They say your home is your castle – and without adequate drainage, you might just find yourself with your very own moat! Not exactly the most desirable outcome, but one that’s often inevitable when gutters and downspouts are neglected.
However, with proper gutter and downspout repair and replacement, you could save yourself thousands of dollars in the long run.
The trouble is, most homeowners are guilty of completely overlooking the health of their gutter drainage systems until they present quite severe problems. It’s a little like never bothering to have your car serviced, only to then react with shock when it basically disintegrates around you. Drainage systems are relatively simple, though cannot be taken for granted and expected to perform flawlessly forever.
So rather than waiting for water damage to wreak havoc on your home and garden, it makes so much more sense to be proactive. Experts recommend giving your gutters and downspouts in general a full check at least twice a year – more often during the fall and after bouts of bad weather. Sooner or later, every neglected drainage system will back up and land you with one serious headache.
Repair or Replacement?
Good professional gutter cleaners should check for minor cracks, gaps, and small holes in your gutters and downspouts. These can often be patched using high quality gutter sealant. The inspection should be part of the service, the repairs may not be.
It’s also worth checking the the gutter to downspout connection to make sure that it is secure. Most of the problems you are likely to encounter will be relatively simple in nature and can be patched up with ease. Where possible, repairs will always work out cheaper and easier than outright gutter or downspout replacement.
Replacing Gutter Sections
Almost all modern gutters, whether steel or aluminum, are continuous gutters, without seams. If a section is damaged, it is possible to cut it out and replace it. However, the seams from the replacement will be visible, although water tight. If you have several areas that need repaired in this way, you are probably money ahead in the long run to go ahead and replace at least the entire run.
You will want to make sure to match the type of gutter that you have on your home. There are several styles to choose from, and not everyone has every machine required to make the various types. Your gutter professionals can tell you what type or style of gutters you have.
One area of frequent failure is with the modern style “plain-square” downspouts. They are called “plain-square” because they are plain, with no fluting or other decorative touches, and they are basically rectangular in shape in the cross section. They are always made with steel, and the only way to bend them is to cut them and bend them. The cuts leave an exposed, unpainted edge, which will naturally oxidize or rust. Over time the rusting process can cause these pieces to fail sooner than any other component of your gutter system. Replacement is usually straightforward, but should be done only by a skilled professional.
Any time you replace a downspout, consider installing a leaf trap at the bottom of the new downspout.
Periodic care and maintenance can help extend the life of home drainage systems exponentially. Eventually however, it will be necessary to call in the professionals to get the job done on your behalf.
Preventative Maintenance Prevails
The best way to avoid expensive costs associated with replacing large sections of guttering or downspouts, is to properly clean and maintain your roof and gutters at regular intervals.
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