Before buying or selling a home, you'll want to examine every aspect of a property to ensure it's in top-notch shape - including the gutters. An often overlooked component of a home, without these, rain water and debris could potentially ruin several aspects of a house.
Damage like this is easy to avoid, and gutter upkeep requires a little motivation. While cleaning is relatively easy, it can be dangerous, so take all available safety precautions before getting on a ladder. To ensure that gutters aren't a liability, have a home inspection done to find any obscure areas of concern.
Common gutter problems to avoid
Bad gutters could do a lot of damage, and ignoring such a critical home system can create an unnecessary headache. Keeping water away from a roof and foundation is critical, so don't let routine maintenance pile up.
Gutter that are working improperly can damage to roof and siding of a house. If they get clogged, rain water will find new areas to invade, instead of being quickly directed away from the home. Rot is possible if gutters aren't working, and the wood fascia, soffit or sheathing can be ruined, according to Ferris Home Improvements. Leaves and other debris will clog a gutter, so always try to clean frequently to keep everything in working order.
Where else can that water go if a gutter isn't doing its job? Rain will run into the basement, of course. Clogs aren't the only concern, and sometimes a gutter will come loose or break away from a home. If this happens, water can pool around the foundation, and then start to seep into the basement, the company noted.
Homeowners sometimes don't think about a problem caused from this - reduced grade due to erosion. Every house should be built with a slight grade to help keep water away from the structure, and too much water can wash away some of the soil. If this happens, it will only encourage more damage to a home.
In addition, a poorly assembled gutter system won't work well, and a property inspection will discover any bad connections or broken downspouts.
Proper gutter maintenance and safety
Robert Lenney is a cleaning professional, and he offered several tips for homeowners to stay safe and keep a successfully-working system, according to Gutterglove.
"At its best, gutter cleaning is a tedious and disgusting task," Lenney told the source. "At worst, it can be scary and downright dangerous. One slight misstep and you are heading to the hospital with a broken bone and bruised ego."
The easiest way to access a roof and gutter is to use a ladder, so safety is paramount. He recommends having a friend around in case of emergency, and to always use a secure and high-quality brand. Extension ladders are better for two-story homes, while four-legged variants are great for one-stories.
Additionally, use a common garden hose for clearing away debris. A heightened amount of pressure will only add risk, and no homeowner needs a power washer to blast away some leaves. In fact, remove the larger blockages by hand, before hosing out what is left.
Cleaning the gutters isn't the only step, Lenney noted. Anything left over on the roof will just be washed into the system in the next rain, so cleaning will be useless if this isn't removed first. Always be as safe as possible when up on top of a home, and never go it alone.
Moreover, take a look around for and leaks or damage to the gutters themselves, the DIY Network stated. Holes can compound problems, and a clear downspout won't funnel away rain if there is another place for it all to go. Also make sure the entire system is still attached, and over time a gutter can work itself off of the roof and rafters to which it is connected.