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Monroe Home Inspector Finds Gutter Trouble

September 16th, 2009 · No Comments

Preston Sandlin of Home Inspection Carolina was recently doing a home inspection in Monroe NC near Charlotte when hw noticed some trouble with the gutter system There are several causes of overflowing gutters. In could be that they are clogged, rusted or leaking at the seams. They might also be loose or sloped the incorrect direction. To find out for sure what the problem might be you need to climb up on a ladder to inspect your gutters.

Overflowing gutters can cause problems worse than just stained siding. The repeated flow of water from overflowing gutters can cause wood siding to rot. A more serious problem can be caused when gutters overflow and water backs up under roofing shingles and flows down inside the wall cavity. Moist conditions like these can also increase the likelihood of termite infestation.

Every homeowner should clean and inspect his or her gutters twice a year: once in late fall and once in the spring. If you cannot do it yourself and cannot afford two cleanings per year, clean your gutters once after the last of the leaves have fallen in late fall. Don’t wait until spring because seeds will have sprouted in the leaves and other organic matter that accumulates in your gutters, which makes them much more difficult to clean.

If you have a single-story house, first use a gutter-cleaning attachment for a leaf blower/vacuum or a wet/dry vacuum. These attachments have a long tube with a U-shaped bend on the end designed to reach into gutters. The ideal time to clean gutters is after a long, dry spell so the debris in the gutters will be dry and more easily sucked into the tube.

Next, climb up on a ladder near the downspout end.
Always have a helper steady the ladder. Move the ladder often and don’t try to reach too far because it is easy to lose your balance.

Wearing gloves to protect your hands from sharp metal or protruding screws clean out the downspout opening and stuff a rag in the opening so debris will not fall into it. A garden trowel works well for scooping out debris.

After you have the gutters cleaned out, remove the rag from the downspout opening. Move the ladder to the other end of the gutter. Flush the gutter with water from a garden hose and observe the flow of the water. It should flow toward the downspout and there should be very little standing water when you turn off the water. Also, check for leaks from beneath the gutters.

If you notice leaky spots, hopefully they are at the seams. You can repair leaking seams with caulk and probably get many more years of service before the gutters need to be replaced. If the leaks are from a non-seam section, the gutters likely need to be replaced.

When water is left standing in the gutter, this means the slope of the gutter is incorrect or it is sagging. Changing the slope is a major job you might not want to tackle yourself. If there is a just a sagging spot, several of the mounting nails have pulled out.

Don’t just drive the nails back into the holes. They may feel tight, but they will pull out during the next rain. Go to your home center and get some long gutter screws made for this purpose. They screw into the old mounting holes and support the gutter.

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Tags: Home Improvement · Home Maintenance · House Cleaning · Maintenance · Termites

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