Most homeowners don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the eavestroughs on their home. In the absence of any obvious signs of trouble, you just rest assured that the gutters on your home are doing what you need them to do.
While gutters are designed to withstand the outdoor conditions, they do need a little maintenance from time to time. You need to clean your eavestroughs at least once a year, and you should also get them inspected to ensure that they are still in good shape.
Along with annual inspections and cleanings, your eavestroughs may also need some occasional repairs. In this post, we are going to look at some of the problems that can come with poorly maintained gutters and we are also going to cover some of the basics of eavestrough repair.
You want to keep the gutters on your house well maintained because they protect your home and property from water damage. If you allow the eavestroughs to get clogged or ignore the general maintenance, the gutter system won’t be able to channel water away from the home, and this can lead to some expensive damage.
If you are talking about clogged gutters, you could be exposing your roof to an increased potential for water damage. A large pile of leaves and debris can almost act like a dam in your gutters. As the eavestrough fills with water at the location of the blockage, it could spill over onto the roof. If the water has nowhere else to go, this could damage the shingles or the wood. Along with that, the water could also spill down the house and cause damage to the fascia, windows frames, siding and more.
Clogged and leaky gutters can also cause problems for your foundation. When water overflows the sides of your eavestroughs or there is a leak in the gutter, the water will not make it to the downspouts. Instead, it is going to fall right at the base of the home and pool up around the foundation. This water could find its way in to flood the basement and it could also lead to cracks in the foundation.
Before you start wondering how to replace your eavestrough you might want to see if there are simple fixes you can make first. With most gutter leaks, the problem is usually at one of the seams. With metal gutters, the seams tend to be an area where they can come loose and allow for a leak, and the seams also tend to be an area that is a little more prone to corrosion. If you have vinyl gutters, the different sections are usually joined by a gasket, and these gaskets can go bad after years of exposure to the elements.
To repair a joint on metal gutters, you want to clean the area of the leak and scrape away any old sealant as best you can. Once you have the joint cleaned and dry, you can apply a sealant like silicone caulk. To allow the sealant enough time to dry, you want to try to do this on a day when no rain is expected.
With vinyl gutters, it is most likely a bad gasket. To fix this leak, you will need to remove the section of gutter that is leaking and replace the gasket. You might be able to find a new gasket at your local hardware store. If not, you might need to contact the manufacturer of the gutters or talk to an eavestrough repair service.
Small pinhole leaks are another problem that you may need to address. To fix small leaks, you want to clean the area around the hole and then apply some silicone caulk as a sealant. If the hole is too large to seal, then you may need to consider replacing the entire section of the gutter.
Sagging gutters can be another common problem. When a section of the gutter starts to sag, it can cause water to overflow the eavestroughs and it can also disrupt the proper flow of the water to the downspouts.
In the simplest cases, it will just be something like a loose nail or a loose screw. If that is the case, all you need to do is tighten the screw or bang the nail back into place. You may also want to look at the brackets or fasteners that hold the eavestroughs. If they have suffered any type of damage, then they will need to be replaced.
If the brackets have come loose and they cannot be replaced in the same location, then you will need to refasten them in another spot. If you need to relocate any of the mounting hardware, you have to make sure that the gutters are properly angled toward the downspout. There should be a slight incline in the gutters as they go away from the downspout.
The average gutter system is going to last for about twenty years, but there are a lot of factors that can affect how long a specific gutter system will last. You have different materials that offer varying degrees of durability, you have the impact of the climate in which you live, and there is the consideration of how well the gutters are maintained by the homeowner.
For materials like aluminum and galvanized steel, you should expect to get about twenty years out of the gutters before you need to consider replacement. If you want the longest lasting material, copper gutters are probably the best option. A set of copper gutters would offer an average life of about fifty years.
Vinyl gutters are starting to become more popular because they are inexpensive and easy to install. The only problem is that they offer a shorter life. Twenty years is about as much as you can expect from a set of vinyl gutters, but there is a good chance that they will not even last that long. Vinyl also does not do well in colder climates. When exposed to cold temperatures, the vinyl becomes brittle and they are much more likely to crack or break under these conditions.
By performing a little maintenance on your eavestroughs, you can extend the life of the components and protect your home. Avoiding the need to replace your eavestrough is a good way to save some money too. To ensure that you always stay on top of gutter repair and avoid any unnecessary problems, you should perform an annual inspection and get your eavestroughs cleaned at least once a year.