If you have gutters on your home to help direct water away from your roof and foundation, you will want to take steps to prepare them for cooler weather. During the winter, snow and ice buildup can occur, making gutters vulnerable to breakage if they are not maintained properly. Taking the steps to remove debris and make repairs to cracked portions before winter weather hits can help save your home from unnecessary damage. Here are some steps to take in preparing your gutters to do their job during the winter.
Do A Complete Clean Out
During the fall, leaves will clog up gutters, often in large quantities. If these are not removed before inclement weather hits, snow and ice will have an ample base already in place inside the gutters to adhere to. This in turn will make melting much slower, possibly causing your shingles to become saturated with water in the process. This can lead to leaking when thawing occurs. To help keep snow and ice buildup minimal, any debris in place needs to be eliminated.
Get up on a ladder, don a pair of heavy-duty gloves, and scoop all material out of your gutters. Place it in a bucket and dump it out in a compost pile or a wooded area. After the removing solid pieces, bring a garden hose up to the gutter and allow water to run through to clean the gutter and to locate any leaking spots. Check your downspout to make sure it is not clogged with debris as well.
Make Some Repairs
If your gutter system has portions with cracks or small holes that are allowing water to seep out, they should be filled in completely so snow and ice will not cause problems to your home's foundation when weather warms up. Use caulk along tiny cracks to seal them from leakage. If there are larger rips in the gutter, apply a piece of flashing over the area using caulk to adhere it in place. You also have the option of installing new portions of gutter if the damage seems extensive.
If the gutters are pulling away from your home, they will not be doing a good job in collecting run-off from your rooftop. Add a few extra gutter brackets to secure the gutter firmly against the side of your home. If the gutter seems warped or is drooping in spots, these pieces should be replaced before winter arrives.
Talk to a gutter installation specialist for more information.