Gutters are usually made of metal and run below and along the edge of your roof. Gutters and downspouts help divert water away from your home, thus preventing premature rotting or damage to the roof, walls, and foundation caused by water. Make sure that gutters are attached securely to the roof and walls. If they are not properly attached, damage to your siding, interior walls or foundation can result. Gutters and downspouts must be cleaned frequently, particularly in the fall if you have large trees close to your home.

Clogged gutters can result in damp walls or foundation, or cause ice dams during the winter.

Checklist for Gutters:

DEBRIS. Mud and rotting leaves not only clog up gutters and downspouts, but they also hold moisture that causes rust, rot, and corrosion. Hose your gutters clean. Begin at the high end of each gutter or in the middle of gutters if they have down-spouts at both ends. Sometimes you can blast out a spout blockage with hose pressure. If not, break up the jam with a broom handle or a plumber’s snake.

RUST/CORROSION. Inspect the inside of your gutters after cleaning them. If you see any rust, make sure to get all of it off of the metal. Afterward,  apply a thin coat of roofing cement. Small holes can be fixed by pressing a thin sheet of metal into roofing cement. Plastic roofing cement is available at your local hardware or building supply store.

SLOPE. All gutters must slope slightly toward their downspouts. Run water through the gutter to determine if the gutters are properly sloped for effective water drainage. Many problems are caused by standing water due to flat or sagging gutters.

RUN-OFF EXTENSIONS. Make sure downspout extensions are directing water away from the founda¬tion. Runoff extensions should extend at least four feet away from your house. Also, make sure that water is not eroding sections of your yard.

NOTE: If your roof or gutters fail to pass any component of this check-up, check with your local library “houses – maintenance and repair” section for repair information and call a professional.