Gutters are designed to do one thingâ€”channel water away from the foundationâ€”and theyâ€™re critical to protecting the structural integrity of your house. But in order for gutters to do their job properly, they have to be kept in shape and free of clogs, holes, and sags.
Luckily, most common gutter problems are easy for homeowners to fix themselves. And itâ€™s worth the effort. â€œGutters are one of those things where routine maintenance and inspecting them can really prevent bigger problems down the road,â€
This is the most common problem of all. Left untended, gutters and downspouts get so clogged with debris that theyâ€™re rendered useless. The excess weight of leaves, twigs, and standing water can also make them sag and pull away from the fascia.Â
Clean them at least once a year, and twice a year if you have a lot of trees nearby. Gary Mindlin, managing partner of New York City-based Top Hat Home Services, schedules gutter maintenance four times a year, with additional checks after big storms.Â
You can clean your own gutters if youâ€™re comfortable on a ladder, donâ€™t mind getting wet and dirty, and donâ€™t have an extremely tall house. After youâ€™ve cleared the muck, flush them with a garden hose to make sure theyâ€™re flowing properly. If youâ€™d prefer, you can hire someone to do the job for you for between $50 and $250, depending on the size of your house.Â
Another option for dealing with chronically clogged gutters is to outfit them with gutter covers. These include mesh screens, clip-on grates, and porous foam. They still need regular maintenance, though, and the cost can be more than the gutters themselves.