Rain gutters are an essential part of your home. They channel rainwater away from the house – preventing soil erosion and damage to your landscape and foundation.
But homeowners often replace worn, damaged gutters with new ones, only to neglect the routine maintenance they require, and end up with more damaged gutters.
What are the benefits of clean gutters?
- A lack of maintenance will lead to damage, which would require gutter repair or replacement. Properly maintained, gutters should last 20 years, if not more.
- Clogged gutters can cause problems with water damage, by allowing water through the foundation level, window wells, or roof line. This can then lead to mold.
- Clean gutters can help prevent landscaping erosion and cracks in your home’s foundation.
- Gutters filled with debris fill faster with water and ice and weighted down can collapse. Gutters can also overflow with ice and snow, leading to ice damming. This can lead to water being trapped on the roof, forced under shingles and up the roof line.
Angie’s List, the nation’s premier provider of consumer reviews, asked highly rated gutter cleaning companies for the inside scoop on proper maintenance and how to extend the life of your gutters.
- Twice a year: Gutters and downspouts should be inspected and cleaned at least twice a year – once in the spring and again in the fall after the leaves have stopped falling. Homes in heavily wooded areas may need a cleaning three or four times a year. Expect to pay about $100 or more per cleaning, depending on the size of your home.
- What you should look for: Regularly walk around your home and look for leaking or sagging gutters, loose or damaged fasteners, and streaking in front or back of the gutter.
- Check gutter screens/guards: Gutter protection systems can help keep debris from settling in the gutter – allowing water that does collect to flow freely through the downspouts. But that doesn’t mean these products are maintenance-free. Check regularly that these are not damaged or clogged with leaves.
- Time to replace? If you notice your gutters pulling away from the fascia board (the board that holds the gutter) or your gutters to continue to overflow after having already been cleaned, it could be time to replace them. The cost to replace aluminum gutters is between $4 and $7 per foot.
- Don’t forget gutter miter seams: Be sure gutter miter seams, the corner seam where gutters bend, are caulked properly. Miter seams not caulked can eventually lead to the gutter board or soffits rotting out. Pay special attention to drips from seams occurring over walkways, or leaks that may be causing harm to the adjoining wood fascia. These should be repaired.
Angie’s List hiring tips:
- Licensed & insured: Working on gutters requires the use of a ladder, which can be dangerous. When hiring a professional, check that the company is licensed and insured – ask to see their policy – do they have worker’s compensation protection for employees? Check that YOU have enough homeowners insurance.
- Be informed: If you have to replace your gutters, there are many types available today (aluminum, vinyl, copper, stainless steel) so be sure you learn about the pros and cons of each.
- Read the fine print: When purchasing new gutters, be sure to read all the details before signing a contract. Check the warranty – look for a warranty that runs at least 20 years.