Gutters do more than keep rain water and snow melt from dripping water down on your head. They also help route drain water away from your home, so it doesn't collect near the foundation and cause leaks or flooding. Making sure that your gutters work properly is key. The following tips can help you avoid leaky gutters.
Tip #1: Choose seamless gutters
When having new gutters installed, opt for the seamless variety. These are made from a single sheet of metal bent to shape and cut to length, as opposed to pre-formed guttering that comes in pre-set lengths. There will still be seams at corners where the gutters connect to downspouts, but there won't be any seams otherwise along the length of the guttering.
Tip #2: Keep them clean
Gutters should be cleaned in spring and fall at a minimum. If you have a lot of trees overhanging your house and dropping leaves or twigs, you may need to clean them more often. Make sure all debris is scooped out of the gutters and that any blockages are washed out of the downspouts. Water should flow freely through gutters and spouts after a cleaning.
Tip #3: Check for leaks
After cleaning, a quick leak inspection is a good idea. Use the garden hose to send water down the gutters so you check for leaks. On seamless gutters, leaks are most likely to occur at the junction with a downspout. You can fix a leak by sealing the area with silicone caulk. Just make sure the gutter is dry during the application and drying time.
Tip #4: Adjust as needed
Guttering needs to be positioned so that the roof eaves overhang into the gutter. Gutters set too far from the roof line allow water to run between them and the siding, which can lead to damage to the eaves, fascia, and siding from excess water exposure. On the other hand, water can completely overshoot the gutter if it is set too closely to the wall, which renders the guttering as useless. Gutters also need to slant downward towards the downspouts so water flows smoothly and doesn't overflow from the gutters during a heavy rainstorm. There are clips that attach the gutter to the home, which you can adjust to ensure the guttering is positioned and slanted correctly for best drainage.
For more help with installing or maintaining your gutters, contact a gutter contractor in your area.