose up to your roof to ensure the water runs its path into the guttering and down the drain pipe.
If you notice you have a leak in your guttering then to start with you can try removing the affected section of guttering and cleaning the joints, sometimes dirt and grit can cause the guttering to loosen or separate which will cause the leak. If this does not help then you may have cracks in your guttering which will need repairs, you can try cleaning the section and repairing it with sealant but this is normally where you should call in the professionals to make sure you get the job done properly. This will give you peace of mind and also mean you have less chance of needing extensive gutter repairs in the future.
Whats the best long-term solution for gutter maintenance?
We would recommend that you clean your gutters (or get them cleaned) annually, ideally, this should be done just before winter and after the worst time for falling leaves in autumn. This ensures you will hopefully have seen the worst time of year for your gutters in regards to blockages but before the worst weather of the year has arrived. This will mean you should get through the winter without any issues of blockages but if you do notice any issues you will have time to get someone in to fix any issues.
Once the winter is over you should do a spot check on your gutters to ensure that they haven’t taken any serious damage over the winter. Heavy snowfall or particularly bad weather can affect your gutters so it’s best to check before the spring showers start.
If you live in a neighbourhood that is abundant in trees and you think that debris will be unavoidable then you can purchase a ‘gutter guard’. Although they will not keep all the debris from entering your gutter they do help filter out the larger pieces which means you should have fewer issues with blockages. If you install these they are not a solution to stop all blockages and you should still clean your gutters once a year.
Gutter maintenance and repair
Finally as mentioned above, if you have any issues you can not deal with or need some advice on how you should be dealing with your guttering please make sure you call us here at Gutter Maintenance. We are highly trained professionals and are happy to provide advice or training on how to keep your guttering in good shape, alternatively, we would be more than happy to come out to survey the situation and do all the dirty work for you.