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Don't Let Clogged Gutters Wreak Havoc on Your Home

A homeowner's work is never done. Have you checked your rain gutters lately? 

There are many wonderful things about homeownership: Just ask anyone enjoying the feeling of settling into a first home. But there are also a number of challenges that many people don't think about — one of them is home improvement.

When you own a house, there's always something to do. That doesn't mean things break down, necessarily, but there are always ways to renovate or upgrade. Just as importantly, there is always something to clean — not quite as fun as other home improvement tasks.

One of them is the rain gutter on your roof.

Why Worry About a Rain Gutter?

With so many other things to get around to, why be concerned about a rain gutter?

As it turns out, keeping your gutters clean is an essential part of ensuring your roof stays strong. It also has an effect on the outer envelope of your home. Ultimately, neglecting your gutters could even contribute to foundation damage.

It gets worse:

  • Clogged gutters increase the risk of mold, which can make your house unsafe;
  • Clogged gutters can damage and rot parts of the home's exterior made of wood;
  • Clogged gutters can exacerbate roof leaks, especially when the snow starts to melt;
  • When gutters aren't functional, puddles and icy slicks can lead to painful falls.

Last but not least is the matter of landscaping. The ground around your home should slope away from the foundation by at least six inches for the nearest ten feet. Otherwise, water will collect and ultimately make its way down to the foundation.

With all that in mind, it's crucial to have a regular cleaning plan for your rain gutters.

Keeping Your Rain Gutters Clean

When it comes to cleaning your gutters, the traditional method is still the best: Get on a ladder about an arm's length away and carefully remove debris into a bag or an open spot on the ground below. Still, there are some matters of technique to be aware of.

To be sure the gutter is clean, don't stop by removing gunk. Also, be sure to take a close look at the gutter, especially its seams and downspouts. Observe the gutter in action and make sure water is flowing properly — and remember that rule about the slope.

A good gutter cleaning should be performed more than once a year. Home improvement experts recommend doing it at least quarterly. If your gutters are working well and the weather is good, you may be able to do it less often, but be sure to check in on gutters after major storms.

Of course, you should always clean the gutters when you notice them not working properly.

The Home Improvement Solution: Leaf Protection Systems

Gutter cleaning might seem like an ongoing battle with nature, but it doesn't have to be quite that hectic. Leaf protection systems, also known as gutter protectors, can reduce the need for cleaning without impairing the gutter's critical functions.

A leaf protection system is a great way for anyone with a passion for home improvement to make this chore a little easier. These gutter guards install easily and generally offer a modest cost. Cleaning will still be necessary, but not as frequent.

One important tip to look out for: Avoid gutter guards that require you to lift your roof's last layer of shingles. All roofs are different, but shingle patterns have a functional purpose as well as an aesthetic one. Adjusting them can lead to repairs and other headaches down the road.

The humble rain gutter does a lot for the structural integrity of your home. Treat it well, and it will help protect your home.

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