Everday Gutter Problems

Gutters are your home’s first line of defense against flooding, making them worthy of thorough care. Part of showing your gutters the respect they deserve is knowing what problems they face, identifying them when they occur and knowing the proper maintenance techniques and preventive measures you should take to avoid and correct them.

The Gutter And Gutter Guard Installation Process

Installing gutters and gutter guards is a difficult process. Even hiring out a contractor to do the installation for you comes with its fair share of pitfalls. Because there are no professional certifications needed to start a gutter installation business and overhead is relatively cheap the industry attracts a number of unreliable and inexperienced installers.

Installing gutters requires skill and eye for detail. They can’t simply be hung and forgot about.

They must be slanted enough to aid proper water flow but not so slanted that they turn your home’s roofline into an eyesore. Calculations need to be made to ensure the gutters you install are large enough to handle the surface area of your roof and have enough downspouts to accommodate substantial water volume.

Finding a reputable gutter installer is essential, even if it ends up costing you a little more.  Deciding to go for the cheapest option only leads to a larger expense when you have to hire a more skilled contractor to come in and clean up the mess later.

Clogged Gutters And The Gutter Guard Solution

Clogs are probably the most serious and persistent problem your gutters face. If you have trees that hang over your roof, the risk is substantially higher. Tree shed leaves, twigs, fruit and other debris that have a knack for ending up in your gutter and reducing or eliminating its effectiveness all together.

Clogs cause water to back up, your gutters to overflow and substantial damage to your home’s foundations and its other components can result.

Thorough and consistent cleaning is one way to combat the problem, but it’s a time consuming and labor intensive. Gutter guards offer a more effective and long term solution.  High quality micromesh gutter guards possess a screen fine enough to allow water in but keep even the smallest of debris out. Gutter guards can be installed to match the pitch of your roof to help it shed debris too.

Cold Climates

If you live at northern latitude, snow and ice presents some kind of a problem to every component of your home. Your gutters aren’t immune. Your roof is warmer than the ambient temperature, causing the snow it collects to melt.   When that water reaches your cold gutter it refreezes, creating ice dams that cause more water to be trapped and refrozen.

Problems associated with cold climates can be avoided by making sure your gutters are clear of debris before winter strikes. Taking steps to ensure your roof temperature is similar to that of the ambient air, like installing and ice shield or adapted insulation, is another good idea.

Heated gutter guards are also an option you should explore. They will cost a bit more but prevent cold weather problems and many of the other issues listed above.

Peter Bruzzini is a home improvement and roofing expert who loves sharing his knowledge with the blogosphere.

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