Rain gutter maintenance - step by step guide

Gutters are one of the most important systems that ensure building’s proper functioning. They carry excess rainwater outside of the building which prevents soaking its walls. Those elements need to be thoroughly cleaned, otherwise they won’t work. Such maintenance works should be performed at least once a year, however it is better to do it every spring and autumn.

Table of contents

  1. Gutter maintenance - clogged gutters
  2. Gutter repair
  3. Gutter installation
  4. Testing gutters for leaks

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Gutter maintenance - clogged gutters

Gutters maintenance should be started from checking whether they are clogged or not. It is important because in autumn leaves, sticks and other materials get into the system, blocking the flow. Water flow obstruction in gutters is one of the most common problem.

Gutter repair

Removing any defects caused by wind and heavy rainfalls in a highly important matter. Sometimes the hooks to which gutters are attached get loose. In that case they need to be replaced. Elements particularly vulnerable to damage are corners and outlets. Those parts need to be replaced every few years. Seasonal gutter examination is a good opportunity to perform such works.

If you noticed that water stands in the gutter slopes, it might mean that their pitch is incorrect. To adjust your gutter, measure the side of the building under the gutter. The result should be multiplied by 1/16 inch. It means that in case the gutter’s length is 16 feet, the difference between starting point and the end of the pipe should be 1 inch. Adjust the element according to your calculations.

Gutters might also get deformed under pressure from snow. It might hinder the proper water flow. In that case the broken elements need to be replaced.

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Gutter installation

If your gutter system is broken beyond repair, you should probably replace it. Gutter installation is not a difficult task - most manufacturers produce systems that can be installed by a non-professional.

During installation you should make thorough measurements to be sure where to attach support brackets. Using spirit level, determine the correct slope. You can draw a line with a chalk, or use a piece of string as a helping line. After securing all the brackets, install the gutter. Cut it to the correct length and file the rough edges. The last step is installing a downpipe. To prevent leaves from getting into the system, you might decide to install gutter guards. Usually they are attached to the pipe with small clip hooks.

After installing all the elements, you should check the system for leaks. This way you know if everything is properly attached.

Testing gutters for leaks

One of the most basic actions that should be performed during gutter examination is testing the pipes for leaks. How to do it? First of all, you should observe the gutters during a heavy rainfall. It might be problematic, as you cannot cause raining on demand. A better method involves filling the pipes with water (clogging the bottom). This way it is easy to notice all the spots that need to be repaired. If the gutters are made of PVC, a simple seal replacement should suffice. Steel pipes should be additionally secured with a roof sealant. Galvanised steel gutters require different treatment. Because it is quite an old design, it’s not very durable.

Pipes made of this material are prone to corrosion, therefore constant contact with water damages them. If you decided to install galvanised gutters, you probably should coat them with a special protective layer. Such coating should be checked annually and reapplied if needed. The layer protects the pipes from all types of weather conditions: rain, snow, frost and strong UV lighting.

If you do not have enough time to check the system yourself, you might hire a professional. The cost of such service depends on various factors, such as type of the building, type of a gutter and required actions. Whether you do it yourself or pay a professional you should clean your gutters regularly. Systematic examination and appropriate maintenance result in good looking and, what’s more important, functional rain gutters.

How to install gutter guards?

Gutter guards are usually attached to a gutter with clip hooks. Installing them is easy and worth doing, as they prevent leaves and sprouts from getting into the pipes.

How to install gutter?

The most important part of gutter installation is measuring the lengths between support brackets, to be sure where they need to be attached. To determine the correct slope, use a spirit level.

How much does gutter cleaning cost?

The cost of gutter cleaning services depends on factors such as type and size of the building, the height of the gutter and required actions. It is a good solution if you don’t have time to clean the gutters yourself.

How to fix gutter slope?

If water stands in the slope, you should fix its pitch. For a 16 feet long gutter the difference between the beginning and end of the pipe should be 1 inch.

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