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Gutter Maintenance Guide

To avoid problems in the gutters and downspouts, homeowners should make a simple investment — invest one Saturday each Fall and another each Spring to gutter maintenance — spending time inspecting, cleaning, and repairing the gutters and downspouts, to avoid damage, such as roof rot and peeling paint.

When There Is a Problem

The purpose of gutters is to catch precipitation flowing off the roof and direct it to the downspouts, which disperse it away from the house.

Indicators that the gutters are not working properly include:

  • Water collecting near the foundation
  • Streaked house paint
  • Wet basements
  • Ridges in the ground

Gutter with leavesA quick inspection may turn up a simple blockage problem, such as leaves or a stray baseball lodged in the gutter. From there it is easy to remove the blockage and relieve the problem.

Maintenance & Inspection Ideas

Bi-annual gutter / downspout inspection and maintenance go a long way to preventing any serious problem. Each Spring and Fall, remove all leaves and visible debris from the gutter using a whiskbroom and a garden hose. If downspouts need cleaning, snake the hose down the spout and turn on the nozzle full blast. A plumber’s snake may also be used for this purpose. Use screen-type covers designed to fit over the opening of downspouts to catch the leaves at the opening so they do not cause blockage.

For galvanized gutters, paint surfaces as needed on the outside. Coat the insides with liquid asphalt roofing cement every three years. If using regular house paint on the outside of the gutter, prime the surface with a metal undercoat first. If the gutters are brand new, allow them to weather for six months before painting. Aluminum gutters do not need to be painted.