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Gutter Covers

Cleaning Your Gutters Could Avoid Major Home Repairs
by Tom Kraeutler

If you think a few leaves and twigs in your gutter are harmless, think again. Clean gutters are the single most important key to avoiding major and expensive home repairs.Gutters perform one duty; controlling the water around your home. If debris keeps them from doing their job, then you can wind up with some serious problems.

 Leaking Basements -- Clogged gutters are the number one cause of basement water problems. Roof water overflows and accumulates around the foundation. If this happens, basement leaks may be moments away.

Cracked Foundations -- Excess water against the foundation wall can weaken the footing and lead to cracks. This is particularly true in colder months when built-up water at the foundation freezes and causes a condition known as "frost-heave" which can cause severe cracks to foundation walls.

 Rotten Wood -- Water backing up from clogged gutters will cause moisture damage to the wood fascia around the house. The Rotted area will get worse quickly if the leak is not eliminated by cleaning the gutters. FYI, fascia repairs are expensive! Gutter cleaning is not... 

Leaking Roofs -- In winter, ice-dams can form up on top of clogged gutters. Then snow builds up across the top of the gutter and freezes. During the next thaw, water running off the roof is blocked by the frozen snow and backs up into the house. This can lead to major wall and ceiling damage.

Slippery Sidewalks -- Overflowing gutters can deposit water on sidewalks and driveways where it can freeze and cause a slipping hazard. Avoid this problem by keeping gutters clean and the spouts extended away from any traffic areas.

Sagging Driveways -- Misdirected and clogged gutter spouts often cause driveways and walks to sag and crack.

 Washed-out Landscaping -- Any newly installed plants, grass or trees can be killed by excess water. Overflowing gutters can cause severe erosion and put an early end to young plantings.

 Wood Destroying Insects -- Bugs love moisture. Keeping the soil dry around the foundation perimeter can force bugs to go elsewhere for a tasty snack of dampened two-by-fours.

 If you think your gutters need a good tune-up, here are some important steps to follow:

 Safety First -- If you are not comfortable with heights or don't use tall ladders regularly, this is not a job for you. If you decide to do the job yourself, watch out for hidden hazards like electric lines, slippery roofs and bees' nests.

 Clear Gutters -- Using a ladder, work gloves and a hose, clear the gutters beginning at one end and moving to the other. Always work from the ladder and not from the roof, where you could fall off. If you find any loose gutter sections, tighten them up as you go along. It may help to have a supply of long lag bolts to use when replacing loose or missing gutter spikes. Lag bolts won't pull out like spikes, so you usually don't have to do this more than once.

 Spray Spouts -- When you get to the end of the gutter where the spout is, spray the hose downward and use the end of the hose like a plunger if necessary to break the clog loose. If the spout is clogged, water will back up and cause problems. Clearing clogged spouts can be a chore. Try removing the debris from both ends and flushing out the rest with a hose. If this doesn't work you may need to take the spout apart to clear it. Once the spouts are clear, make sure the discharge end is extended at least 4 to 6 feet away from the house to avoid problems.

 Installing Gutter Guards -- Once the gutter system is cleaned and properly adjusted, consider installing gutter guards to avoid a repeat performance in the future. There are many types of guards available. Results can be varied. Screens can be effective in the short run, but eventually allow debris to get through. Clogs will recur and can be harder to clear since the screens will need to be removed first. There are a number of leaf blocking guards available. They look like a metal louver that is installed above the gutter. The louvers allow water to leak into the gutter while washing leaves over the side. While highly effective, these often cost three times as much as the gutter system itself.

The best solution we have ever seen to the problem of clogged gutters is a new plastic device called "The Waterfall Gutter Guard System". It is manufactured by one of the country's oldest producers of vinyl siding. The system consists of a simple louvered plastic guard installed across the top of the gutter and under the edge of the roof system.

Installation can be completed by Robs Jobs in a day and the cost is very affordable when compared to metal systems.

 Please add me to your automatic gutter cleaning list!

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