We have received a lot of emails lately about people having problems with their gutters and other problems that are associated with gutters, so we figured now would be a great time to put this problem to rest. A lot of people never realize they have a problem with the gutters until it is too late. We all get very busy with day to day tasks and the gutters are usually the last item on the list, if they are even on the list. The big problem is when it rains, we are usually inside, so we never see what is happening on the outside with the gutters. So one thing we do suggest is occasionally put on a rain coat, when it is not lightening, and take a walk outside. Notice how the water is flowing. Now you don’t have to get on the roof, but stand outside and walk around the house. Is water pouring over the gutters or is it coming down the spout? Is there water running away from the house or is it building up and running back to the foundation of the house? Do you see unusual wet spots on the side of the house? Just take a look around because you will learn a lot about your gutters and in the long run can save yourself a lot of man hours and thousands of dollars.
Water is the life of everything, but it can also be your worst nightmare. Water can get in just about anywhere and cause major damage, so it is important to fix your gutters and other areas that water can damage. As we said water gets everywhere and can ruin just about anything in your house as it can get behind walls and more. The first sign of a problem is either your fascia or soffit will show signs of water damage, especially if it doesn’t get much sun light.
The two biggest problems that can easily be fixed are dirty gutters and spouts in the wrong place. On average you want to clean your gutters out every quarter, unless you have a lot of trees around, then it will be more often. If you live in places where it snows, make sure you clean your gutters in spring, one time in summer and in fall after all the leaves fall. Cleaning the gutters usually takes care of any major water issues and doesn’t take a lot of time. Two keys to let you know you need to change your spouts location is when you are outside and you see the water going back to the house. The other way is when you hear your sump constantly going on when it is raining. For most rain, drain tile is enough to disperse the water away from the house and the sump pump is secondary. So when the pump is kicking on a lot, then you know you have a problem with water. All you need to do is go outside and see which spout is letting the water run back to the house. Just adjust the spout or even lengthen the spout so the water runs away from the house.
Again dirty gutters or misplaced spouts are the most common problems with gutters. If you are still having problems, you may need to look further into the problem as other things can arise. Sometimes gutters bend because of either ice build up or something putting strain on them. Usually you can eyeball this problem and see it when it rains. This will cause water to drain into the house either through the foundation or in the backside behind the gutter into the soffit or fascia. There is a very easy fix to this. You will see a metal bracket in the gutter, just grab a pair of pliers and bend the bracket in the middle. This will cause the bracket to pull up on the gutter and therefore adjusting the level. You might have to do this to more than one clip.
Other problems we have seen with gutters is they actually have a hole or are leaking at the joints. Gutters are very inexpensive, but it takes time to rip them down and put a new one up. A quick, reliable fix is use a silicone caulk or gutter sealant to prevent the leak. This is a very easy way to fix the gutter and save time and money. The only time this will not work is at the elbow of a spout as there is usually a lot of pressure build up at this point.
To help keep your gutters clean, you can install gutter guards. There are a lot to choose from, so we would recommend going to a box store and taking a look at what is available. Now we have seen people make their own gutter guards using wire mess that has ¼” holes, but we think for the money and time, you are better off buying them. They are not expensive and the time you save is well worth it, unless you are bored and your dream has always been to build gutters guards, then knock your socks off.
Cleaning and maintaining your gutters is very easy to do. All it takes is a little time and being able to remember that they need to be done. One hint is if your roof doesn't have a steep slope, you can use a leaf blower to clean out the gutters as that is faster and easier than using your hands.