As winter approaches, yard work, HVAC maintenance, and exterior self-inspections are needed to ensure your home is ready for our rainy Pacific Northwest winters.
Maybe the most important of all these fall maintenance tasks? Getting your gutters ready for winter!
In this post, we’ll outline our top autumn gutter maintenance tips. We’ll touch on everything from what you can do to make sure your home stays dry to staying safe while cleaning your gutters. We’ll even share some tips to limit the time you’ll have to spend actively maintain your gutters.
What to keep in mind before maintaining your gutters
Gutter maintenance can be extremely dangerous. Given the height and the laborious process of inspecting, repairing, and cleaning gutters, extreme caution should be used at all times.
When maintaining your gutter for fall, use the following tips so you don’t fall yourself.
- Use a ladder you trust: Make sure it’s stable and that you’re using the proper ladder for your home (4-legged ladders for single story and an extension ladder for multi-story homes).
- Don’t rest or lean ladder on gutters: Gutters are not made to have anything resting on them. Never lean your extension ladder on gutters, as it both can damage the gutters or lead to a fall.
- Wear work gloves and protective eyewear: You never know what you’ll run into in a gutter! We’ve seen everything from litter, to wildlife, to animal droppings. Keep your hands and eyes safe and sanitary with gloves and protective eyewear.
- Use a bucket and gutter scoop: When you use a secured bucket and gutter scoop you can safely and neatly clean and clear debris from your gutters.
Clear all debris from gutter
Unless you have Gutter Guards, clearing your gutters of debris is a seasonal task you’ll have to complete whether it is fall, winter, or spring.
Gutters are designed to catch rain from the sky. It’s only natural that they would also catch other things that fall from above them. Twigs, branches, leaves, and other debris will clog your gutters.
Some risks of not cleaning your gutters include:
- Falling gutters: When gutters get clogged and water pools, it gives them weight that no gutter can handle. They’ll pull away from your home and fall to the ground.
- Foundation cracking: When water falls from the clogged gutters, water pools can develop. This can cause your foundation to crack. In a worse case scenario this could even lead to a flooded basement!
- Property flood: In addition to a damaged foundation, the flooding caused by failing gutters can be costly. We’ve seen yards, gardens, and landscaping completely destroyed from the floods caused by a clogged gutter and a storm.
- Roof damage: When water pools in your gutters, it will lead to water seeping into your roof, rotting the fascia boards, and destroying the shingles or shakes. This can completely destroy your roof and lead to water damage in other parts of your home as well.
- Rotting wood: The wood in your walls or siding can rot as water trickles down from a clogged gutter.
Cleaning your gutters is particularly important come fall, as pooled water will freeze and ultimately inflict damage to your gutters and home. Worst yet, when your gutters are stuck with ice, you’ll have to wait for a thaw to properly clean them. This leads to a waiting game that could cause your gutters to fail.
Install Gutter Guards from Rainbusters Exteriors
Fortunately, with Gutter Guards from Rainbusters Exteriors, extensive seasonal cleaning of your gutters won’t be necessary. Gutter Guards gutter protection systems are installed on top of your gutters, allowing water through but keeping debris out.
Gutter Guards provide protection against:
- Sticks and branches
- Pests and insects
All that will be required from you is a yearly hose-off. By design, they’ll clean themselves the rest of the time.
Learn more about Gutter Guards from Rainbusters Exteriors.
Inspect your gutters
Either during or after cleaning your gutters, make sure to give them an inspection to ensure they are in working order. Some things to be on the lookout for include:
- Seams: More than anything else in a gutter systems, seams are what fail. Seamed gutters simply fail a lot quicker than a high-quality seamless gutter. Cut from a single piece of metal, seamless gutters are safer and will last your home’s lifetime. Learn more about seamless gutters.
- Anchors: Make sure your gutters are securely anchored to your home and ensure there are no gaps between the fascia and the gutter.
- Hardware: Make sure all hardware is securely fashioned and not coming loose. Some shorter, non-stainless steel hardware will breakdown quicker than you think!
Look for damage to your gutters
Unfortunately, not all gutters are created equal. Vinyl, seamed gutters in particular are known to become easily damaged from rain or snow storms.
We recommend choosing a gutter material that can hold up the the harsh weather of the Pacific Northwest year-after-year. Some good options include:
- Copper gutters: Copper gutters are known for their sturdy, rustless build. These high-quality gutters can withstand falling debris better than most materials. They’re also beautiful and work well for homes here in the Pacific Northwest.
- Aluminum gutters: These rust-resistant, lightweight gutters are just as strong as some heavier gutter materials. They can also be painted any color, making them a aesthetically customizable option for homeowners.
Ensure downspouts and diverters are in working condition
Many people will go through all the effort of ensuring their gutters are fine and never check the downspouts and diverters to make sure water is dispersed properly. Don’t make this mistake!
Again, this is a particularly important task come fall given the amount of rain we receive here in the Pacific Northwest from October-May. Things to check every fall include:
- Water is being redirected at least 10 feet from the home at a downward slope
- Ensuring flow of water is away from house and not pooling
- If a water barrel is being used to catch rain, either replacing it with a more traditional system or ensuring water is being diverted away from the house when the barrel starts to overflow
Want to cut down on your annual gutter maintenance?
At Rainbusters Exteriors, we’ve been installing top-of-the-line gutters and Gutter Guards for properties up and down the I-5 corridor in the Pacific Northwest for over 25 years. Our high-quality products will be sure to cut down on the needed maintenance. They’ll also last longer than any other gutter on the market!