Tag Archives: clogged gutter

Gutter Brushes and Foams: The Verdict

We all wanted to save on a purchase as much as possible. What’s always kept in our mind is the money we can save at that moment. Our eyes glisten at things that come with a cheap price! It works every time. In terms of home maintenance, we are also mindful of things with good value. We are always on the lookout for the best deals.

In gutter guards, it’s a given fact that if one wants to have a reliable roof drainage – one has to invest on it. This involves the type of gutter guard, the installation fees (if done by a professional), the price and the maintenance costs. There has been cheaper alternatives though. A good example is the gutter brush and the gutter foam.

The gutter brush looks literally close to a bottle brush. It’s a long strip of brush bristles and specifically built to fit along the gutters. It’s designed to repel the gutter debris and only water goes through. The wind gradually blows the dried leaves and other debris off. It depends on the location though especially if heavy rains are frequent. They are cheap and very easy to install. On the other hand, due to bigger chances of debris getting stuck on the gutter brush – you must go up and clean it more than usual.

The gutter foam is also another cheap alternative for gutter guards. They’re simply foam but it’s chemically treated to resist mold and fungus. It prevents clogging as the foam fills up the space of the gutter. It’s slightly more pricey than the gutter brush but it’s still cheap. There are times however when the wet debris dries on the foam and forms a layer of muck. That is extremely hard to remove without ruining the foam so it results to replacement.

The verdict? These two types will work given the right conditions. However, if you’re just into getting cheaper purchases and not minding the other factors involved – you’re in for a big mistake. You can get better gutter guard types that will work best on any condition.

Downspout Maintenance

The downspouts are undoubtedly an integral part of the gutter system in anyone’s home. They redirect the water collected by gutters and prevent them from seeping through the soffits and fascia boards. Having a downspout working properly will save the house from being soaked and be weak at its very foundation. We all know that once the ground just below the house gets soaked, soil erosion starts and will slowly “bring the house down.” The downspouts that one needs depends on the amount of water that’s expected to be received by the gutter on a regular basis, and also the type that will work perfectly – metal or vinyl. Though it’s the gutters that usually get all the attention, your trusty downspouts deserve some loving too.

Whenever you’re doing some gutter cleaning, make some downspout maintenance too:

Fascia Boards. Always make sure that the fascia boards are securely attached to provide a sturdy base for your drainage system. Replace any damaged or rotten parts immediately to prevent further damage.

Downspout Sections. The connected parts of the downspout should always be securely attached. The tapered ends should be in good condition and as much as possible be fastened with screws. Anchor straps should be securely attached to the wall as well.

Debris. The downspout needs to be cleared of debris all the time. A plumber’s snake can get the job done, especially for the hard to reach parts. A pressurized hose is an excellent tool for flushing it out. The best time for cleaning is when autumn comes, as there will be a lot of leaves and twigs falling. Over time, these debris break down and form a layer of muck which can accumulate into a cause of clogging. Gutter guards will help a lot in minimizing these debris so don’t hesitate to look for the right type for your roof.

Elbows. These are attachments in downspouts which enable redirection of water. Always make sure that it’s attached properly to prevent leaks.

Water runoff. When water comes out of the downspout, splash blocks are a good addition to make sure that the water is directed away from the house. Downspout extenders also do the trick to make sure no water comes through the house foundation and cause soil erosion.

Gutter Critters

When thinking about the usual issues with gutters, most of the time it’s the debris that we can all think of. The hassle of cleaning up gutters (not unless the gutter covers are doing a great job) is one thing that most of the home owners hate the most when it comes to house maintenance. Bunch of leaves, seeds, twigs, small stones and lots of muck – who wouldn’t hate the cleaning part? However, there’s another culprit of the gutters and they can’t be simply removed by just picking them up and throwing it to the bin or the garbage bag – insects.

These critters may look harmless, but wait when they increase in numbers and give way to worse problems. Here are some of them, and the dangers they bring about.

Mosquitoes. When a gutter gets clogged up, a pool of water is formed. When a pool of water is formed, the mosquitoes will come and enjoy the moment. The blood suckers – the female mosquitoes – will waste no time in laying their eggs in the pool of water. The eggs hatch within a day or two, then turn into “wigglers”, turn into pupae after 7-10 days, then hatch as mosquitoes. What’s next? More mosquitoes lurking around your house, and even get inside. Malaria is one of the diseases that they bring, and is highly contagious. One bite from a carrier and that’s it.

Hornets, Wasps and Bees. Just because you haven’t seen one in a few days doesn’t mean you can relax now. These insects will build their hive on your gutters without you knowing, and when the cleanup time comes, you’re in for a surprise. Chances are you might find a hornet’s nest in one corner and when you accidentally disturb them, you’re in for a wild chase. For you, they’re the “gutter invaders,” but they’ll think that you’re invading their territory. How will they let you know that they’re disturbed? A nasty and painful sting. Not good, for real. A single sting of a wasp is extremely painful, and being stung while on a ladder is extremely dangerous.

Earthworms. Impossible? No. Earthworms amazingly find their way into reaching your lovely gutter system. There are instances where paid gutter cleaners would show to home owners a bucket of soil with big, beautiful worms amongst the debris. How did they end up there? Some speculations include: leaves and twigs falling to the roof might have eggs, a bird eating a worm passed by and the latter dropped the eggs, or most probably an earthworm crawled its way up through the downspout.

Roaches, Ants and Termites. Roaches are a big nuisance. Ants and Termites slowly eats up your fascia board, gutters, and finds their way to the ceiling and other house parts.

Others. Being exposed to moisture makes the gutter a breeding ground of fungus, mildew, moss and mold. Slowly growing these life forms crawl their way to the fascia board, the gutter and gradually the house walls causing paint damage.

In keeping these critters out, regular cleaning is a must. When seeing a hive or a nest on the gutter, seek help from a professional cleaner to see what can be done to have it removed. With insects, it’s also recommended to use an insect spray to have them killed immediately. Seek help for pest control services too for addtiontial help.

Do Gutter Covers Really Work?

Over the years, companies have been finding ways to keep a gutter system working well amidst the challenges of nature. Nature has this knack of being unpredictable – sudden rain, strong winds, normal up to heavy snowfall – the possibilities are endless. A house is not just to be considered as shelter, nor just a place of rest. It should be a fortress – a place that will keep you safe. So it’s imperative that every component of the house is in top condition no matter what.

A gutter system acts as a drainage system for your roof, so it collects water and redirects it to a spot where it protects the surroundings of your house from flooding and making it soaked. We all know what will happen if the gutter system isn’t well maintained: soaking up the ground surrounding the house weakens the foundation, a clogged gutter makes itself a dam (which can be a haven for insects such as mosquitoes), and having a pool of water on your gutter will make the liquid seep through your fascia then go inside the house. Repairs can be done, but expect to shell out a lot of money – house repairs ain’t cheap if the damage is severe.

Gutter covers have been used way, way back in the 1900’s. The purpose is simple – water in, debris out. The earliest form of gutter covers simply apply surface adhesion, in which the cover is a reverse curve in which the water flows towards the gutter and the debris stays out. Then one by one other designs emerged – the slits, wire mesh, brushes and even sponges. But the big question is this: do they really work?

A lot of tests have been done to test the performance of the varieties of covers that are currently sold in the market. All of them have particular flaws i.e. with a gutter brush, the debris stays on top of the latter but gradually builds up and clogs if not cleaned regularly. With the slit type covers, certain types of seeds get through the holes and eventually clog the gutter as well. Other types may keep the debris out for some time, but will gradually have other debris building up and can cause clogs and muck as well.

Actually, they all work. Depending on the surroundings of a house, a gutter type is almost perfect for it. As long as the home owner knows what kind of debris the gutter covers will be facing then it should be no problem when it comes to choosing on what type will perform well against these elements. The promise of some brands like “you’ll never clean your gutters again” is a cliché. That is impossible. A gutter cover will do whatever it takes to keep the debris out, but you must do your part as well. Regular checkups, regular cleanups, and even learning to do repairs yourself will help a lot not only in preventing problems but saving money as well.

Do gutter covers work? Yes, they do.

This is why you need a gutter system. (video)

Ever wondered how serious the effect can be if a house doesn’t have a gutter system? The video says it all.