Category Archives: Gutter Maintenance

The How and Why of Summer Gutter Maintenance

Warm weather is here, and so are the summer projects! From falling leaves to spring rains, the gutter’s hard work is done — making summer the perfect time for proper maintenance. Gutters are an important component of a home; they help maintain the integrity of your foundation and should be cleaned twice a year to keep debris and other material from clogging the system, as well as preventing water from leaking into your home or building, which could cause extensive damage. Additionally, gutter maintenance eliminates standing water that creates an ideal breeding ground for insects like mosquitoes. This can help to reduce the spread of harmful diseases, such as West Nile, heartworm in your pets, and the recent increase in cases of Zika virus you have been seeing on the news. Health officials are expecting mosquitoes in the U.S. to have Zika virus within the next month, so gutter maintenance is more important now than ever!

In addition to these benefits to your family’s health and home, with regular maintenance a gutter system can last 20 to 30 years. This month’s edition of ‘The Advantage’ brings you a great checklist of summer maintenance on your gutters to keep them holding strong and doing their job year after year.

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  1. Give your gutter system a thorough cleaning. Use gloves to remove debris like sticks, needles, leaves, and any other remnants. Remove any empty nests. Don’t forget to check for wasp nests as well; if found, call a pest control company for safe removal.
  2. Scoop out mud with a trowel if necessary.
  3. Clean with a brush and gentle abrasive or soap. As you scrub, watch for areas that seem especially troubled and go back to them when you’re looking at roofing drainage. Keep in mind that areas with a lot of mold, algae, or moss could signal a drainage problem.
  4. Once they’re cleaned, flush the entire system with a garden hose. This will help locate leaks, which we will discuss later.
  5. Use the hose to wash out your downspouts to make sure they’re not clogged. Note, downspouts aren’t meant to withstand the same water pressure as a house drain, so just run some water down; it’s not necessary to shoot water at it.
  6. While you’re up on the ladder cleaning, it’s a good idea to also check out your roof. Your gutter system and your roofing work together. Make sure that you fix any areas of poor repair, and watch for gutter problems that could be causing issues on your roof.

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After the gutters are cleaned, take the time for a good visual inspection to see if and where there are any obvious areas that need attention right away. Walk around your entire gutter system looking for loose or hanging fixtures, clogs or leaks. Move sagging areas upward with pliers. Make a note of rusty areas or holes, and ensure that you replace extremely damaged areas and fix gaps or leaks. If you question your inspection or see any major problem areas, call our service professionals to conduct an inspection. If the damage is extensive, replacement of the gutter system may be needed.

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The gutter should be sloped towards the downspout, about 1/8″ per foot to keep water flowing. If not sloped properly, water can collect in the gutter and eventually overflow into the structure. Overflowing water is generally the cause of basement leaks.

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Follow the flow of water out of the gutter to see where it goes. If you made any exterior improvements to your home or changes in landscaping, it may have shifted the drainage patterns that water from the gutter follows. You can mimic rainfall with a garden hose and check to ensure that the water is flowing completely away from the home’s foundation and is not creating puddles in areas around the yard that may create mulch washout or breed insects, especially mosquitoes.

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Run a bit of water through the gutter to find smaller leaks. If you find a leak, you can either call in a gutter professional or fix it yourself with a patch of metal flashing adhered with roofing cement, or by applying gutter or silicone caulking around a clean, dry piece of gutter. If your gutter is sagging, it could be on the threshold of collapsing. The gutter sags from the weight of debris or from not being installed properly. A broken spike or hanger may also be the cause; installing new hardware can repair these components.

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Gutter guards close off the ends of the gutter and have a screen over the top, making it difficult for animals, insects, leaves, and other unwanted pests to get in. They can be installed by a professional and will prevent clogging and other related issues. Depending on your surroundings, gutter guards can also make routine cleaning easier by eliminating excess leaves, sticks, and animal nests that often find their way into your uncovered gutter.

Summer generally sees less precipitation than other parts of the year, making it the ideal time to work on long-term gutter maintenance. If you’re thinking of installing new guttering or downspouts, now is the perfect time to do so. Give us a call and we will be happy to come out and give both our professional assessment and an estimate for seamless gutter.

Why Go Seamless

Welcome back to The Advantage! Last blog we had our minds on gutters, discussing how proper care and maintenance extends the life of not only gutters, but also the building they protect. We’re back today asking, “How do you know when it’s time to upgrade your gutters, and what are the most efficient options on the market available?”

Let’s start with when it is time to replace your old or worn-out gutters. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if any red flags are present indicating that gutter replacement is imminent:

  • Does the exterior of your home or commercial building have mold or peeling paint?
  • Are your gutters sagging or pulling away from your structure due to improper pitching (sloping)?
  • Is there standing water around your building attracting insects or mold?
  • Does the foundation of your home or commercial building have cracks or water in the basement?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, the next step is calling your gutter expert to assess and help you create a plan to best address and correct the problem.

When it comes time to replace your gutters, seamless gutters are the most efficient option available today. The seamless structure eliminates leaks in the gutter system and lessens the opportunity for debris buildup to occur. Conventional sectional gutter systems are made of many sections pieced together by snap-in-place connectors which over time can form leaks at the seams and likely cause wood rot behind the gutter. Where the seams meet on traditional systems is also where many of the blockage problems can originate. This means going seamless will result in less maintenance to the home or commercial building owner as well.

RaincarrierHouseAlthough there are many advantages to choosing seamless over traditional gutter systems, here are the top reasons from our perspective:

  • Custom measurements for exact fitting
  • Baked-on enamel finish never needs painting
  • Protects the value of your home
  • Eliminates unsightly seams
  • Greatly reduces the possibility of leaks
  • Many colors, materials, and styles to choose from
  • Preserves the architectural details of your home or building
  • Less maintenance

Seamless gutters not only have the potential to extend the life of your roof, but also protect your home or commercial building’s value. For more information about seamless gutters or to get an estimate, contact us – our services are always backed by our satisfaction guarantee, the Vilandre Advantage!

Importance of Proper Gutter Maintenance

Are your gutters ready to hold up to the harsh North Dakota season ahead? It’s the time of year when we start to think about winter prep, so this month we will be discussing the importance of proper gutter maintenance and some possible complications resulting from improper gutter care.

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When gutters become blocked, they fail to do their intended job of draining water away from the building. That means your home or commercial building may experience problems that ultimately lead to costly repairs. Below are examples of problems that may occur from lack of proper gutter care:

  • Flooding – When water drains into the foundation, it can result in water damage and/or flooding in your basement or crawl space.
  • Sagging – If water accumulates in gutters, it makes them extremely heavy, especially in North Dakota winter months that can cause the water to freeze. This puts unexpected weight on the fasteners, which will in time sag and can even collapse and fall from the building.
  • Mold – When water is not given time to evaporate, mold and mildew will grow. Once mold begins to grow, it has a tendency to spread and can be complicated to remove.
  • Wood rot – Water can accumulate on wooden parts of the structure, resulting in unsightly rotten wood which leads to structural damage that is both difficult and expensive to fix.
  • Water staining – Foliage, dirt, and muck blocking your gutters cause water to leak over the edge of the gutter rather than drain through downspouts, leaving dirty water marks trailing behind.
  • Pests – Insects thrive on moist environments, especially mosquitoes, ants, and termites. These bugs will not only hang out in the gutters, but also quickly find their way into the building, particularly if there is any structural damage allowing for ease of entry.

Avoid many of these costly or unwanted side effects of unkempt gutters by doing the following:

  • Clean gutters regularly – Beginning of spring and during fall is a good rule of thumb to follow. Be sure they are clear before snowfall to avoid damage.
  • Trim back trees – Eliminate overhanging branches to limit debris that may fall into your gutters.
  • Install gutter leaf protection – These protection tools stop debris from entering your gutters using stainless steel and micromesh to ensure nothing impedes your system.

Keeping your gutters working properly is imperative for the health and curb appeal of your home, but like most things in life, gutters won’t last forever. Cleaning and maintenance will extend their life, but they will eventually need to be replaced. The most popular ones on the market today are seamless gutters which provide a highly efficient, leak-free system for your building.

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Check back next blog for great tips about the benefits of seamless gutters and how to know when it may be time to replace your gutters. If you’re a home or business owner with gutters in need of an upgrade, be sure to have the specialists at Vilandre give you an estimate on our seamless gutter services.