From Plat to Place
The Step By Step Home Construction Site
Step 68 - Gutter and Drainage
Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters are essential to proper drainage and the channeling of water away from your home's foundation. If left un-guided, water run-off can begin to eat away the dirt on the sides of your house, driveway and sidewalks after only a few days of rain. The gutters are hung on eves of the house where the water normally runs off of your roof and forms a channel to strategically placed down-spouts that will channel the water away. Periodically you must clean your gutter system as they will become a catch-all for leaves, dirt and other debris that lands on your roof.
Things We Learned Along The Way
Maintaining Gutters and Downspouts
A home needs a proper drainage system from its roof down to its basement since water can cause damage to a house if it is neglected. Water can seep through the house's foundation. This is the reason why houses have gutters and downspouts as well as proper plumbing and drainage systems. Gutters collect the flow of water from the roof edge, guides it through the downspout and into the drainage system. With this system, water from rain and the melting of the snow will be kept at bay and thus prevent damage to the house. Water can damage the house by eroding its foundation. It also has the power to slowly leak into the eaves and crevices of the roof exterior of the house thus promoting the growth of mildew and mold. That is the reason why houses and buildings have downspouts and gutters attached to the tips of their roofs. Water may also seep through the shingles into the interior of the house causing damage to it as well.
Maintaining gutters and downspouts are essential to prolong the life of your gutters and your house. Clean and have your gutters and downspouts repaired for any damage at least twice a year. The best time is before spring and after fall. This is necessary to prolong your gutter and downspouts usability, as well as help prevent flooding and clogging in the gutters and in the drainage system as well. Proper maintenance will also help you save money on repair costs in instances that there is damage to your property due to a damaged gutter and/or clogged downspouts.
Remove debris in the gutters such as leaves, bird nests, and twigs from trees. These are the primary causes that downspout and drainage systems clog up. Repair any damage in the gutter and downspouts after cleaning to prevent water spills from the damaged gutter or downspouts. One way to determine a damaged gutter and downspout is to watch your roof in a rainstorm. Follow the water from your roof to the gutters so that you may be able to see areas that need repair. These problems can be caused near the roof, the gutter or the downspout. It is likely that the gutter and downspout will have holes in it especially if rust has formed on areas where there are water pools in the gutter. Putting sealant in the holes, scraping the rust, and applying rustproof paint will prevent further rusting.
The pitch on the gutter may need to be adjusted to keep the water flowing into the downspout. Water pools in the gutter can cause the formation of rust which can cause damage to your house if untreated.
Check the elbows of the downspouts since most of the clogging happens on the elbows of the downspouts. A plumber's or electrician snake can be use to clear up the clogging elbow of the downspout.
Installing leaf strainers and leaf guards in the gutter can prevent the clogging of debris in the spout, especially at the elbow. Leaf strainers stop the leaves from falling in the downspout thus preventing future clogging.
Observe safety precautionary measures in cleaning your gutter and downspout to prevent accidents. You can hire a professional cleaner to do it for you, but if it is not part of your budget, you can do it yourself. A leaf blower can be used to clean the gutter or you can manually gather the leaves. Both procedures are effective in clearing the debris. Use gloves and safety glasses in doing this task. Your safety should be one of your priorities. In addition, if you are using a ladder make sure you have an extra pair of hands around to hold the ladder.