Roof and Gutter Maintenance: Everything You Need to Know
While Phoenix gets less rain than other parts of the state, that 10-12 inches we get each year seem to dump on us all at once during the summer.
The brief, intense storms that mark monsoon season can quickly overwhelm your gutters if you haven’t been taking care of them. And when gutter maintenance falls behind, it spells problems for your roof and siding that can cost far more than fixing a sagging gutter ever would.
Taking care of your gutters isn’t a hard chore, but it’s often overlooked when it comes to home maintenance. Most people aren’t keen to climb up a ladder to deal with them or don’t have a good idea of what they’re looking for once they’re up there.
Let’s take a look at why gutters matter, how to inspect your gutter, and when to call a roofing contractor to check for any major damage.
How Your Gutters Impact Your Home
Most people don’t give their gutters much thought, but they do have a big impact on the health of your roof, siding, and home. Their main job is to move water quickly away from the roof to the ground – especially for non-tile roofs – and then away from the foundation.
Without well-cared-for gutters, water can build up on the roof or erode the soil near your foundation. Clogged gutters trap water where you don’t want it, leading to potential problems like rot in your fascia boards and trim. Wet wood becomes a magnet for pests like termites or carpenter ants, both of which prefer wet wood for snacking.
The trapped water also creates a great environment for mold and algae growth, while the extra weight from buildup can pull on the soffits and fascia.
How to Inspect Your Gutters
Since there are a few things you might be able to see from the ground, a real inspection requires getting up on a ladder so you can see what’s going on up there. You’ll want to make sure you inspect it before the summer rains arrive.
The most obvious thing you’ll notice is whether the gutters have gotten clogged, but there are a few other things you’ll want to be looking for as well. These include:
Holes, rust, or dents
-Sealant on seams and caps
Any of these indicate a problem that requires repair before the next rainstorm.
Basic Gutter Maintenance and Repairs
Most gutter chores should be done a couple of times per year, while repairs should be made as needed and as soon as they’re identified. Whether you can do any of these tasks yourself depends a lot on your skills and comfort with heights.
You can’t get more basic than cleaning when it comes to maintenance, and that is the place you need to start each time. Whether debris has reached the point of clogging or not, a clean gutter is much easier to inspect and makes fixing other problems more effective.
Make sure you wear gloves and use a small shovel to get debris out of the gutters. The shovel comes in handy especially if your asphalt shingles are shedding granules into the gutter. Spray down the gutter with your garden hose to clean out small debris and dirt.
Keep an eye on the water flow while you’re spraying to see whether water is coming out the bottom of the downspouts. Look for any issues with draining around the top of the spout and watch that water is running toward the downspout and not pooling in other spots.
You can cut out a good bit of cleaning by trimming back tree branches to avoid debris getting in the gutter in the first place. And while you’re cleaning the gutters, take the time to clear debris off the roof as well before it gets in the gutter.
Rust, Leaks, and Holes
Leaks at seams can be fixed by applying new sealant and caulk. If you found issues with loose end caps, tap them back into place and seal them as well. In both cases, these can be the result of leaving heavy debris sitting in the gutter for too long.
Small holes can be patched using metal flashing or a patch kit. Large ones should be taken care of by replacing the piece of gutter.
If you found rust during your inspection, it’s time to replace that piece of the gutter. Peeling paint on other pieces should be taken care of as well since that can lead to more rust or leaks.
Slope and Alignment
Your gutter might look like it runs level, but it should have a slight downward angle toward the downspouts. Standing water in your gutter means the angle is off, which in turn can attract pests and end up causing more sagging.
Check all the fasteners that attach the gutter to the eaves. A gap between the gutter and eave is a good sign you probably have a loose one. Replace any damaged hangers or spikes and tighten up the others.
The slope should be slight and can be adjusted by loosening some hangers and tightening others. If you’ve noticed issues with wood rot, you should repair that damage before you start adjusting the gutter slope.
Need to Check for Gutter or Roof Damage?
Gutter maintenance is an easy but often overlooked home project. Inspections take a little time and knowing what to look for can help solve avoidable issues like clogs, mold, or pests. Proper care keeps gutters looking good and functioning as they should.
Regular gutter and roof maintenance keep problems at bay and ensures a long lifespan for your roof. Contact us for a free roofing checkup to see if you need our roofing services.