It's a good idea to check your gutters a couple of times each year. Good times for this are at the end of autumn when leaves are finished falling from the trees, and in the spring before the rains begin. You'll want to clean the gutters and look for areas that need repair. This ensures your gutters continue to work as intended, so rain water is routed away from your roof and foundation. Here are some steps to keeping your gutters in good repair.
Clean Out Leaves
Pick a warm, dry day to work on your gutters. Dry leaves are a lot easier to dig out of the gutter system than wet ones that stick together. Scoop all the leaves out by hand, so you can examine the condition of your gutters. Once that's done, run water through the system with your garden hose. Running water helps clean away dirt and debris, but more importantly, it helps you find leaks.
Check For Leaks
With the water running through the gutters, walk around your house and look for areas where water drips through. Mark the spots, so you can repair them later. Also be sure to check the downspout for leaks. Vulnerable areas you want to check are along the seams and screw holes. When you've found the leaks, turn off the water and let your gutters dry out thoroughly before you begin the repairs. You can seal leaks along seams and small holes by coating them with waterproof silicon caulk you buy from a home improvement store.
Test The Slope
When you run water through the gutters to check for leaks, look for water that stands or drains slowly from certain sections of the gutter system. That indicates the slope needs to be adjusted, so water naturally drains toward the downspout. This requires that you remove a small section of the gutter from the hangers, readjust the pitch, attach new hangers, and then hang the gutter in the new position. If your gutters are in bad shape with a lot of sags and loose connections, this might be a difficult task. You may need to hire a contractor to do the repairs so your gutters drain properly again.
Tighten Loose Spikes And Rivets
When you look in your gutters, you'll see spikes placed evenly along your roof that hold the gutter in place. These spikes can work loose over time, and this causes your gutters to sag and leak. Gently pull on the spikes to test their strength. If a spike wobbles, see if you can tighten it by hammering it back into place. If that doesn't work, buy longer or wider nails or screws and drive them into the same hole to make the connection tighter. Do the same with other screws and rivets along your gutters and downspout.
Freshen With Paint
When you clean and repair your gutters, it's also a good time to touch up their surface with paint, so they stay looking fresh. Your gutters may rust, fade, or peel due to weather exposure, and that can be an eyesore. If your gutters are old, and you're tired of all the continual maintenance, talk to a contractor about installing a new system. You can buy seamless gutters today that require far less care than old-style gutters. They are less prone to leaking thanks to the way they are constructed. You'll still have to clean out the leaves at least once per year, but at least you won't have to worry about caulking leaks.