The gutter and downspout system performs a necessary function in the effective maintenance of your home. In cooperation, they receive runoff, primarily rainwater, from your roof surfaces and direct it down and away from the house. This prevents a damaging buildup of water alongside your foundation, crawlspace, or basement. Proper maintenance of your gutter/downspout system prevents roof damage as well as protecting plants and shrubbery alongside your home, your siding, and your foundation. Whether your gutter/downspout system is manufactured from steel, aluminum, copper, or plastic; whether it is a continuous system or made up of traditional sections and pieces, you will need to clean and repair it from time to time.
Cleaning the gutters
- Use a whisk broom or a garden hose to remove debris from your gutters.
- You can also use rubber gloves and manually scoop out the debris into a bucket with a gutter scoop.
- A shop vacuum with a long attachment effectively sucks up dirt, leaves, and debris from the gutters.
- After cleaning the gutters, inspect them for holes, dents, sagging, and other damage.
Cleaning the downspouts
- Flush out the downspouts with a garden hose and nozzle.
- If they are plugged up, you will need to use a sewer cleaning cable to flush out the debris. Then flush them thoroughly with a garden hose.
- Inspect the downspout connections.
- Make sure the splash block is in place and intact.
- Clean the area around any holes in the bottom of the gutter. Use a wire brush to remove any rust.
- Cut a patch slightly larger than the hole out of the same material as the gutters are made from.
- Apply a bead of a good quality silicone caulk around the edges of the hole. You can also use roof cement.
- Lay the repair patch over the hole and press it firmly into the caulk or roof cement.
- Drill the same size hole as the pop rivet you will use approximately 1/2″ or 3/4″ apart around the edge of the gutter patch .
- Insert the pop rivet and set it with a pop rivet gun. The rivet should project down below the gutter.
- Use a small amount of caulk to seal the pop rivets inside the gutter.
- Smooth the excess caulk or roof cement.
- If your gutter is sagging, remove the 7″ long nail and replace it with the same length gutter screw. If your fascia is rotted or degraded so the nail will not hold, use a gutter hanger or strap hanger that supports the gutter from the roof instead.
Use the same technique for repairing downspouts as you used to repair your gutters.
If you are having trouble with the downspouts falling off, fasten them in place with pop rivets.
Clean your gutters and downspouts at least twice a year and inspect them for needed repairs.
If your gutters are sagging or water stands in the bottom of the gutters in places, add additional hangers to make sure your gutters slope at least 1/16″ per foot.
Use a solid step ladder or properly placed extension ladder while working on your gutters. If you feel uncertain or unsafe in cleaning your gutter system hire qualified help. Buy and use safety gear. Protect yourself from falls.
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