Roof Gutters Tip
To keep water away from your home’s foundation, make sure that all roof gutter joints are properly sealed.
Routine Care Task
Clean and inspect gutters, downspouts, and splashpans
Proper roof gutter maintenance can help protect the foundation and basement of your house and extend your gutters’ useful life.
Timing: Twice per year: May, November (yearly)
Roof gutters require the following seven maintenance tasks:
Remove debris from the gutters: leaves, sticks, sludge, etc. should be scooped out of the gutters with a gloved hand or a garden trowel. Do not try to remove the debris with a garden hose, because pushing the debris into the downspouts can cause them to plug. NOTE: Do not lean your ladder against the gutters, as they can easily bend or break.
Flush gutters: Once the debris has been removed, flush the gutters with water from a garden hose to remove any remaining dirt or materials.
Clean downspouts: To clean the downspouts, turn on garden hose full blast, and place it down into downspout openings. If badly blocked, a wire plumber’s “snake” can be used to dislodge the debris.
Inspect gutters for leaks: Inspect the seams, end-caps, and any rusted areas for leaks. Repair as required with silicon sealer or patching materials.
Inspect supports and slope of gutters: While water is still in gutter after flushing, check gutters for drainage. If water forms pools inside the gutters, then it does not have the proper drainage slope. Gutters should be sloped about one vertical inch for every 15-20 horizontal feet. Adjust hangers to achieve the necessary slope to drain water to the drain spouts. Also inspect the gutter hangers and replace ones that are damaged or loose.
Check inside gutter coating: Protective compounds applied to the inside of the gutters can help significantly extend its useful life. Aluminum or copper can be coated with roof coating or spar varnish. Tin or carbonized metal can be coated with liquid roof coating, and wood gutters can be coated with linseed oil.
Check positions of splash pans: Splash pans are the concrete or plastic pans at the bottom of the downspouts which direct the water away from the foundation of the house or building. It is very important that this splash pans direct water at least 2-3 feet away from the foundation. Since these splash pans get shifted over time, they should be checked to be sure that the downspouts are directed properly into the splash pans, and the splash pans are oriented properly to drain the water away.
The benefits of this task are high. Maintaining your gutters, downspouts and splashpans are essential for protecting your foundation from allowing water damage to your home.
The cost of this task is moderately high. It can be very time consuming and dangerous to do yourself, especially if your house has a second story. You probably want to hire a professional service to do the gutter cleaning portion of this task, if you can’t easily access your gutters from a stable ladder.