Gutters play an important role in equipping your roofing system against possible damage brought on by the elements, as well as protecting the home from potential water damage. Naturally, every homeowner should make every effort possible to ensure that their gutters are functioning at their best with routine checkups, repairs, or (when necessary) replacements. There are, however, some things that seem harmless enough, but actually detract from your gutters’ full functionality.
Squirrels, rodents, and even snakes that find their way into your gutter can damage it. Squirrels and rodents build nests that may affect the components in the system, and affect their functionality. The weight of snakes, on the other hand, can lead to structural failure.
If your roof is situated near trees, chances are the overhanging branches will drop leaves, twigs, and other debris in your gutter. Inclement weather, such as high-wind situations, can also cause this. Debris buildup reduces your gutter’s capacity to manage rainwater properly. When left un-managed, this can eventually lead to sagging, especially around the joints.
Some homes have gutters that are only composed of segmented panels, without flashing or splash blocks. This can be a costly mistake. Your eaves must have flashing for protection against water damage. And your gutters must be connected to your home’s drainage system to facilitate the smooth transportation of water away from the home.
Anything from the improper pitching of your gutters to the inadequate or incorrect positioning of downspouts can also do a number on your gutter system over time. An improperly installed gutter causes a host of issues, ranging from insect infestation to severe water damage.
So what can you do?
In our experience, we have found that little oversights on a homeowner’s part can mean expensive repairs and replacements. The problem is especially exacerbated once the bad weather season arrives. We recommend:
- Conducting routine inspections. Checking your gutter system every six months or so for defects is important for spotting potential problems way before they fully manifest. More important is addressing issues promptly. If you checked off any of the above signs, inspection is even more critical for your home.
- Maintaining your gutter. Maintenance is a key component of a completely functional gutter system. Clearing away debris and removing burrowing animals from your system will extend its lifespan and ensures optimal performance. If you do not want the hassle of maintenance, however, there are systems that are designed to keep your gutters clog-free.
- Hiring the right professional help. Hiring a contractor to install and look after your gutters is a smart decision that will save you time and expenses in the future. When choosing a home improvement professional, check for:
- Experience does not only cover the number of years a contractor has had in the industry; it also accounts for what he or she has learned over that period.
- Competitive rates. Quality service is not automatically indicated by a high price tag. Choose help that’s amenable to your goals and budget.
Starting as a handyman and painter in 1982, Chris Zorzy has since gone on to enrich his skills and build a solid reputation as a home improvement professional. Today, he is the owner and president of A & A Services, Inc., a trusted name in the industry. Check out his posts on the company blog.