General Gutter Installation, Cleaning, and Maintenance Advice

Rain gutters are essential to your home as they help divert rainwater away from your house. They also help prevent damage to the siding of your house, prevent leaks, and prevent soil erosion. When placing or replacing your rain gutters, it is essential that you measure, pitch, and install them correctly so they function according to how they should function. Installing a gutter is something that many homeowners can do on their own. With proper tool and know-how, this can be done with ease.

Installation

  • Planning. Just like any other projects, planning is the first step that you need to do. Without proper planning, you will not be able to estimate the right number of sectional gutters or the exact length needed when buying seamless gutters. In addition, if you don’t plan ahead, you will not be able to determine the number of down spouts that you will need for the project.
  • Slope. A properly installed gutter is not one that is installed in a straight line. It is essential that they are installed at an angle so water can easily travel from one point to the downspout. Determine where the highest point of your gutter will be. For longer gutters (at least 35 feet), the highest point should be located in the middle. This makes each end of the gutter the lowest point. This means your downspout will be installed at each side. For seamless gutters, downspouts can be installed at the end of each section. So the lowest point of your gutter should be on either side of the gutter. The use of seamless gutters can be very convenient for gutters that are less than 35 feet.

    Facia should be installed according to the slope that you want to achieve. In order to do this properly, you can snap a chalk outline where the gutters will be installed.

  • Size. Sectional gutters, as the name suggests, can be bought in section. One section can measure 10 feet up to 20 feet. Each section can be attached easily with the snap-in-place connector. This makes this type of gutter easier to install. It is for this reason that sectional gutters are preferred by DIY-ers. On the other hand, seamless gutters (continuous gutters) are fitted on site. Installing a seamless gutter would require specific tools and equipment as it does not have the same snap-in-place feature as the other type of gutter. Because this type of gutter can’t be bought in sections, you will need the necessary measurements to determine the exact length of seamless gutter that you need for your project.

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Gutters

Just like any other investment, it is necessary that rain gutters are cleaned and maintained well. This will help prolong their life-span and their functionality. In order to do this, here are some basic steps that you need to do on a regular basis to provide your rain gutters the proper cleaning and maintenance that it needs.

Basic Gutter Cleaning

Scoop out debris. The first thing you need to do to clean your gutter is scoop out any debris that has fallen in the gutter. Start at the lowest part of the gutter, where the downspouts are located. Debris can be scooped out using a garden trowel narrow enough to fit in the gutter. You can also use a gutter scooper to do this step. It is recommended that you scoop out debris when they are damp. Soggy, dried, and encrusted debris are more difficult to scoop out than damp and pliable debris. Put the debris in a plastic bag to minimize more cleaning.

Blast your gutters with a hose. Once the major debris has been scooped out, you can then blast the gutter with a pressure hose with an on and off switch. Start washing out the drain from the highest point towards the downspouts. Expect this part of the process to be messy. Mud can potentially splatter all over your house, so hose down your gutters with care. If you see encrusted leaves, debris, or dirt on the gutter, you can remove this using a stiff scrub.

Clean your drain pipes. Drain pipes can be obstructed because of debris. If this happens, you can flush the obstruction with a pressure hose to free the drain. If this does not work, you can free the pipes using a plumber’s auger from the bottom of the drainpipes. If you don’t have the tool, you can push the obstruction from the top using a stick or a similar tool.

General Gutter Maintenance

It is essential that you clean your gutter in spring and autumn. Using a pressure hose and brush, dirt and debris that has fallen in the gutter can be cleaned. Flushing the gutter with water can also help dislodge whatever debris has fallen in downspouts and troughs.

It is also important that you adjust the slope of your gutter from time to time. This will help water to move towards the downspouts. When flushing or running water over your gutters, determine whether water is flowing normally or rather slowly. If water is not running as fast as it should be, it would be time to have the slope of your gutter adjusted.

A properly functioning gutter means having downspouts that can expel water very well. This may mean adding downspout extender to make sure water well away from your house. You can also install concrete blocks at the bottom of your drain pipes or installing a plastic block. This will make sure the soil erosion is prevented. This will also help lead the water away from your house for at least four feet.

Checking your gutters and downspouts for rust and flaking on a regular basis is also important. If the paint of your gutter is peeling or if it is leaking, then you should have it repainted and repaired. Also, make sure that your gutters are tightly attached to the facia board to keep them sturdy. Your facia boards should also be checked from time to time to make sure that they are in prime condition. Facia boards that are rotting should be replaced the soonest.