To maintain gutters, they must be kept clear of debris and checked periodically for leaks. Water is heavy and, when allowed to collect or freeze, may cause damage to rain gutters.
The first step to maintain gutters is to remove any leaves, seedpods, or debris with a hand trowel.
1. Start at the low end and work your way up, to avoid debris ending up in the downspout. This is the perfect time to inspect for damage. Holes and cracks should be filled with roofing cement and feathered down to avoid obstructing water flow. Larger holes can be repaired with burlap or glass fabric patches. Simply glue them down flat and cover with another smooth coat of roofing cement.
2. If your rain gutters feature leaf screens and leaf strainers, there will be significantly less debris to remove, but it is not safe to assume there won’t be any.
3. Finally, pour a bucket of water, or run a hose, from the high end to flush smaller bits of debris and to inspect the water flow. Sometimes the slant needs adjusting. If you notice water getting behind the gutters, damaging the walls, you can install drip edges to direct the water into the gutters.
Maintain Downspout Extensions
When you maintain downspout extensions, you remove debris and check for leaks – just as you do to maintain gutters.
1. You can maintain downspout extensions simply by using a hose with the nozzle turned to full strength. From the ground, run the hose up the and flush out any collected debris. For serious clogs, a drain auger or snake can be used.
2. Next, run the hose from the top and note any cracks or holes, which should be sealed with roofing cement. This is also a good time to inspect the strapping irons and lag screws. Tightening as needed.
Ideally, downspout extensions should discharge water at least 4 feet from your home; when they cross walkways, these can be a nuisance and can be replaced with convenient retractable downspout extensions. Retractable types stay out of the way until needed.
Maintain splash blocks for the best redirection of the force and flow of water coming through the downspout; rainwater should divert into an acceptable water path or through a downspout extension. The only maintenance required for splash blocks is periodic leveling. As rainwater strikes the splash block, the pressure slowly pushes the splash block down into the ground, potentially altering its effectiveness. If adjustments are needed, simply dig the splash block out, refill some of the soil, and place it where it will best protect your home from water damage. You will also want to inspect the water path, removing debris, which can cause overflow.
It is easy and cost effective to maintain gutters and retractable downspout extensions, and the extra effort helps your home and family stay dry and healthy.