A clean and properly functioning gutter system can save you from costly damage to both your roof and your basement. Here’s what you need to know about installing new gutters, hiring gutter cleaning services and whether gutter guards or screens are worth installing.
Gutter cleaning & maintenance
How often gutters need to be cleaned depends on the part of the country and whether there are nearby trees. If you live in the Arizona desert you may be able to go several years, but for those who live where autumn leaves fall it’s important to clean gutters at least twice a year.
The most important time is in late fall after all or most of the leaves have come down. Most deciduous trees also drop debris in the spring, so an early summer cleaning is important as well. Those who live in heavily wooded areas may find it necessary to clear the gutters three or four times a year.
The objective, of course, is to keep the water flowing so it does not overflow the gutters and flow down the house — causing wood damage and probably giving you a wet basement as well. Mold growth is also a likely result.
Homeowners can clean their own gutters using an extension ladder and by scooping the leaves out by hand or with a short broom. Smaller debris should be washed out with a garden hose so the gutters are sparkling clean (at least for a while).
Always make sure the downspouts are not clogged and that they are carrying water away from the house foundation.
Hiring a gutter cleaning service:
Many homeowners hire gutter cleaning services for this task. Cost will vary depending on the size of your house, roof pitch, and frequency of cleaning.
This can be a particularly good choice for homeowners who have gutters that are difficult to reach, or who no longer feel physically comfortable doing the job themselves.
But there’s another group of homeowners who ought to consider hiring a service — those who for whatever reason just don’t get around to doing the job themselves. You know who your are. Remember, the worst choice is to neglect it because that will cost more in the long run. If you want to do it yourself, that’s fine — as long as you actually get around to it. Otherwise, hire someone and get it over with.
Gutter repair & replacement
Gutters systems can last 20-30 years, but that doesn’t mean they’ll never need repairs. They may spring leaks over time and the spikes that hold them to the fascia board can work themselves loose. They may also need adjusting if the water is no longer draining well even when there are no obstructions.
Guards and screens
There is no perfect way to keep gutters clean other than getting on a ladder and scooping out the leaves. However having a leaf guard installed reduces the amount of time spent on a ladder cleaning your gutters. The type of leaf guard we recommend are called SureFlo Leaf Guard. This is a flat piece of aluminum that is drill pressed creating a smooth surface for debris to flow off of as and not be caught. Any debris that is left will dry and blow off with the wind. We prefer this type of leaf guard because it does not void the warranty of your shingles or new roof. Shingle warranties are voided if another product is inserted under the shingles. SureFlo provides the convenience of a leaf guard without voiding the warranty of your roof.