Avoid water damage
With winter officially being here, I thought I’d take a moment to encourage checking the gutters and downspouts operation on your home. Now that the leaves are just about done falling out of the trees for season, it would be a good time to clean the your gutters and downspouts. If your are able and have the equipment to do so great, get that checked off your “to-do” list soon, or contact a local contractor who handles that sort of thing. Many good reliable home repair contractors who advertise “small jobs welcome” will gladly fit this sort of thing into their schedules. I know I have and continue to do so, it’s a great way to stay in touch with clients and to meet new ones as well for when they’re ready for their next remodel project.
If you are capable and have the ladders to perform this maintenance safely, I’ve found those plastic “gutter getters” to work quite well. You can work your way down the gutter scooping out the leaves and dirt into a heavy duty plastic bag as you go. Even a pair of work gloves will do the trick to grab handfuls out and still protect yourself against possible cuts from sharp edges. Keep in mind when working from the roof and ladders that bags are a lot cheaper than getting injured, so only fill a bag to the point you are comfortable with handling the weight. I’ve seen those water wands for cleaning gutters and they’re alright, but really only for final rinsing the gutters clean after that bulk of the debris has been removed. And yes, it’s a good idea to rinse your gutters down after scooping out the debris. This allows the water to flow better than having a layer of dirt in the gutter, and insures that the downspouts are also flowing freely without blockage.
If you aren’t comfortable performing this maintenance, don’t have the ladders, or would just prefer to avoid that sort of thing……hire it out. Overflowing gutters are a definite source of water damage to your home. Again, there are licensed/insured contractors that shouldn’t charge too much for that sort of thing. Considering the use of ladders and often working from the roof, someone that’s familiar at this sort of thing is sure to take extra precautions for safety and not inadvertantly damaging your roof tiles/shingles. And if an accident should occur you won’t be on the hook with your homeowner’s insurance.
You or the contractor you choose should then also check the water diversion path of the downspouts. You want to be sure the water is being diverted away from the house’s foundation. There is a variety of materials and methods available, what is “best” will vary depending on your home’s layout, exterior grade differences, landscaping etc. Don’t just assume that if you have poured concrete around the home that you don’t need to divert the waterflow, if the concrete doesn’t slope away from the house it could easily funnel all that water directly back to the house. This could lead to soil erosion/structural issues or other problems from the water condensating into the substructure or seeping up through concrete slabs.