Spring is a time for showers, May flowers…and new gutters. Yes, we know – it may not roll off the tongue as smoothly, but it’s certainly true. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about when to install new gutters, when to clean gutters, and why regular gutter cleaning protects your home.
Why gutters are important
First things first: why do gutters matter, anyway? Think of them as the first line of defense for your home from water damage. Gutters channel rainwater and meltwater down your rooflines and away from your home. A good gutter system protects your basement, walls, and foundation from water damage – so knowing when to repair and replace your gutters is important to protecting the value of your home.
When to replace gutters
Most galvanized steel and aluminum gutter systems have a serviceable lifespan of about 15 to 20 years. If you have copper gutters, lucky you – you might get up to 50 years of life out of your gutters. There can be situations, though, that require you to repair or replace your gutters earlier.
To assess the condition of your gutters, you’ll want to inspect them in both fine and rainy weather. Why? A good sunny day makes it easier to see the condition of your gutters and observing them in the rain helps you determine performance. A visual inspection of your gutters should focus on:
- Signs of rust, especially at the bottom of the gutters (for galvanized steel gutters)
- Sagging or splitting gutters, or holes
- Loose fasteners
- Peeling paint
- Washed-out mulch, dirt, or landscaping, or other damage to your yard
- Mildew or rot along fascia boards, siding, and trim
During your inspection, check your downspouts as well to ensure they are properly attached and extend at least 10 feet from your home’s foundation.
Now, wait for it to rain. Once it does, don your rain gear and head out to see your gutters in action. Watch for water flowing smoothly out of the downspouts and follow the path it takes. Check for leaks from the bottom of gutters and pay special attention to any areas where water is overflowing or dripping directly from the roof to the ground. These are problem areas.
Now that you’ve pinpointed the trouble spots, it’s time to determine whether repair is possible or if you’re headed for replacement. Minor problems that can be repaired include:
- Loose gutters
- Missing or damaged downspouts
- Sagging or bent gutters that need to be reattached to your home
Other situations will require replacement, including gutters with holes or splits, rusty gutters, or gutters that are too damaged for nails or fasteners to safely reattach them.
Common gutter problems
Wondering about the negative consequences of failing to repair or replace your gutters? Of course, you are – inquiring minds want to know, and we get it. Here are a few of the common gutter problems that can arise when you put off repairing or replacing your gutters:
- Bent or sagging gutters
- Overflowing gutters
- Damaged downspouts
- Separation between gutter and fascia
Many of these problems result from clogged or overflowing gutters – debris like leaves and pine needles can become heavy when wet, putting additional strain on your gutters. Regular gutter cleaning can help you protect and even extend the life of your gutter system by catching minor problems before they become major issues.
Going back to the article’s beginning, it’s wise to install gutters in the spring after the winter freeze-thaw cycle has ended for the year. Ice dams and leftover debris can cause damage to your gutter system. In addition, spring and summer storms can bring a lot of rain in a short span of time, so it’s smart to ensure your gutter system is ready to handle intense weather.
When to clean gutters
It’s no one’s favorite task, but gutter cleaning is important to do regularly, in the spring and fall. If you’re lucky enough to live near pine trees, you’ll want to add in a bonus third gutter cleaning per year to keep your gutters clean.
Wondering when to clean the gutters? We have you covered in this article on the best time of year to clean gutters. And, whatever day you choose to tackle this task, be sure to choose a safer way to clean gutters. The ultimate hack for safer gutter cleaning is to do it from the ground. The fact is that most ladder accidents take place at home – over half a million people are treated for ladder-related injuries each year and 97% occur at home. The safest way to clean the gutters is to keep your two feet firmly planted on the ground and use Gutter Sense, a lightweight, easy-to-use tool that attaches to a 12- to 20-foot standard extension pole. With Gutter Sense, you’ll be able to reach even second-story gutters without climbing a ladder. It’s highly effective on pine needles, leaves, and muck, making regular gutter cleaning easy and safe.
At under $30, Gutter Sense is also a low-cost solution for easy, safer gutter cleaning. It will help you tackle regular gutter cleaning and maintenance, so you can extend the life of your gutters and protect your home.