An Insiders Guide to Maintaining Gutters and Downspouts

After a long day at the office, plopping down on the living room sofa, propping your feet up, and tuning into your favorite prime time show is the best way to unwind. However, catching some much needed R&R will be virtually impossible if you suddenly catch sight of a water stain or leak coming from your walls. Gutters and downspouts prevent water from invading your home and destroying your property, and if they’re not properly maintained, you will wind up shelling out all those hard-earned dollars on costly repairs. In order to ensure everything is functioning properly, here’s some guidance on maintaining your gutters and downspouts.

Avoid Clogging & Harmful Debris

Clear your gutters out regularly by discarding any leaves, branches, or other debris that may have accumulated in your system. These unwanted inhabitants can easily clog your gutters and downspouts, leading to a much larger, costlier issue in the long run. Don’t neglect your gutters. When your gutters are clogged, you run the possibility of water seeping into your home. Always be sure to inspect any areas for unwanted pooling of rainwater and ice dams.

How Often Should I Clean?

It’s recommended that you clean your gutters at least twice a year, once after the fall and once at the end of spring.

The Cleaning Process

Now that we’ve covered why and when, let’s move on to how. Position your ladder securely against the side of your home and after safely climbing up, dig out any leaves or debris that are residing in your system. Have a bucket handy to discard any bits and pieces that you scoop out. Make sure to inspect the gutters afterwards to assure that everything is in a healthy, working condition.


How to Handle a Clogged Downspout

Pooling at the top of a downspout is usually sign of a clog located somewhere along the pipe and you’ll need to break this up immediately. Here’s the fun part – maneuver an auger or drain snake down the pipe to uncover the location of the clog. Using a bit of pressure, begin breaking up the clog. Once pesky debris are freed, allow fresh water to flow through your downspout and wash away the remaining, loosened debris. If water is not flowing freely or you notice pooling, simply repeat the process.

Dealing with Holes

Wear and tear is a natural part of homeownership. As your system ages, holes are likely to manifest due to the declining strength in the materials. Routinely inspecting the area for holes is the best way to avoid large-scale, expensive damage. Flush fresh water through the system in an effort to detect any breaches and have your spouse or friend help monitor the gutters for leaks that may occur during this process.

Tending to Smaller-Sized Holes

While corrosion and rust often develop in gutters and form pinholes, pinholes don’t pose a large threat unless you are not actively performing your routine roof maintenance. You can seal these holes quickly by applying roofing cement.

Plugging Larger-Sized Holes

What happens if a larger hole has developed? You will need a more durable material to seal the exposed area. Just like with the pinholes, you’ll have to scrub the area surrounding the hole with a stiff wire brush to prep the surface for sealing. Use a metal flashing that mirrors the material your gutters composed of.


Once you’ve measured the material, place it over the opening and apply a layer of roofing cement to securely anchor the metal flashing to the surface. Next, coat the outer edges of the metal flashing with cement before smoothing over the area to ensure it’s flush with the surface. Then it’s time to get creative. Create a cement ramp that travels over the patch and becomes level with the gutter on both ends. Taking these steps is vital to preventing unwanted damage to your home.

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