It’s one of our least favorite homeowner chores, but cleaning gutters doesn’t have to be a burden. The residential roofing pros at Van Rooy Restoration in Indianapolis share some expert tips, tricks, and tools to get the job done right and with ease.
Keeping Gutters Clean & Debris-Free
No matter how your gutters are designed or what they are made of, they won’t work properly if they are dirty. Leaves, pine needles, and sticks are a few of the things we commonly find clogging gutters. Clogs can damage gutters and cause water leaks and other problems in your home. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools you can use to keep your gutters clean.
1. Ladder. This time-tested piece of equipment is often your first line of defense against gutter debris. However, it comes with some very obvious safety risks. Always follow all instructions when using ladders. You don’t want to turn an afternoon chore into an overnight hospital stay.
2. Vacuums and cleaners. No ladder? No problem, when you have one of these specialty devices at home. Both use extendable hoses and curved accessories hooked up to your shop-vac or leaf blower to reach over and into gutters to suck up or blast away debris.
3. Gutter guards. Designed for long-term low maintenance, these tools cover your gutters to let rainwater in and keep most debris out. They are the ideal solution for folks who don’t want to or can’t clean their gutters regularly. However, it’s worth noting that no guard is perfect, and you will still need to access your gutters from time to time and flush them out with a garden hose.
Maintaining Your Gutters
Keeping gutters cleaned is just one part of your maintenance duties as a homeowner. Sagging, leaking gutters can spell disaster for your home. Do this if you have:
● Loose gutters. Replace older gutter spikes with gutter screws. Screws are much sturdier than spikes and provide better support and protection for your gutters.
● Leaking gutters. Notice drips between gutter seams when it’s raining or snowing outside? They’ve sprung a leak. Make a mental note, or choose a dry day to run hose water to identify the leaky joints. Clean and dry any problem areas, and apply beads of silicone caulk to seal them up.
● Damaged downspouts. Downspouts play a critical role in diverting water away from your home. Make sure downspouts are free of debris, and regularly inspect joints to make sure they fit together tightly. Use splash blocks, extension hoses, and/or irrigation pipes to help “aim” water runoff in the proper direction.
Time to Replace Your Gutters? With What?
Have your home’s gutters reached the end of the line? When it’s time to replace your gutters, there are several options today. Gutters come in a variety of styles, materials, colors, and prices.
The standard gutter width is five or six inches, and the most common designs are flat-bottomed (“K-style”) and tubular-bottomed (“half-round”).
Vinyl gutters are one of the most popular, because they are lightweight and inexpensive. Vinyl gutters are also easy to install for the average DIYer. One of the biggest downsides of vinyl gutters is their relative fragility – you can’t lean ladders against them, they tend to fade in sunlight, and can even crack in extreme cold.
Homeowners looking for more durability often choose aluminum or steel gutters. Both materials offer their own advantages – aluminum won’t rust and steel is exceptionally strong – but both options are more expensive.
An additional option is seamless gutters. These are growing in popularity and are found on many newer homes for a number of reasons. The gutters are expertly built and installed on-site, meaning there is no need to transport long sections of material. Seamless gutters are custom-fitted to your house, and because they don’t have seams, they are less susceptible to leaks. All these benefits do come at a cost, however, and installation can be several times more expensive than the cheapest DIY options.
Whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, the most important aspect of clean gutters is actually keeping them clean! To avoid bigger homeowner headaches down the road, make a seasonal gutter cleaning schedule now and stick to it. Also, did you know that your roof plays a big role in the health and performance of your gutters? An aging or poorly maintained roof can lead to problems with your gutters and other parts of your home. If you live in the Indianapolis area, contact the experts at Van Rooy Restoration for no-hassle roofing restoration and repair services. Take care of your gutters now to prevent problems later.