How to Prepare Gutters for Winter

Most people don't think to prepare gutters for the winter. Your home's gutters are the first line of defense for protecting the outside of your home. Here's more information about gutters and how to prepare gutters for the winter.
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How to Prepare Your Gutters for Winter and Avoid Unexpected Repairs

Cold weather can wreak havoc on your home, resulting in unexpected damages and repairs if you aren’t prepared. Preparing your gutters for winter might not be the easiest DIY job. Don’t hesitate to hire a professional gutter company to perform gutter maintenance and help with preparing your gutters for the winter. To correctly prepare your gutters, you need to:

  1. Clean the gutters.
  2. Inspect the gutters for damage.
  3. Thoroughly seal leaking end caps.
  4. Install gutter covers.
  5. Trim nearby trees.
  6. Consider adding downspout extensions.

Remove Debris From the Gutters

Leaves fall and become trapped in the gutters. When it rains, the leaves stick together, which makes removing them a daunting task. Once the leaves dry, they can become a hazard, which puts your home at risk for fires and other disasters. Other debris, such as twigs, can clog and puncture your gutters. Your gutters must be clean before you can prepare them for winterization.

Inspect Your Gutters for Damages

Debris, such as twigs, branches, and pebbles, can poke holes or leave dents in your gutters, causing them to crack and become less efficient. When you’re inspecting your gutters, make sure you check the joints. The joints should be tight and in overall good shape. While you’re inspecting your gutters, you will also want to make sure your gutters are aligned properly. When your gutters are aligned properly, they can help prevent water from collecting. Inspect your gutters at least twice to ensure you aren’t missing any tears, rips, or holes that can cause extensive damage later.

Check the End Caps

Over time, the end caps might begin to leak. Before you can seal the end caps to prevent leaking, you have to prepare them by cleaning them and ensuring they are rust-free. If the caps have rust on them, use a steel wool pad or brush to safely remove the rust, then rinse with water. Once the caps dry, you can properly seal them.

Use a Gutter Cover

Gutter covers are a necessity because they minimize the amount of leaves and other debris that can get trapped in your gutters. These covers can be made from a variety of materials, including aluminum and plastic. Gutter covers make it easier for you to clean and maintain your gutters.

Clear Tree Branches

Keeping the trees on your property trimmed is essential for the overall health and safety of your home. Oversized trees are a significant contributing factor to clogged gutters. If you have large trees surrounding your home, their leaves, branches, and dirt will clog the gutters. As dirt and other debris accumulate in your gutters, the gutters become weak and break or crack, leaving your home exposed to a variety of damages. Trim the branches of trees that exceed the height of your roof to decrease the amount of debris that collects in your gutters. By trimming your trees, you have less of a problem during autumn when the leaves begin to fall.

Install Downspout Extensions

Downspout extensions are essential because they help prevent your home’s foundation from water damage. These extensions are parts for your gutters that divert water away from your home, which is great for melting ice and snow. The best place for downspout extensions are places where water from downspouts can’t reach the drains. Downspout extensions should also be added if water collects near your home’s foundation.

Check for Structural Damage

It is important to check your foundation, siding, and fascia for damage, including signs of rotting, staining, and similar damages. Structural damage is any type of damage that compromises the integrity of your home. Exterior structural damage can include a cracked or leaning chimney, cracks in the foundation walls, and gaps between the stairs or the porch and your home. Interior structural damage can include cracks in drywall or plaster, cracks in basement walls, uneven or slanting floors, and gaps between the walls and the floors.

Need an Inspection?

Your home is one of the most important investments. If you properly care for and maintain your home, your home will be there for many years to take care of you. If you suspect there are issues with the gutters or siding for your home near Omaha, NE, don’t hesitate to contact a professional to have your gutters inspected.

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