As a homeowner, you know that gutters are one of the most important things to maintain. They gutters can be affected by the weather and different seasons call for different maintenance methods. Making sure that you are staying up to date on your gutter maintenance can help prevent problems in the future.
But how do you go about making sure that your gutters are properly maintained? That’s what we’re here for. Think of this as your ultimate guide to gutter maintenance. We’ll cover everything you need to know, from how to prepare them during the fall, safe maintenance in the spring and summer, common problems, and how (and why) to install gutter guards. So, buckle up and get ready for a deep dive into gutter maintenance.
We’ll first take a look at how you can take time in the fall to prepare your home for the winter months. Life starts ramping up into high gear during the fall. Kids return back to school, new events and sports schedules come into play and this all leaves less time available for the must-be-done projects on your to-do list that just keeps getting longer. But there is one item that should not be put off for too long: your exterior fall clean up. This type of cleaning is not only for the spring and getting it done during the fall months will avoid potential home exterior problems once the colder temperatures hit.
We have all the tips you need to have a quick and smooth fall cleaning to keep your home in top shape as the year draws to a close.
he first step to a proper fall cleaning is to focus on cleaning around your patio, grill, and pool. These are things that are most typically only used during the summer months and it’s imperative to properly clean and prepare them for the upcoming winter season.
To get the longest life out of your patio furniture, use oxygen bleach like Stain Solver. Take a look at your cushions for grease and grimy marks caused by summer barbecues and outdoor parties. If you are storing your furniture outside, make sure to properly cover them to avoid damage from potential storms.
With family celebrations and outdoor play, spills are a given for your decks and patios. These spills and messes can leave unwanted stains on your beautiful decks/patios, so we recommend being proactive about the cleaning. Pay close attention to the area around grills and dining tables. Don’t forget to look at areas where guests tend to sit, since this is another place where messes are frequent.
For homes that don’t barbecue year around, turn your grill on high for 15 minutes to burn off any residue that might be caked onto the grill from previous events. Take a look at the drip pans and change them if necessary. It’s important to de-grease the grill top, burners and side tables since the grease will remove easier the sooner it’s done. No one wants to go through the stress of degreasing year old grease from your grill knobs.
We all want to relive the summertime pool parties with the family, but the fall is the time to start cleaning it out to avoid damages and potential problems. Make sure to skim off floating debris and add algaecide. Drain the pool so the water level is 4-6 inches lower than your regular summertime water level. We suggest adding a skimmer guard and filling the skimmer line with antifreeze to prevent potential ice from forming during the colder months. Lastly, don’t forget to cover your pool to protect your pool until the following spring.
Fall is one of the most important times to check and clean your gutters. Spring debris and fall leaves are big issues which, if left unattended, can clog your gutters and potentially cause damages to your home’s infrastructure. We will give you detailed information on how to clean your gutters later on.
As the months get colder, it’s important to keep the heat from inside your home from escaping through small cracks and crevices. Make sure to check the caulk around your windows to do this. Caulk is the waterproof sealant that borders your windows to ensure heat remains in your home. This small and inexpensive project can prevent higher heat costs and who doesn’t want to save on their utilities?
Make sure to pay attention to doors, especially those that connect your home’s interior to your garage. Homeowners rarely heat their garages which means that the temperature in your garage is fairly similar to the temperature outside. Make sure the door that leads to your garage closes tightly. Some of you might find a door threshold to be a good investment. For home entrances, keep in mind that a mail slot in your door or wall can let cold air in the house as well. A storm door may act as a barrier against heat loss in this instance.
When was the last time you cleaned or checked your chimney? For many of you, it’s probably been a while since your last chimney cleaning but clean chimneys increase heat efficiency while preventing costly repairs. Chimney cleaning is an important ventilation system and proper maintenance can keep your family and home safe. Best to do it in the fall before thinking about fires in the colder weather.
Days get shorter during the fall. As a result, your exterior lights turn on earlier in the day. We recommend checking the bulbs on your exterior lights before daylight savings begins and replacing those which are burnt out with high efficiency LED bulbs.
The fall is the perfect time to prepare your gardens for the winter so they are ready to bloom in the spring. Here are some tips we recommend to ensure your garden survives the colder weather.
Why is it so important that we take the proper steps to maintaining our gutters? Well, proper maintenance is actually key to maintaining the integrity of your home’s foundation. Here are some issues that you will avoid if you clean your gutters as instructed.
Water from the roof can pour over your gutters and will fall near your home’s foundation; this can cause erosion and leaks into your basement. Backed up gutters can also cause damage to your shingles and cause water to get into your home where it may ruin your home’s interior. Keep in mind, water always follows the path of least resistance!
Mold and mildew can grow in places where water has not evaporated fast enough. These are issues that become challenging, can affect your health and are expensive to correct. Avoid them by cleaning out your gutters.
Aside from the many things you can prevent, cleaning your gutters also allows you to:
Take note of any potential damage on your gutters and get them repaired as soon as possible to prevent increased problems during storms and weather threats. Take note if there are any uneven sections, leaks, or loose brackets. Ensure that your gutters are securely attached to your roof. These repairs or the problems that stem from clogged gutters can be costly so we want to avoid them as best we can.
Some homeowners find rodents like mice, squirrels and small raccoons, taking shelter in their gutters. The concave shape and easy access to the ground (through the downspout), make your gutters a great nesting place for little animals. If this is an issue you face, consider getting downspout screens (install them at ground level) with some humane rodent repellent nearby to keep animals from using the downspout as an elevator to the warmth of your attic.
Long story short, making sure that your gutters are properly maintained is a guaranteed way to help ensure the safety and well-being of both your home and your family.
You should clean gutters twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Depending on where you live or if you live near a lot of trees, you may want to consider cleaning them more often. Clean gutters prevent costly water damage, and problems to your foundation or landscaping.
First things first, if you are going up on a ladder or getting on your roof, make sure you are physically capable of doing such a thing. Always choose the side of caution and, while we’d prefer you end the need to ever go up on a ladder again by installing a gutter guard, hiring a professional is always a better option than risking your safety. People get seriously hurt and can die from ladder falls. While no one thinks they’re at risk, they are, so safety should always be your primary concern.
Here are some tips to properly, safely, and efficiently clean your gutters:
Have a sturdy ladder and make sure that you’re physically capable of climbing up and cleaning your gutters. If your home is over one story high, consider hiring a professional. Use caution when setting up the ladder since leaning the ladder on a gutter can bend or damage it.
Make sure that you’ve positioned the ladder properly by making sure that the ladder extends beyond the height you need to climb and is positioned at the correct angle. A simple way to know if your ladder is positioned at the right angle is to stand at the foot of the ladder and extend your arms. If the ladder is at an arm’s length away, meaning your fingertips can touch the rails of the ladder, then you have the correct angle.
When using a ladder to clean your gutters, make sure you place your ladder on even ground. If not, try to even out the terrain by placing something like a 2 x 12 under the legs of the ladder to ensure its stability. There are products that attach to ladder legs to address this issue.
Another way to make sure that you are safe is to make sure to climb up and down carefully, maintaining either two feet and one hand or one foot and two hands on the ladder at all times. When moving the ladder, make sure to place the ladder in a secure spot and on even terrain.
Make sure the weather conditions are suitable to be on a ladder. If your roof is wet or icy, or there are very windy conditions, consider waiting for another day to clean your gutters. Ladders get slippery when your feet or the rungs are wet.
This is an important step since gutters can sometimes be very messy and filled with wet debris. It’s often handy to have a bucket to collect the debris.
Again, use caution when doing this, but debris on your roof is only going to make it down and into the gutters you’re cleaning.
You don’t want gunk reclogging your downspout, so start here and clean your gutters by moving away from this location.
After all the gross stuff is out, make sure to clear out any remaining residue by spraying the hose through the gutters and down the downspouts. Not only will this clean them out but it will help point out leaks, if there are any.
When it comes to maintaining your gutters, the tools that you use can impact your gutter cleaning either positively or negatively (that goes for both you and the gutters). In order to make sure that you are properly maintaining your gutters, it’s important that you use the right tools.
The cost to have your gutters cleaned can be anywhere between $50 (this tends to be an advertised cost but not what you’ll wind up paying) and $500. This price varies greatly based on the size of your home, the height of your gutters and the amount of work that needs to be done.
We suggest investing in gutter guards which help minimize these costs in the long run and help maintain the health and effectiveness of your gutters. Gutter guards can be attached to your existing gutters and help prevent clogs.
As we mentioned earlier in this ultimate guide to gutter maintenance, different weather and seasons affect our gutters differently. Each season brings with it it’s own unique problems. We’ve broken down some of the most common gutter problems by season below.
In the summer, your gutters can quickly fill with the leaves or needles from stressed trees, which can lead to problems. If you should get a quick thunder burst of rain, your gutters may have enough organic material built up in them that the debris will collect over the downspouts, which can cause the gutter to fill with water and overflow. Since the ground near your home is parched and baked dry, it’s not going to absorb the rain the way it normally would. Your landscaping may be impacted; some may easily get washed away.
In areas of the country that are prone to wildfires, debris-filled gutters can be all the tinder an ember in the wind needs to carry the fire onto a home. In many places where wildfires are common, homeowners that don’t keep their gutters clear often get notices posted on their doors from their local fire department. Clean your gutters within 30 days, it will say, or risk getting fined by us.
While in some instances, this might seem intrusive and annoying, firefighters only have your best interest at heart. They wouldn’t be driving through your neighborhood looking for these conditions if they did not.
Gutter problems like this are easily rectified with a quick gutter cleaning or by installing a gutter guard like MasterShield that won’t let any debris into the gutter since it filters out anything bigger than half the width of a human hair. Through our patented technology, water reacts as if nothing covered the gutter, quickly dropping into the gutter trough to be carried to where it can do no harm.
It’s best to presume that free-flowing gutters aren’t something you just have to think about once in the spring or once again in the fall or even only when it rains. Given the damage water can quickly do (like flooding your basement), gutters remain a main outdoor feature of your home that you need to be constantly aware of, depending on the weather of the season.
Clear, clean gutters help assure that your home is safe from whatever Mother Nature chooses to send your way.
Spring gutter problems are frustrating. You’ve got a winter’s worth of branches and debris that have dropped into your gutters. If your winter was cold and snowy, your gutters could have pulled away from your home. Here are the top four complaints people have when they deal with their gutters each spring:
Gutters that pull from your home have often been up for years and were originally hung with spikes and ferrules. Spikes are nailed into your fascia and the constant freeze thaw cycle or weight from being filled with debris causes them to pull away and fail. Time to get new gutters! Make sure they’re hung with hidden hangers. And don’t skimp on hangers as they too can be the cause of a collapsed gutter. In colder climates, you’ll want hangers installed closer together. Ask the installer to get as many as he can into the joists behind the fascia for extra support.
You can be a saint about cleaning your gutters, but it doesn’t take much for debris to knit together over a downspout allowing them to fill up with water. Depending on how your gutters are hung, water can get behind them, into your soffit and follow the path of least resistance. We’ve seen situations where it runs behind a home’s siding. If a gutter is hung too high and your shingles drape into the gutter, they will act like straws and pull water up and onto a roof. Dry rot is common in California because of this very situation. Dry rot can lead to removing sections of roof shingles and the wood underlayment, sometimes resulting in rafter rot. Shingles should never extend into a gutter.
If clogged gutters were not your issue, the past winter could have left its toll and led to its own spring gutter problems. Gutters filled with ice will often lead to the same problems as a spring gutter clog with water melting the solid block of ice that has formed in your gutters.
Yes, gutter cleaning is a spring gutter problem. Most people don’t do it often enough. It’s dangerous and dirty work that people would rather avoid than do. What’s a little water dripping from a gutter? Damage to the most expensive thing you’ll ever own.
Pollen on your gutter guard can be part of common spring gutter problems if your home already has gutter covers. Pollen can build up if it doesn’t rain while trees drop all their buds. Sap can accompany pollen as well. If it doesn’t rain, pollen and sap dry on the covers. If you go for a period of time without a lot of rain, spray your hose onto your roof to wash this away. Think of how much windshield washer fluid it takes just to clean this gunk off your car’s windshield from the time you park it in the evening until you get back in it in the morning as a guide and get your roof wet!
All in all, spring gutter problems should be addressed before summer thunderstorms hit. A flash summer storm can cause gutters to overflow in a matter of moments, so address these problems early.
Here is a list of some of the most common problems that you may face in the fall. We have included possible remedies to keep your gutters working in top shape.
This is one of the most common problems that people face. Clogs and blockage occur when natural debris builds up, preventing water from flowing through and down the downspout. Don’t be fooled, clogs don’t only happen in the horizontal parts of your gutters, they can happen in your downspouts too. A simple gutter cleaning will do the trick to remedy this issue, but we recommend investing in gutter guards. Clogged downspouts are harder to clean because you can’t just scoop out the gunk. Removing the downspout or using a snake to loosen the debris are ways to address clogs here. Most importantly, don’t let this gunk get into underground drains because that’s a cleaning project that’s really best left to the professionals.
Gardens make your house look great when they are given sufficient water and sunlight, but your gutters are not the right places for your green plants. Shrub growth in gutters is a more common issue than you think. Not only is this a visually unattractive issue, plant growth in your gutters can lead to numerous issues including pest infestation. In order to prevent this from happening, clean out your gutters as soon as possible after trees drop seeds in the spring. Scoop out any plants, twigs or other tree blossoms in your gutters and toss them in your compost bin or wherever you’re allowed to leave yard debris.
Take a look at your gutters. Can you see daylight behind them? If so, they are pulling away from your house. If they dip in a section that you can see and that section is not headed towards a downspout, that’s an issue. It’s a place that water can become trapped and a natural place for a clog to start. Normally, these conditions show themselves after the winter or when rotted fascia behind the gutter can’t hold up the gutter itself. If you find these conditions, we recommend acting fast and getting a gutter service to your home since this issue can lead to the collapse of your gutters and water in your home. New fascia work isn’t particularly costly, but will require that new gutters be installed. It’s best practice to call a professional and get this problem fixed in order to avoid costly damages in the future. Shore up sagging gutters with interior gutter hangers, not old fashioned spikes and ferrules.
If your gutters are smashed by a tree limb, water will not be properly drained and can cause damage to your roof, foundation, and more. Calling a professional is the best thing to do in this situation. Your gutter installer or local roofer will be able to fix this problem for you.
If your gutters are clog free but you’re still experiencing drippage and improper water flow, you have leaky gutters. Many times, this problem is caused by erosion or a crack in your gutters. In order to fix this, you can patch the leak with a non-silicone caulking and reseal the whole seam. Silicone breaks down in sunlight, so look at the label of your caulk to be sure it’s not affected by UV light. Be aware that this could become a recurring issue in the future and further repair may be necessary. Caulking over existing caulk doesn’t normally solve the problem. The best solution is scraping out all of the old caulk and working from a clean surface.
Pitch refers to the slight slope on your gutters which allows water to flow down into your downspouts. Poor pitch from an improper gutter installation will cause water to pool in your gutters. This can sometimes be a challenging issue to see from the ground, but this issue can allow clogs to form, pests to settle in and gutter corrosion. Corrosion is normally in the form of tiny pin-sized holes that occur from the debris in your gutter breaking down into compost. Improper pitch can also cause the pooling water to seep into the house and cause water damage to your siding and or roof. Call a gutter covers company to remedy this problem since improper pitch can lead to a host of problems.
Throughout this guide, we’ve already mentioned the importance of gutter guards a few times. Now it’s time to dive into why they are so crucial to helping you properly maintain your gutters.
Gutter guards are designed to keep debris out of a gutter. Do gutter guards work? They work best when exposed to rain and when overall temperatures don’t regularly drop below freezing with the exception of the winter months.
Because gutter guards are on the exterior parts of your house, you will face the same problem that the rest of your roof must deal with, leaves and other tree debris.
Gutter guards stop debris from getting into your gutters but you will have to give them some kind of maintenance every once in a while. This includes going up on a ladder, occasionally, and brushing off any leaves or debris covering the gutter guard.
No one wants to deal with the stress of cleaning gutters. It’s a messy job which can cause many problems if left undone. Here’s why you should install a gutter guard.
Fall leaves look great when they’re on a tree but can be a nightmare to clean out of your gutters. Leaves can wreak havoc on your gutters and cause annoying clogs.
Because gutter guards help clean water flow from your roof to the ground, you can avoid rust build-up in steel gutters since your gutters aren’t retaining moisture. Aluminum doesn’t rust, but debris decaying causes aluminum to pit and tiny holes can form.
Gutter guards protect your gutters from damage caused by piled up debris. Wet debris becomes heavy which can cause your gutters to pull away from your roof and take the siding and trim with it.
Gutter guards help water flow properly through your gutters, down the downspout and away from your foundation. Since micro mesh gutter guards, like MasterShield, offer clog-free guarantees, gutter guards ensure that your gutters function properly and your foundation remains secure.
Guards stop rodents and pests from nestling in and making a home out of your gutters.
Installing gutter guards makes gutter cleaning less frequent and requires much less maintenance than unprotected gutters.
In the long run, gutter guards save you money and stress since they require less maintenance than those without guards.
Although gutter guards seem like they would be expensive, the following information will show you that installing guards can actually save you money in the long run. Gutter guards offer peace of mind and prevent costly home repairs costs by malfunctioning gutters.
A gutter guard installation is one of the cheapest home improvement projects in the industry. Installing gutter guards costs less than your average paint jobs, roofing projects, landscaping or other projects. We recommend the micro-mesh gutter guard technology by Alex Higginbotham which will give you the biggest bang for your buck. The MasterShield Gutter Guard won’t clog, has a lifetime warranty, and will keep your gutters functioning correctly with minimal maintenance.
It’s not practical to compare the cost of gutter guards to the cost of gutter cleaning. Gutter guards are an investment which require several years to pay for, while cleanings are recurring costs. Gutter guards become part of your house and work with your roof. With standard gutter cleanings, you are likely to begin collecting debris virtually immediately after you have your gutters cleaned. You might find yourself dealing with a clogged gutter merely two weeks after getting it cleaned, making you question whether a gutter cleaning was even effective. With a gutter guard, you know that your gutters will remain working normally with little upkeep.
It’s important to know that gutters with gutter guards still need to be cleaned, but this is less frequent then unprotected gutters. Gutter guard protected gutters should be cleaned at least once every two years, and more frequently if there is heavy tree coverage near your home.
Gutter guards are an investment which greatly decrease the frequency of gutter cleaning while preserving and enhancing the performance of your gutter system. However, there is no gutter guard on the planet that is completely maintenance free. Like any other external part of your home, some minor cleaning or upkeep is necessary to keep the product performing as it should.
Every home is different. Some homeowners might only need gutter guard maintenance once every 10 years while other homeowners might need to do maintenance once every 2 years. All this is based on the environment where you reside. Do you have a lot of trees in your areas? Do you get a lot of wind on all parts of your home? No matter the frequency or environment surrounding your home, we have the tips you need to keep your gutter guards working like new, this fall.
Many roofs have areas that collect a lot of debris because the wind can’t get it. Things will collect and stick in areas that are sheltered from the wind. Take a few minutes to brush off debris from the gutter guards in those troubled areas. If parts of your roof have some type of debris, your gutter guard might have some too.
You may be dealing with shingle grit on your gutter guard. Good news: they aren’t getting into your gutter. However, those small particles can collect on top of your gutter guards. Dealing with shingle grit is very simple, simply brush off the grit from your gutter guard and it will be functioning like new.
Like asphalt roads, asphalt shingles release a tar like oil. This leaves stains on your roof and can cause issues to your gutter guard. We recommend using a small amount of carburetor cleaner to help get this off your gutter guard. Once you do that, your gutter guard should be working like new. Better yet, install our MasterShield Gutter Guard, the only product on the market that is copper laced (patent pending). Copper is proven to bread down oils.
Let’s face it, if moss can grow on rocks, they can grow on your gutter guards. Not to worry, simply stop at your local hardware store and buy products like Wet & Forget or other moss killers and once again your gutter guard will resume its job of protecting your gutters. Additionally, copper is proven to break down organisms like moss, algae and lichen. Install our copper interlaced MasterShield Gutter Guard to reduce the incidence of moss.
And there you have it, everything you need to know about gutter maintenance. Gutter guards make your life much simpler and lessen the hassle of maintenance. But like other home exterior products, they too need a little TLC once in a while.
Often, homeowners are fooled into thinking that the cost of cleaning their gutters will be quick and cheap. However, good gutter cleanings typically cost a lot more money than they are advertised. The cost of cleaning gutters varies greatly since there are many factors at play. We’re including a few things to look out for when it comes to purchasing a gutter cleaning.
Homeowners are regularly enticed to opt for gutter cleaning instead of investing in gutter guards. Although gutter cleanings seem cheaper, they actually end up costing significantly more in the long run. This is because gutter cleaning prices vary tremendously. That flat rate fee ends up increasing significantly when the salesperson sees the height of your gutters, size of your house, and level of debris accumulated. And you don’t only pay this price once; you pay this a couple times a year to maintain the integrity of your gutters. This cost quickly adds up, but this can be avoided by investing in gutter guards which end up paying for itself in no time.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself about your gutter cleaners.
All in all, gutter maintenance is absolutely attainable – especially if you choose to use Mastershield Gutter Guards. Using gutter guards will allow you to clean your gutters less frequently and save on all kinds of gutter costs. We hope this guide has been helpful for you and your gutter cleaning needs. Remember, the best way to prevent any gutter issues is to make sure that you are cleaning them frequently enough. Another way to help prevent gutter issues is by installing gutter guards.
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