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Help With Gutter Repair
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement

Gutters play an important role in protecting your homes foundation by carrying away excess rain water. Unfortunately, they usually get taken advantage of and homeowners fail to keep up with regular maintenance, ending in more expensive and daunting repairs. The steps to keeping your gutter system in top shape are fairly simple and can be handled in a short amount of time.

There are four basic types of gutter systems available aluminum, galvanized steel, vinyl and sometimes wood gutters. A gutter system consists of two main components. First you have a series of shallow channels installed along the eaves of a house to catch and carry off rainwater. The second component of a gutter system contains the downspout. The downspout is the pipe or duct used to carry rainwater from the shallow channels (gutters) to the ground. It is sometimes referred to as a leader. It is the vertical portion of the gutter system that carries water away from the house, stopping water from causing basement leaks.

In order to function properly, a gutter system needs to have a clear smooth path for water to run through the channels and down the downspout. As different weather hits your home and outside elements build themselves up, debris begins to collect with in the channels. It is important for homeowners to regularly clean this debris out and maintain a clear pathway for water to run freely. Also, gutters are susceptible to forming leaks. It is crucial that you find and fix any leaks before they expend.

Tips on how to clean a gutter system:

To clean gutters you want to start at the edge of the roof, farthest from the downspout, and remove debris in leaf guards, in open gutters, and in leaf strainers. Dirt and grit can be removed off the gutter by using a hose with a power nozzle. Be sure to brush debris toward the downspout with a whisk broom. Sometimes sticky material will adhere to the gutter. You can use a small putty knife to dislodge it.

To clean the downspout you will want to wear rubber gloves and reach down the drop outlet to pull out as much debris as possible. To flush debris through the elbow and out the bottom of the downspout, it is best to aim a hose into the drop outlet. If debris gets clogged and refuses to wash out nicely then use an auger to clear it out.

When fixing a leak, start off by using coarse sandpaper or a wire brush to remove rust or debris and smooth the surface. Next, cut a piece of fiberglass mesh larger than the hole and use your putty knife to spread roofing cement to attach the patch to the inside of the gutter. Make sure to keep the patch as flat as possible so that water will run down your gutter properly. Lastly, spread additional roofing cement over the patch to securely fasten it to the gutter.

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