As torrential rains beat down against a home’s roof, a functional gutter system directs the steady flow of rainwater into the downspouts and away from the property. Gutters serve an important purpose. The aluminum, steel or vinyl gutters ensure the home’s siding, windows, foundation and doors are protected from water damage.
Gutters, while visually distracting, are a critical element to the home’s structure. A buildup of autumnal leaves and natural debris inside the gutter systems hinders the functionality of the gutters, leaving the home vulnerable to serious water damage. A gutter clogged with twigs and leaves allows rainwater to overflow into the home’s interior, including along the ceiling and walls. The additional, costly consequence of basement flooding is inconvenient and difficult to clean up.
A clean, well-maintained gutter prevents home flooding. Homeowners are advised to schedule a gutter cleaning twice a year. Homes that are in close proximity to trees and the cascading foliage should arrange for gutter cleanings more often.
Homeowners have the option to climb a ladder and sweep out the debris from the gutter. While saving the homeowner $100 or more, laymen working on the roof poses as a safety risk. Those averse to the hazards of climbing a ladder may consider hiring a professional gutter cleaning service to clean the gutters, especially in homes that feature more than one story.
CLEAN THE GUTTER
Homeowners who elect to clean the gutters out single-handedly benefit from following a few handy tips to smoothly handle the task:
Check the Weather Forecast
Work on the gutters only under temperate conditions. Danger lurks when temperatures dip to below freezing, when powerful winds blow, and in rainy, slick weather.
Non-slip shoes that offer excellent traction are a must-have when working high on a ladder. Wear a pair of heavy work gloves to protect hands from rusty metal parts along the gutter and screw points that jut out. Safety goggles offer protection from the possibility of flying debris that ejects out during the gutter cleaning.
Select the Ladder
A sturdy ladder is useful when reaching the leaves captured in the gutter. Experts suggest using a stepladder as an easier alternative than an extension ladder. The gutter should be protected from the ladder with a two by four block of wood placed inside. In standard ladder safety, one should avoid standing on the ladder’s top two rungs and never lean over the sides.
Use a Gutter Scoop
Handy tools are available on the market that are specifically designed to help homeowners eliminate the debris caught in the gutter. A gutter scoop makes lifting out damp, pliable leaves quick and efficient. Keep a bucket on hand to dump the debris into it.
Hose Down the Gutter
A high-pressure hose should be used to wash the gutters and any remaining debris. Angle the hose along each gutter length and toward the drain, so that the water flushes the debris into the downspout.
Clear the Drainpipes
In the event the drain is clogged (noticeable when the water fails to flow freely) a plumber’s auger (or snake) will pull the blockage either from below or push the obstruction downward through the top of the drain.
MAINTAIN THE GUTTER
Along with cleaning the gutters regularly, semiannual inspections in the spring and fall are necessary to keep the gutters maintained and optimally functioning:
Inspections include ensuring the water is directed away from the property via the downspouts. Downspout extenders, which come in lengths of up to 12 feet, may be installed to help carry the water further away from the home. Experts also recommend sloped, plastic splash blocks to route water four feet away from the foundation.
Gutters can rust, especially in the presence of standing water that results from a blocked gutter system. Rusted areas should be sanded, painted with quality primer and, subsequently, with rust-resistant outdoor spray paint. Vinyl and aluminum gutters, which do not rust for at least 30 years, are currently available, should the homeowner be in the market for a new gutter system.
In addition to rust, flaking or peeling of paint may spur the need for a replacement or repainting. If repainting, the loose paint should first be scraped off. Prior to repainting, the gutters should be thoroughly washed. Aluminum gutters can be painted with oil-based paints or acrylic ones. Vinyl gutters do not require painting (although painting is easily accomplished), due to the availability of colors. Steel gutters, when correctly painted, will endure for years without developing rust.
Examine the gutter for leaks. Leaks may be identified in areas where leaves gather at a certain joint. Leaks in the gutter can cause flooding around the perimeter of the home. Wind, rain and snow are all known factors that cause warping in metal or plastic gutters, leading the gutter to become unattached at the seams. Leaks along the gutter can also contribute to the rotting of the boards behind the gutter.
When gutter cleaning efforts fail and result in water damage to your home, consult a water damage restoration professional for prompt service. ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete offers immediate service, with our technicians arriving onsite within one to two hours of the initial call.
ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete offers time-tested, proven methods that eliminate all excess water from the home quickly, preventing further damage to surrounding areas and possessions. Steps taken to remediate the water damage include emergency response, the development of a customized restoration plan, water extraction and drying using advanced equipment, such as air movers and powerful dehumidifiers, and sanitization of the affected space. Skilled technicians are experienced in removing moisture from furnishings, structural parts of the building and personal property. Wood, flooring, insulation and drywall are also treated to eliminate the excess water.
Our team of expert technicians at ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete dependably serves the Franklin Township, New Jersey, communities of residential homes and businesses with swift, professional water damage restoration services. Our specialists are standing by 24 hours a day to respond to emergency calls.