You might not think it by looking at them, but your gutters are crucial to the structural integrity of your roof and your home. No, they don’t hold anything up, but they do remove one of the most dangerous and damaging substances that threaten your home: water. Plus, keeping your gutters clear is an important part of maintaining the warranty on your roof, if you have one.
If your gutters are clogged, they can’t effectively remove water—which is essential in the rainy Pacific Northwest. When water pools or overflows in your gutters, it could leak into your roof or drip down to the foundation of your home causing a myriad of expensive problems you don’t want:
- Premature roof deterioration
- Attic mold
- Cracks in the foundation
- Basement flooding
- Deterioration of sidewalks and driveways
To keep your home strong and water-free, take care of your gutters. Here are a few gutter maintenance tips to help you protect your roof and your home.
1. Clean Your Gutters Twice Per Year (At Least)
The most important part of gutter maintenance is keeping them clean. No, it’ll never be fun, but it’ll save you serious money on roofing repairs and home maintenance down the road.
Twice per year—once in the spring and again in the fall—break out your ladder and gardening gloves and scoop up all the leaves and mud that have accumulated over the past several months. The more debris stuck in your gutters, the more likely they are to get clogged.
If you live near trees—especially fir and cedar trees that shed needles all year—you might need to increase the frequency you clean your gutters.
Ensuring that water can safely drain off your roof is the best way to prevent water from ruining your roof or home.
2. Use a Garden Hose to Clean your Gutters
Once you’ve removed the larger leaves and sticks from your gutters, grab your garden hose and spray a stream of water down your gutters. This will flush out all the grime and smaller debris that’s on the bottom. Not only will it save you the effort of picking out every last little pebble or touching the gross, muddy bottom, but it’ll also help you with the next gutter maintenance tip.
3. Check Your Downspouts
While you’re spraying your gutters clean with the garden hose, check that water is coming out of your downspouts. Your gutters are only the first step of the water removal process. Your downspouts get the water out of your gutters and away from the house. If they’re clogged, water will still back up, even if your gutters are freshly cleared.
If you notice that water isn’t flowing from your downspouts while using the garden hose, there’s likely a blockage. Spray the hose directly down the clogged downspout at full pressure to flush the blockage out. Tapping on the outside of the downspout is a good way to coax a more persistent bunch of leaves and mud out of the spout. If that doesn’t work, you may need to remove the entire spout to force out the blockage with a more persuasive method, like a pressure washer or a long broom handle.
4. Use Gutter Guards to Protect your Roof
Even with semi-annual cleanings, your gutters might still accumulate enough leaves and debris to cause water to back up into your roof. If you live in a heavily wooded area, you might want to consider installing gutter guards.
Gutter guards come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They fit over your gutters to prevent leaves and sticks from getting into your gutters without hindering the flow of water. Not only will they protect your gutters and downspouts, but they’ll also mean you won’t need to clean out gross soggy leaves from your gutters as often. Win, win!
Protect Your Roof with Gutter Maintenance
Keeping your gutters clean and in good shape does much more than just catch rain; it protects your entire house from the damaging effects of water. Especially in extremely rainy areas—like the Pacific Northwest—proper gutter maintenance can make the difference between frequent, expensive roof repairs and hassle-free homeownership.If water has already wreaked havoc on your roof, consult the experts at Cloise & Mike Construction for repairs or replacements. We’ll help you patch up any holes and leaks to ensure your roof can keep the water off your family’s heads for years to come. Contact us for a free roofing estimate today.