The main purpose of the roof gutter is to route the stormwater from the flat surface of the roof to the downspouts and a designated drainage area. That way, it prevents the rain water from the roof from flooding all over the place. The guttering will help protect various roof substructures and other parts of the house from rainwater damage. These include parts such as the siding, fascia boards, doors and windows. They also protect the house foundation from getting flooded with rainwater.
Despite their importance, not many of us pay close attention to the roof gutters and this can end up compromising the integrity of the roofing and possibly damaging other parts of the house. It is always important to ensure that the gutters are well cleaned and well maintained at all times. Here are some guidelines to follow when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your roof gutters:-
Removing Leaves and Debris
Stormwater generally deposits leaves and other debris on the roof gutter troughs. With time, these will rot away and clog the gutter system preventing them from efficiently routing the rainwater from the flat roof surfaces onto a designated area.
Make sure you inspect the roof gutters on a regular basis and clear off any leaf and debris deposits that might inhibit the free flow of rainwater. If there are a lot of trees in the area and your gutters are generally clogged on a regular basis with leaves and other debris, you can install a gutter filter system that will keep off the debris off the guttering while allowing the stormwater to run freely into the gutter system. This will also save on the energy and time required to clean the gutter on a frequent basis.
Some of the areas you should mark out for regular cleaning are the downspouts along with the various connection points in the guttering. A lot of debris will likely be stuck in these areas leading to blockage. Just wear gloves and scoop up the debris with your hands. Do not use bare hands. They may have rotten over time and may be slimy and smelly.
Alternatively, you can clear these off using a small scooper to get rid of the leaves, needles, debris and other residues blocking the guttering.
Once you are done with the cleaning, test how successful the cleaning process has been by running water through the guttering using a hose. If water flows easily and comes through the other end with the remnants of the residues, then the gutters will have been cleaned successfully. You should also inspect the guttering when doing the cleaning process. Check the connection points between the gutters and the roof for any signs of damaged or warped shingles that might need prompt attention.
Clogged or blocked gutters don’t just prevent the smooth flow of water. They can also create other secondary problems that might affect the integrity of your roofs. The organic matter deposited in the guttering may with time affect the roofing system leading to rotting and further disintegration. By ensuring your gutters are clean at all times, you will also help ensure that the overall integrity of the roofing is maintained. If you notice any warping or damages in your guttering or roofing, make sure you contact a professional roofing restoration expert in Melbourne as quickly as possible for prompt attention.
The Placement of the Downspouts
The downspouts of your guttering must be properly placed and properly directed to the right place. You can go about this in various ways. For example, the downspouts can be directed into the ground far away from the housing structure.
Some homeowners simply let them empty out their contents into the driveway or into the ground next to the house. However, this is not recommended as the water might seep into the foundation of the house thereby damaging it. If your downspouts will be emptying out their contents into an open area, make sure the deposit area is at least five feet from the main house.
Inspect the Rivets on the Downspouts
Make sure you inspect the rivets on the downspouts during your roofing inspection exercise. Over time, these tend to loosen and will drop off thereby compromising your guttering. Check them from time to time and make sure they are secure. You can make use of a riveting gun to secure them in place.
Check and Seal the Sources of Leaks
The roof gutters may not be entirely damaged or clogged but they may have cracks in the caulking and holes that will cause leakage. These leaks eventually find their way to the fascia boards, soffits, bargeboards and other underlying surfaces thereby damaging them. You can do a visual inspection or pass a hose of water in the trough in order to locate the holes and cracks. Chisel out the old caulking and apply a new sealing in the area to stop the leaks.
Check for any signs of rusting
Modern gutters use aluminium and vinyl but if yours is still made from steel or iron, they may begin to pick up rust after some time. The rust will eventually perforate the metallic troughs leading to leaks. If yours are showing signs of serious rust, you may replace them with rust proof gutters. However, if you still plan to keep them, consider scraping off the rust and painting them using a primer. You can also apply a high-quality rust-inhibiting paint.
Use a Splash Block
Just in case you are not terminating the downspouts far away from the house, consider putting up a splash block at the point where the downspouts terminate. This will prevent the water from digging a depression in the area which can lead to the formation of unhealthy water pools. It also helps in directing the water away from the foundation of the house.
Carrying Out Gutter Maintenance
Due to its exposure to storms and other elements, gutters require regular maintenance to keep them in the best shape. You can simplify matters by installing mesh or guard system to filter out the needles, leaves and other debris.
You can also trim off overhanging branches that shed the leaves onto the guttering when it is raining. When these block the downspouts, they trap water in the trough of the guttering and this is what will begin spilling off the edges of the troughs into the roofing edges and other structures thereby damaging them.
Remember that gutter cleaning and maintenance is a potentially dangerous job. You may slip up and break a leg or back so try as much as possible to hire a gutter cleaning and maintenance specialist to do the job. Professionals generally have good training in ladder safety and they carry with them a host of other safety and protective equipment so they can carry out the job fairly safely.