Maintaining the gutters might seem like a thankless, never-ending chore. But to keep water flowing smoothly from the roof to the ground, the gutter system must be in tip-top shape. Using a seasonal approach will allow you to create a home maintenance schedule that will help you protect your gutters year-round.
Gutter Maintenance in Spring
At the beginning of spring and the end of winter, clean the outside of the gutters with a wet sponge or cloth and mild soap. This will remove exterior grime collected through the winter months. When you do clean the gutters later in the season, this will make the gutter system more approachable.
To be the most effective, cleaning the inside of the gutters should take place mid-season when pollen, various types of blossoms, and plant seeds have finished floating through the air. At the same time as the first gutter cleaning of the year, inspect the system for any damage that requires repair.
Examine fascia for rot, cracks, or splitting. Replace worn fascia boards with a composite product to avoid wood rot in the future. Check to make sure gutters are not sagging – nails, spikes, or any other kind of fastener should be flush with the surface of the fascia (not pulling away).
Gutter Maintenance in Summer
In the summer months:
- clean the roof to reduce the amount of debris entering the system in time for the fall gutter cleaning
- check that the gutter slope doesn’t need adjusting
- check the downspouts for clogs; ensure downspout extenders are positioned correctly
Gutter Maintenance in Autumn
Trim trees growing near the roof and gutters.
It might seem like overkill to clean the gutters again in the fall, but don’t underestimate the potential harm two seasons worth of collected debris can do. Especially if you have both deciduous and coniferous trees growing on your property, thoroughly cleaning the gutters close to the end of autumn will help ensure needles, leaves, and twigs are removed from the gutter trough.
Late fall/beginning of winter, prep the gutters for the winter months ahead, including checking for rust spots, pinholes, and separated seams. Separate seams need immediate attention, if not by you, then by a gutter contractor. The thing about leaks is that water travels; mostly to places it can cause serious problems.
Gutter Maintenance in Winter
Winter winds and storms can take a toll on a gutter system. Homeowners in the Vancouver area might not have to deal with the amounts of snowfall other cities in Canada do, but temperatures still fall below freezing. Check the roof and gutters for ice dams.
Particularly after a storm, inspect the downspouts to see if they are still attached properly. Also check for clogs at the top of the downspout, in the middle by tapping the outside of the pipe, and at the bottom of the downpipe.
Put up and take down holiday lights carefully – use clips or hangers instead of nails.
Use binoculars to check the gutters along the roofline – sections should not be sagging, missing, or loose.