Recently we were asked to find out why downspouts weren’t draining on a home that had a popular, well-known gutter cover installed.
These gutter covers, which are permanently affixed to the gutters, had been installed years ago. The homeowner believed that, with these well-known (and expensive) gutter covers, the gutters would never have to be cleaned again.
Here is what we found: the gutters and downspouts were completely full of compacted dirt and debris. One downspout had a half-inch thick root growing down it. The outlets (hardware at the hole that leads from the gutter to the downspout) were too small, further restricting the ability of the system to drain water.
So while it’s true that the gutters hadn’t been cleaned in over 10 years, it is also true that the gutter system was now non-functional. The gutters were now contributing to deterioration of siding, potential water intrusions in the basement or crawl space, and a general mess due to (dirty) water just overflowing the gutters.
We were able to solve the problems and get the system working properly. We had to unhook the downspouts and use a special pump to slowly wash substantial debris out of the gutters. We also had to permanently remove the gutter cover in some places to install larger sized outlets, all at a significant multiple of the cost of a regular gutter cleaning.
In most cases, routine gutter cleaning is the best solution for keeping your gutter system flowing properly, and gutter covers are not necessary. In many cases, covers do more harm than good. You can see photos of gutter covers that led to roof damage and water intrusion on our Facebook page here.
If you have, or are thinking about gutter covers of any type, please be aware that (1) any gutter cover system still requires cleaning, the only question is how long between cleanings and how hard (time consuming and therefore costly) will it be, and (2) if you have or are contemplating getting the kind that are permanently attached, make sure you periodically have your system flushed.
If you are concerned about overflowing gutters even after routine cleaning, there are certainly alternatives to gutter covers: appropriately sized gutters, larger outlets or downspouts, downspouts less prone to clogging, and leaf-traps. We can help all of these.
We’re here to make it easy for you. For help with gutter cleaning or optimizing your gutter system, give us a call at (503) 407-3346.