5 Important Gutter Maintenance Tips For The Winter Months
Fall is the best time of year to inspect your roof, gutter, and downspout systems to prepare them for winter. Gutter maintenance is ongoing, and inspections should be performed before and after storms to keep gutters and downspouts free of debris, clogs, or damage that could lead to roof leaks or compromise your roof’s longevity.
Always maintain a “safety first,” approach to winter gutter maintenance
In most cases, you won’t need to get up on the roof to clean or maintain gutters and downspouts, you’ll still be up on a ladder. Plus, disturbing debris and dirt can irritate or injure the eyes, hands, or exposed areas of the body.
Safety is always the first priority when performing roof or gutter maintenance. Make sure you:
Wear safety goggles
Wear non-slip shoes
Use a mask, especially if you’re sensitive to dust, pollen or allergies
Schedule ahead so you perform gutter cleaning and maintenance on a fair-weather day
Hire a professional to do the job for gutters above the first story
Clean gutters at least twice per year
Gutters should be cleaned at least twice per year. Typically, we recommend cleaning them before the winter season, and then again in the spring. However, it’s a good idea to take a peek after any major storm. If you hear the clatter and knocks of branches, twigs, and leaves on the roof or walls due to high winds, inspecting and cleaning any obvious debris keeps gutters and downspouts clear.
Gutters primarily fill up with debris from the roof that washes down via rain or makes it was down over time via gravity. If you feel up to it, and understand “Roof Safety 101”, you can clean the roof on your own.
However, if you aren’t quite sure what to do, your roof is slippery, has steep slopes, or you live in a multi-story home, we highly recommend hiring professional roofing contractors to get the job done the first time. They’ll be happy to show you what they do, how they do it, and how to keep safe, so you can make it a DIY job the next time around.
Inspect gutters for rust, leaks, holes, and corroded joints
Once the gutters are cleaned, and the downspouts are free and clear (evidenced by consistent, full streams of water when you run your hose into the gutter), it’s time to inspect your gutters for any signs of rust, leaks, or holes. You’re most likely to see these at the gutter joints, where metal edges were welded together.
Gutter patching kits are available from your local hardware store, and you’ll also want to caulk and/or apply a sealant to weak or corroded joints. You may also see areas where the gutter framework has detached from the roof or siding, in which case it needs to be reattached.
If the gutters look exceptionally dented, rusty, or generally dilapidated, it’s worth replacing them. Aluminum, copper, or vinyl gutters/downspouts are a worthwhile investment as they won’t rust and last longer than other options.
Don’t forget the downspouts
Your gutters carry the water and debris that washes off the roof, but your downspouts do the rest of the work. Without them, all that water would drain at the base of your home, which can compromise the foundation.
Inspect the downspouts for rust, leaks, holes or corroded joints the same way you did for the gutters. Repair compromised issues, and replace any downspouts that are beyond repair. Does the runoff pool a little too close to your foundation or walkways for comfort? Take this opportunity to use downspout extenders to provide better drainage.
Let Us Do The Work For You
Is a busy fall season making it hard to inspect and repair your roof’s gutter and downspouts before winter? Schedule an inspection online with Central Bay Roofing & Restoration at (510) 521-7334.