Gutter leak locations can point to problems
Keeping gutters clean can help prevent future leaks and damage. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Summer S.)
Clean gutters can help prevent problems such as roof leaks and ice damming. We talked to three Chicago gutter experts to get the inside scoop on proper maintenance and how to extend the life of your gutters.
When should I have my gutters cleaned?
Ivashchenko: Twice a year, if there's a lot of trees surrounding the home. Don't wait until things freeze up, because then it's too late.
Friedman: Twice a year: The beginning of rainy season in spring, and right before winter.
Lynch: A minimum of four times a year.
What are the benefits of clean gutters?
Ivashchenko: They can fill up with water, overflow and drain along your foundation, which can cause problems.
Friedman: The best thing for your roof is getting water off as quickly as possible. If gutters back up onto the roof, you get problems like leaks and ice damming.
Lynch: They keep water away from your foundation, and prevent cracking and water seeping into your basement.
What should I know when deciding to repair or replace my gutters?
Ivashchenko: You want new gutters run in one piece from corner to corner and double-sealed at the miters. If you just buy them in sections and put them up, those seams are going to end up leaking.
Friedman: Most of the time it's a workmanship issue with the original installation rather than a failure of the gutter. We can reseal the seams, but if the gutter isn't perfectly clean, it won't seal properly.
Lynch: Look out for leaking corners, endcaps, miters or downspouts. If you're leaking from an endcap or miter, you can reseal it, but that's usually indicative of a deeper problem.
How long should new gutters last?
Ivashchenko: They should last at least 25 years, if not more.
Friedman: Your average residential gutter is aluminum, and they're good for 15, 20, 30 years.
Lynch: As long as you keep it clean and in good shape, it should last the lifetime of your house.
How can I ensure the longest life for my gutters?
Ivashchenko: Clean them, check them regularly and make sure they're clean at the downspouts, because that's where clogging will start.
Friedman: I'd recommend a gutter guard, so you don't have to clean it as often.
Lynch: Make sure they're properly pitched and drain after each rain. If they're holding water, you're in trouble.