We are kicking off a Home Maintenance 101 series! We will be discussing how we can help you with your needs. Cleaning your gutters is a key part of home maintenance. Here in the Pacific NW where it can rain a lot causing lots of build-up. The gutters serve to protect your home from water that would otherwise just drip off the roof and onto the ground next to your house. This can create puddles and mud splashing on the side of the house. Occasionally this can even cause erosion to landscaping.
More importantly, however, is the water that saturates the ground near your home’s foundation. This can cause leaks in the basement. This can also create cracks in the concrete through erosion of the surrounding dirt. Keeping the water away from your house is important for the long-term health of your home.
Gutters that overflow can also cause issues with your homes roofing. Where water can damage the material under the shingles near the gutter. Water can also leak where the gutter nails attach the gutter to the house. This can rot the wood behind the screw if left unchecked. Making sure that your gutters serve to protect your home is where we can start.
If you have trees near the house it is doubly important to make sure you are checking and clearing gutters of debris. Whether in Salem, Portland, or Vancouver evergreen trees will drop pine needles and pinecones year-round into your gutters and will from time to time create clogs that will make the gutters overflow over time. With leafy trees (deciduous) the leave will fall in October and November which is when it is important to clear the gutters to ensure they do not overflow.
Debris from trees or maybe a tennis ball or toy can easily cause a clog or a slowdown in the gutter downspout. Clogs at the top of the downspout are quite easy to clear. Although to get your gutters fully functional the downspout may require removing the downspout and clearing the clog. Placing a downspout filter where the gutter meets the downspout works well to keep clogs from forming inside the downspout. If you have gutters that drain underground a filter is essential to ensure you do not get a clog in the drainage leading the street. With a downspout that ends at the base of the house a filter is not as important- just make sure to have something like a splash block or downspout extension that diverts the water away from the house.
Even if your gutters do not overflow it is still important to have them checked and cleared periodically. Nearly all gutters will, over time, accumulate materials from wind blowing or just roofing material that washes into the gutters when it rains. When the material accumulates it can create a layer over the bottom of the gutter that can limit drainage. That layer also traps moisture which can lead to rust and leaks in the seams of gutters.
Gutters that have standing water in them can become rusty and form leaks in the seams over time they are heavy and can also start to pull away from the house creating drainage issues. Standing water is also a breeding ground for mosquitos! Here at Ambassador we want to ensure that gutters serve to protect the home instead of cause more headaches.
Flushing gutters is a great addition to standard gutter cleaning. Your standard gutter cleaning often includes removing debris by hand to ensure that gutters will properly drain. Flushing the gutters typically follows the clearing debris and ensure all the little stuff is flushed out of the gutters and the downspouts. It might not be all that important for your home, but it is a great add on option.
Cleaning your gutter faces is typically an add on if there is stubborn mildew or streaking on the gutter face. This usually occurs on the Northside of the home. Wiping the faces of the gutters can really brighten up the look of the home. Removing the paint on the face of the gutters will end up helping it last longer as the mildew that grows will damage the paint over time.
Roof cleaning is important to ensure that materials on the roof do not just end up in the gutter after the gutters are cleaned. Typically using a blower or a broom pushing down to avoid damaging shingles will work. Look for debris accumulating in roof valleys and around roof vents.
Some preventative maintenance can go a long way. Click here to learn more.
- Determine a maintenance schedule based on your home situation
- Pine trees: Typically, early fall & Spring
- Leafy trees: Typically, late fall
- Install gutter filters if your downspout drains underground.
- Ensure there is a splash block or extension diverting water from gutters.
When hiring a professional
- Their quote should always be free
- Ask about how they access the roof and gutters. Safety is important!
- Ask about their insurance. License, bond, insured is standard
- Create a maintenance plan based on their recommendation