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February Tip of the Month

Maintaining Your Gutters

Spend a little time, twice a year on inspecting and maintaining your home's gutters


Many problems can be avoided by simply maintaining gutters! Spending a bit of time twice a year inspecting, cleaning, and repairing gutters and downspouts may mean never being troubled by flooded basements, damaged roofs, rotted siding, crumbling mortar joints, or peeling and cracking paint.

Gutters should catch precipitation flowing off the roof and carry it to the downspouts, which carry water away from the house through drain pipes or the ground's grading. Water that collects near the foundation, streaked house paint, and water in the basements are symptoms of
gutters that are not working properly. Here are some tips on how to maintain gutters:

1. Inspection and maintenance each spring and fall. Regular maintenance will prevent most serious problems. Leaves and other debris should be removed with a broom. A garden hose can be used to wash away other small items. A plumber's snake can be used to clean out the spout if there is blockage.

2. Gutter covers. Wire or plastic strainers, which are very inexpensive, fit into the openings of downspouts and can catch leaves before they clog or obstruct the pipe.


3. Leaks. Pinhole leaks and leaks at connections can usually be sealed with silicone caulking compound. Patch kits are available for large leaks. If the leaks are large, replacement is often easier than gutter patching.

4. Straps and hangers. Gutter straps and hangers, including gutter spikes, should be resecured and renailed if needed.

5. Pitching. Gutters should be pitched about one-sixteen of an inch per running foot for proper drainage. The pitch can easily be checked by pouring a bucket of water at the opposite end of the downspout and watching the water flow out. If the water puddles in spots, the gutter hanger should be adjusted by recalling higher or lower on the roof with hot-dipped galvanized or aluminum nails.

6. Splashblocks. Flooding problems often result when the downspout does not empty into a drainage system. Pools of rainwater can cause leaks in the basement. A concrete or fiberglass splashblock will cure most problems of this type.

Past Tips Of the Month

  • Home Maintenance Checklist
  • Answer to Common Questions

  • Contact us at 1-904-436-2115

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    Page last updated
    January 27, 2013