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Let's Talk About Gutters

Isn't it often true that the most functional and hard-working things in life are the most overlooked? Well, the same holds true for the gutters on your home. I mean, they are there for you: rain or snow, leaves or not. And they rarely get the credit they deserve. This changes today. Your eyes may open a bit wider to admire the simple yet steadfast protection your home's gutters provide.

Gutter Maintenance and Cleaning

Whether you have gutters on your home already or have them on your wishlist, let's talk about a few fun facts so you understand how they work and how you can protect them so they keep protecting your home.

First, did you know that an inch of rainfall can send thousands of gallons of water cascading down your roof? Being able to control the direction of that water flow is important to protecting your home's structure and preventing erosion near your foundation.

Second, did you know that clogged gutters or a snow or ice storm that damages the gutter moorings on your home can spell trouble for routing melting snow or water where you want it go?

Third, did you happen to know that gutter systems also prevent leaks, basement flooding, and even mosquitos?

Yes, it's true! So let's discuss the basic components of a gutter system.

Anatomy of a Gutter System

  • Gutter: captures all the waterflow from your roof and eaves
  • End Cap: closes the gutter
  • Moorings/Fascia Bracket: attaches your gutters from below, secures to your fascia
  • Downspout: routes water down from gutters to ground level
  • Downspout Bracket: secures the downspout to the side of your home
  • Elbow: re-routes the direction of the downspout
Parts of a Gutter System


You may be wondering how much it might cost to add gutters to your home.

The least expensive materials are aluminum, vinyl, and powder-coated steel and they typically cost about $1 to $8 per linear foot. The most expensive and decorative kinds like copper and zinc run for about $9 to $18 per foot. These estimates do not include installation or leaf guard/gutter helmets which are an additional cost between $15-$30 per foot and need to be installed and cleaned by a professional.

The material you choose and the maintenance they receive have a lot to do with their longevity too, so let's talk about the best ways to take care of them.

Gutter Maintenance

You can choose to have a professional clean your gutters each year or if you're comfortable, you can do it yourself. If you're scared of heights, you might want to splurge and hire a professional. 😉 But if you're open to cleaning them yourself, here are a few tips to help you do a great job and stay safe.

  • Wear gloves to protect your hands from direct exposure to decaying leaves, fungus or mildew as you clean. Use a gutter scoop if possible.
  • Stay on the ladder. Don't get overconfident and work from the roof. Falls happen more once you leave the ladder.
  • Wrap your ladder tops with a soft fabric or "standoffs" so they don't get scratched and compromise their protective coating.
  • Start at the downspout. This gives you the best chance to clear standing water first.
  • Check the elbows next. If clogged, you will need to hose them out with forceful water. If they won't clear, you may have to take them apart and reassemble them with short, stainless sheet metal screws.
  • Flush them out. Once all clogs are clear, rinse out the gutters and downspouts with clean water to make sure they are free and clear of debris.
  • Check brackets and hangers. They may have been loosened by storms or wind so take a moment to make sure they are secure.
  • Identify and seal any leaks. Once gutters are dry, use a butyl-based gutter caulk to seal leaks. Be sure to scrape and clean off any old caulk first.

PRO TIP: Install a bit larger downspout to handle more water overflow and intense rains with either a 4 inch round or 3 inch by 4 inch rectangular downspout size.

Gutter Maintenance and Cleaning

Also, keep in mind that homes that are surrounded by trees are more likely to need more frequent cleaning. Pine needles, especially, are notorious for causing clogs.

Again, if you're uneasy with any part of this DIY gutter care, you should seriously consider contacting a professional. Your local Realtor is a great resource for reliable referrals for this and any service providers for your home.

Gutters are the quiet heroes of our homes and hopefully you now understand more about all the ways they safeguard the investment you've made in your property!

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