The biggest concern homeowners have when it comes to the maintenance of their gutters revolves around how to get leaves to leave their gutter system alone. They are not just a concern during the annual fall of autumn, they are a year-round nuisance that can and will invade your roof and eaves on any given day. They build-up in your gutters and create all sorts of havoc. They invite pests (birds and rodents) to nest, they block rainwater passage, and they weigh down the system causing gutters to sag which not only becomes an eyesore it puts your home exterior at risk. Yep, they may look pretty on the tress but they are a hazard to your home. So, what can be done to forever hedge the risk of gutter damage from leaf-born build-up? Read further to find out.
4 Ways to Keep Leaves from Damaging the Gutter System on Your Home
1. Trim the Tree Line Surrounding the Roof of Your Home – 8 Foot Rule
One of the most effective ways to combat this issue is to tackle the source. We don’t expect you to chop down your backyard oak (or fir, etc.), but you can take measures to keep its leaves from finding their way into your gutters. Climb-up your ladder (carefully) to inspect the tree line where it runs horizontal to your roof ledge. How close are its branches to your eaves? While the further away the better, a sound rule of thumb to follow is keep branch-reach at least eight feet away from your gutters. Measure the distance and trim the branches accordingly. Also take note of branches extending over from your neighbours yard. Even if the branches to not crossover a fence (giving you a property right to “take action”) they may still fall within the eight foot range. If so, have a pleasant conversation with your neighbour and request that they too trim the branches. If you communicate the reason to them, and that the best interest of their own gutter system is being considered, it should not be an issue. If need be, bribe them with a BBQ and cooler full of Corona (works every time).
2. Perform a Weekly Inspection
This is a common-sense method that will go a long way in protecting your gutter system from leaves. Starting from the first best day of the week to perform exterior home chores, climb up (did we mention carefully already?) and inspect the entire length of your gutters. Clean out all debris, leaves included, so that there is no opportunity for further build-up. Do this once per week and you’ll find that it becomes an easy enough ritual to follow. However, if there has been a windstorm, do not wait until the scheduled day, climb up and inspect (and clean) your gutters immediately.
3. Rake the Roof
While it is possible, leaves don’t often make their first landing smack dab in the concaves of your gutters. Nine times out of ten they start on your roof, hanging out on your shingles until the slightest hint of gravity and wind nudges them into their logical conclusion below – your gutters. In addition to your weekly gutter inspection, keep a weekly watchful eye on your roof. If you see any significant gathering of leaves (a baker’s dozen or so) on your shingles grab a roof rake (see example here) and sweep them down to the ground, into your composting bag and into your composting bin – gone from the clutches of the wind.
4. Install a Leaf Guard Protection System
The most effective way to keep leaves out of your gutters is to install a premium leaf protection system. The math here is simple, if you block access to leaves they don’t have a shot at getting in. It is important to note that when selecting a system you will want to opt for a sound vinyl or aluminum option that is made specific to the dimensions of your existing set-up, to prevent excessive weight from being a longterm burden on your gutters. You also want guards that have an even mesh-like distribution of holes on it’s upward facing surface to allow rain water to enter and flow through a debris-free path towards the downspouts, where it will be emptied safely onto the landscape below.
If leaves, or other elements, have already impacting the proper functioning of your gutter system we encourage you to contact AquaSeal today for an estimate on your gutter repair.
See related article: How to Protect Gutters from Pine Needles