Maintaining your rain gutters
It's very easy to forget about the rain gutters on a house—that is, until something goes wrong with them. Gutters and downspouts perform an important function: directing water away from where it can cause damage.
Guttering is available in a variety of materials, sizes and types. The most common gutter material is aluminum, which is often painted to match the house color after gutter installation. Aluminum gutters are available in either a seamless design, which is installed by professionals who use special equipment to produce the seamless guttering as they install it, or in 10-foot sections, which are then joined together as needed to fit the house.
Vinyl gutters are becoming more popular, since they will not chip, dent, crush or rust. Many homeowners faced with gutter replacement are choosing vinyl gutters for ease of installation and maintenance. Galvanized metal and copper gutters are also available, although these materials are generally more expensive than aluminum or vinyl gutters.
Simple Gutter Repairs
The most common issue with gutters involves keeping them clean and free from leaves and roof debris. Products such as LeafGuard and Gutter Helmets can help to keep larger items out of the gutters. Remember to schedule periodic times, such as twice each year, to inspect your gutters for debris before it builds up to a state that can cause problems. Improperly functioning gutters can lead to flood damage in the basement, so this is not a chore you can afford to neglect.
Another common gutter problem is when part of a gutter becomes loose, most often due to the nails or the gutter hangers that support the gutters working themselves loose from the mounting on the fascia board. If the looseness is caused by nails, installing gutter hangers can solve this problem. However, if the looseness is due to the deterioration of the fascia board, then the repair process is a bit more involved. The guttering must first be removed, then the fascia board should be replaced, and finally, the guttering may be replaced.
Sometimes gutters leak around the joints where sections of gutter are joined together or where the downspouts are connected to the gutters. If this occurs, first check the connections and reconnect the components so they fit snugly. Then use a quality silicone caulking product on the connection to stop any future leaks.
Metal gutters are prone to developing punctures and small holes as they age. Holes can easily be patched with a piece of metal flashing cut larger than the hole size. Apply roofing cement to the hole, and then cover it with the metal flashing, bending it to fit the shape of the gutter. Secure the patch with rivets.