During a downpour, a clogged gutter can send substantial amounts of water down the side of your home, damaging the siding, foundation and landscaping. Thoroughly cleaning and inspecting your gutters every spring and fall will help to keep them in good working condition.
To clean gutters, climb a ladder and remove all the large leaves and debris that may be sitting in them. This can be done with a trowel or small shovel. Pay close attention to the area around the downspout. If there is clogging, it won’t drain properly, which can cause your gutters to sag.
The decomposed debris that you remove will make great mulch or compost for your garden. To remove finer materials, flush the gutter with a hose — starting at the opposite end of the downspout. If the water isn’t draining properly, recheck the downspout to be certain nothing is clogging it.
Most gutters are held onto homes by using a metal spike and ferrule. Check all the spikes that are meant to go through the gutter, the fascia board and into the rafter behind it. If the gutter spikes are in questionable condition, it’s a good idea to invest in new ones to ensure that the gutters are securely fastened.
Inspect gutters for holes and cracked caulking that could cause leaks. If the caulking needs to be replaced, use a chisel or metal scraper to remove the current caulking and then thoroughly dry the area. Replace with a new caulking sealant and follow the suggested drying directions.
Contributed by Ashley McKenzie-Sharpe
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