One of your home’s most important structures is the gutter system that carries water and melted snow off your roof and away from your home’s foundation. This winter, one of the best steps you can take toward preventing serious water damage around your property is taking the time to ensure your gutter system is ready to handle the cold season’s challenges.
Know the components of your gutter system
Some homes have more complex gutter systems than others, but every homeowner should be able to identify the different parts of their gutter systems. The gutters themselves are the attached trenches that run along the lower edges of the eaves of your roof. Depending on your home’s construction, your gutter system may have various levels for the roof planes at different elevations. You may also have gutters arranged in corners that are particularly vulnerable to freezing and other damage.
Fascia brackets keep your gutters fixed in place, and the downspouts that run vertically from your gutters to the ground have the task of diverting drained water away from your home’s foundation. While modern gutters come in many materials and styles, the same principles apply for maintaining any gutter system and ensuring its viability for the winter.
Clean your gutters thoroughly
Leaves, sticks, and other debris can easily accumulate in your gutters, preventing water and melting snow from draining properly. It’s typically best to clean your gutters entirely at least a few times each year. This is also an opportunity to check for excessive amounts of shingle granules in your gutters, which is often a sign of a roof in need of repair or replacement.
Check for physical damage
The next step in your winter gutter maintenance checklist should be to visually inspect your gutters for any signs of physical damage, such as broken connections, sags, or cracks in the gutters and downspouts around your home. Should you notice any of these issues, it’s crucial to repair them as soon as possible. Allowing even small cracks to remain unchecked can cause serious problems during the winter when water is likely to leak through these cracks, refreeze, and worsen the damage with each thawing cycle.
Arrange necessary gutter repairs
If your gutters are worse for wear and you are not confident in their ability to withstand the stress of the winter weather, you should arrange repair or replacement immediately. Some homeowners may be confident in their ability to swap out damaged downspouts or repair slightly broken connections, but ultimately it is always best to leave this type of work to professionals.
Inspect your attic and roof insulation
No matter how well you care for your home’s gutters, insulation problems in your home can still pose significant problems during the winter. After a light snowfall, you can go outside to look at your roof to check for insulation problems. If you notice areas that are melting faster than others, this means heat is escaping through these areas of the roof. Left unchecked, this will eventually cause ice dams to form, eventually damaging your roof and preventing your gutter system from functioning effectively.
Consider adding extra fixtures for better gutter performance
Once you have completed your maintenance checklist, you may notice a few areas that could use some improvement for a better overall gutter system. Gutter guards have grown increasingly popular throughout the country for a good reason. These devices attach to the tops of your gutters, creating a slatted or mesh screen over the gutter openings, allowing water to pass through easily while preventing leaves and other debris from accumulating inside the gutters.
Downspout extensions and diverters can help prevent excessive rainfall or snowmelt from pouring out of your downspouts and damaging your landscape. These devices are affordable, very easy to install, and surprisingly effective.
Work with an experienced roofer
As you inspect your gutters and address the issues that you’re capable of handling, you may notice some problems that are not safe for you to fix yourself. An experienced roofing contractor is your best resource if you have significant gutter problems that you aren’t sure how to fix. Mr. Roof routinely provides professional and reliable gutter maintenance, repairs, and installations for residential and commercial properties.
Whether you have noticed a significant problem with your gutters, or a storm broke a large section of your gutter system, Mr. Roof can help. Our team can also provide professional gutter guard installation. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your current gutter issues.