The gutter and downspout system are responsible for receiving rainwater shed from the roof and bringing it away from the house where it can do serious damage. Most gutters are constructed out of aluminum or galvanized steel and are usually painted over to match the rest of the house exterior.
If rains regularly occur in your area, you’ll need to maintain a schedule of inspection and preventive maintenance to ensure your gutter system stays in good working order. If rain is seasonal, perform due inspection a good month before the expected weather changes take place.
The first order of business is always to check for accumulated debris such as dirt, mud, leaves and other fragments that frequently stream along with water from the roof. Scoop out large concentrations of debris and hose down any remaining fragments with free-running water turned up at full-force. Adding mesh screens on top of gutters should help keep out larger debris from finding its way back there in the future.
The slope of the gutter must be sufficient to allow unimpeded flow of water. If it’s not, reposition it for proper drainage. Lastly, check for weak spots in the system including punctures, leaks, loose joints and rusted edges. Running water from the roof down to the gutter and pipes should aptly demonstrate any apparent damage.
Immediately fix up any problems that you notice. The sooner you handle problems, the less of an issue it’s going to be down the line. Make sure to clean up the damaged sections thoroughly before proceeding to perform any repairs.
For rusted areas, sand down the affected metal surface. After cleaning up the corrosion, applying rust-resistant asphalt aluminum paint should prove sufficient to protect the gutter from later damage.
For leaky joints, applying a water-proof sealant or caulking right on the intersection should stop leaking. To prevent it from happening again, apply it both on the inside and outside sections of the gutter. For small punctures, roofing cement should sufficiently cover up any holes. For larger tears, apply a first coat of roofing cement and a sufficiently-sized metal sheet to cover the hole on top of it. Afterwards, a second coat of cement should hold the setup tightly in place.
After performing warranted repairs and letting it dry, always check to see if everything works fine and nothing was missed. If you hose it down and the system works as it should then you can go back inside and feel confident that even though rain may come, your house (and especially your gutter) is ready for it.