9 Tips for Easy Gutter Maintenance in Any Season

Gutters are not exciting or sexy, but they are definitely important.

They protect your home from water damage and save you thousands on repairs in the future. They are one of the best investments you can make for your home.

But they do come with some maintenance required, so to help you out, we put together the very best tips for gutter maintenance.

All to make it easier for you to keep your gutters in tip-top shape.

gutter maintenance

1. Regularly Clean Out Your Gutters

The most important way to keep your gutters working properly is to keep them clean.

Leaves are like kryptonite to your gutters.

Leaves and other debris, such as shingle grit, mud, and pests can clog the whole system, leading to a host of other problems.

Problems such as, your gutters overflowing with water and damaging your siding, foundation, fascia, and other expensive goodies.

To keep these problems from developing, simply cleaning out your gutters once or twice a year will prevent any issues from forming.

Keep in mind, if you have a lot of trees around your home, you may need to clean out your gutters more frequently. In certain seasons, you may need to clean them out as often as once a month (but this is rare for most homeowners).

2. Inspect Your Downspouts for Clogs

Your downspouts are responsible for taking all of the water that falls off of your and into your gutters, and directing it away from your home.

This can either be done with a downspout or a downspout extension. Some homeowners even have underground downspouts as well.

During gutter cleaning, you always want to inspect your downspout for clogs. Because they are an enclosed space and have lots of twists and turns, they are a common area for clogs to develop. Especially towards the very tops and bottoms of the downspout.

You can unclog a downspout with a variety of methods, such as banging on it with your hand, blowing compressed air through it with a leafvblower, or using pressured water with a pressure washer.

Each method has its own benefits and downsides, and will depend on what tools you have on hand.

If you have a downspout extension, you also want to make sure it is clear of any clogs as well. Underground downspouts can be difficult to unclog and may require extra tools.

3. Check for Rust or Holes

Another thing to check for is any rust that may be developing or holes in the gutters.

Holes in the gutters can lead to water leaking in areas that should remain dry, so if you see any, it could be a sign your gutters need to be replaced or patched up.

Any rust that is found will need to be treated to avoid it spreading.

You can do this by applying a rust converter and then repainting the area with primer and paint. Or if the rust is more severe, you can look at replacing the bad sections of gutter.

Rust buildup on gutters is preventable by keeping them protected with a fresh coat of paint.

4. Reseal Gutter Joints to Prevent Leaks

It’s normal for the sealant between the gutter joints to wear down over time, leading to leaks.

If you notice leaks between your gutter endcaps or on the corners (miters), it could be a sign you need to reseal them. If you do not have seamless gutters, you may notice leaks forming between each section of the gutter.

When resealing your gutters, you want to make sure you use a UV-resistant sealant, so it does not wear down from exposure to the sun.

The sealant will also need to be able to flex and shift as your gutters expand with the heat and contract in the cold.

It’s common to use rubber-based sealant or sealants used for roofing applications because they made to withstand constant heat and sunlight.

5. Trim Trees Around your Roofline

Instead of treating the symptom, like leaf build-up in your gutters, sometimes it’s better to go after the root cause.

The root cause would be what’s producing the onslaught of leaves. Having a lot of trees around your roofline that result in heavy leaf fall is a great way to get leaves in your gutters.

Once a year it’s a good idea to trim any branches that get too close to your house.

This can do several beneficial things for your home.

  1. It can reduce the likelihood of damage to your home from collapsed branches. This is a big threat if you experience heavy rainfall or strong winds. Also a large buildup of snow and ice in the winter season can lead to your branches breaking. Branches can take out your windows and roof pretty easily.
  2. It will reduce the amount of leaves you need to clean up in your gutters, on your roof, and in your yard. The less time you spend raking leaves or scooping them out of your gutters is a win in my book.

While it may not feasible for you to fully remove the trees, at least trimming the problem branches can help a ton.

6. Install Gutter Guards

Gutter guards are an excellent way to keep leaves out of your gutters. You will need to clean out your gutters less as the leaves will just slide right off the gutter guards.

If you experience heavy leaf fall, it may be a good idea to speak with a contractor about installing gutter guards.

Keep in mind, not all gutter guards will work. It depends a lot on the type of trees that you have. For example, if you have pine needles, a certain type of gutter guard will be better for your situation.

If you choose the wrong type of gutter guard, you may be creating more work for yourself, as now there is an extra barrier when it comes time to clean out the gutters.

They can get in the way and make it more difficult to clean the gutters. Gutter guards can also be pricey too, so do your research before buying.

7. Consider Downspout Extensions

If you notice your downspouts are dumping water into areas that you want to stay dry, you can consider downspout extensions.

When the water from your downspouts begins to flood areas around your home and destroy your landscaping, downspout extensions are the perfect solution.

There are tons of downspout alternatives to choose from. A common option is the flip-up downspout, which like the name says is a downspout that can flipped up or down to extend it.

This is great because you can minimize the footprint of the downspout when it’s not raining by flipping the extension up. And then when the rain comes around, you can flip it down to escort the water further away from your home.

Another excellent downspout alternative is to install an underground downspout. The underground downspout can channel water away from your home while being completely hidden underground. Talk about a win, right?

And if you really don’t like the look of your downspouts, you can always consider going with a rain chain instead. They are much more aesthetically pleasing.

8. Put in Splash Guards if Needed

When the rain is pouring down on your home, do you ever notice the water overshooting your gutters?

This can be common problem, especially in areas where your roof forms a valley. A valley is where two sections of your roof meets.

In these valleys, you get more water flow, and at times they can shoot right over your gutters and into your yard. If you experience this problem, there is a simple solution.

You can get splash guards (also know as gusher guards).

These splash guards are thin pieces of metal that redirect the water back into your gutters. They are cheap and super effective as stopping overshooting water from your gutters.

9. Install Concrete Splash Blocks

If your downspouts are missing splash blocks, you are experiencing some soil erosion when it rains.

The water that flows from your downspouts can destroy your grass and create muddy pockets when it lands in your yards. To combat this, you can install splash blocks.

The splash blocks are installed underneath your downspouts and disperse the water, making the impact on your yard less intense.

These are perfect to keep your home protected from water damage.

You can usually get them in either concrete or plastic, but concrete is preferred. Concrete will stay in place and doesn’t move around at when there is heavy wind or rain.

Plastic splash blocks can be more permanently installed if you have a way to keep them attached, such as stakes or nails.

Safety Tips When Performing Gutter Maintenance

When performing gutter maintenance, always make sure to have the proper safety gear. Wearing glasses and gloves can protect you from injury and keep you safe.

If you plan on working on an elevated surface, it’s a good idea to have a stable ladder, non-slip shoes, and to have a partner hold the ladder in place.

This can minimize chances of injury. If you have to work on the second story to fix your gutters, consider hiring a contractor. They will have all of the best safety equipment and know how to work in those spaces safely.

Why It’s Important to Maintain your Gutters

To keep your gutters fully operational, it’s a good idea to get them check out once or twice a year.

You can make sure they still operate correctly, and that they send any water that lands on your roof down the downspout and away from your home.

Gutters are the first line of defense for you home and if they aren’t working properly, they can lead to a host of issues, such as:

  • Rotting fascia
  • Foundation cracking and erosion
  • Damage to landscaping
  • Siding water damage
  • Interior ceiling leaks
  • And more

Making sure to take care of your gutters is a great way to keep your home protected. It’s an investment in the longevity of your home.

The common issues you may have with your gutters include:

  • Clogged gutters and downspouts due to leaves and debris
  • Gutters not sloped correctly
  • Sagging gutters
  • Rusted gutters
  • Holes or dents in gutters
  • Water overshooting your gutters
  • Water dripping behind your gutters

Talk to a Professional Today

If you experience any gutter problems, it can be a good idea to speak with contractor to help with your gutter-related issues.

They will provide insight to your specific situation and give you a quote for the job. It’s a good idea to speak with multiple contractors so you can find a good match for your budget and someone you trust.

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