The roof of your house and its foundation are both very susceptible to rain damage if correct drainage isn't maintained, so anything you can do to keep the gutter system in good order is a step in the right direction. Here are four steps you can take to make sure your roof and foundation are protected from the weather.
1. Inspect and Clean Your Gutters Regularly
To maintain your gutter's basic health, you'll need to inspect your gutters on a regular basis and either perform a DIY cleaning or hire a professional.
A clogged gutter is one of the worst thing that can happen if left unchecked. This is because clogged gutters can allow water to build up and damage the fascia, which can then rot away. Clogged gutters can also allow water to get up under the roof and into the attic, causing thousands of dollars in water damage.
But that doesn't mean you should just get rid of your gutters. Instead, perform regular checks every few months where you inspect for:
- Loosened fasteners on the gutter or drainpipe
- Rust spots Misshapen sections of gutter
- Incorrect sloping
- Misaligned roof shingles that don't guide water into the gutter
- Leaves and other debris
After cleaning out the gutter, you should check for leaks with a hose, being careful not to spray any water up under the eaves. Then replace any missing fasteners, and repaint with a rust-resistant paint if necessary.
2. Make Sure Downspouts Are Plentiful and Long
Your downspouts are a critical part of the system. If there aren't enough downspouts, gutters can overflow and damage the roof and siding. If the downspouts don't carry water at least 6 to 10 feet away from the side of the house before dumping it out, the rainwater will have access to your foundation.
Make sure you have enough downspouts - usually this means having one per 20 feet of gutter, but if you live in an area with super-intense rainstorms and/or have a lot of roof space, you may need more - and make sure they're extended well away from the house.
3. Repair or Replace Damaged Gutters
Gutters are out in all weather and can take quite a beating. If they're made of metal, your gutters could become twisted or warped from overloading, from debris such as tree branches hitting them or from failed fasteners. Metal gutters can also become rusted, and plastic gutters can become cracked.
Any of these types of damage can allow water to escape your gutters rather than being directed down the downspout and away from the house as intended. Be sure to get these problems repaired right away.
4. Install Gutter Accessories
Gutters, downspouts and gutter flashing protect the eaves from splashes and moisture and are essential parts of the gutter system. But there are other components that aren't as universally found, meaning that you might not realize they're missing. These accessories, though, can often provide much better weather protection for your roof and foundation.
Splash guards for downspouts, for example, help ensure that the water doesn't escape from the drainage system by splashing back onto the foundation or siding of your house. Rodent guards keep small animals out of your downspouts so they don't clog them up with nests.
Gutter guards or covers can be another helpful accessory; they keep leaves from getting into the gutter, and their perforated surface allows rainwater to drip in rather than running off the top. Choosing welldesigned gutter covers can greatly reduce the amount of time you have to spend cleaning your gutters in order to protect your roof, foundation and siding from damage.
As you can see, gutter maintenance is in your hands, and it's up to you to make sure the gutter system is able to protect the roof and foundation from water damage.
For help with gutter maintenance or to get new gutters installed, contact G.A. Denison & Sons, Inc.