Out Of Sight Out Of Mind

Why it is so important to maintain your roof, gutters and downspouts ; by Dave Mason

The first line of protection your home has against the sun, wind and rain is the roof – drain system. The roof system consists of a roofing membrane or shingles and flashings. Integral to the roof system are metal flashings , gutters and downspouts. These components collect rain water and funnel it away from the home. It is easy to forget that these house components exist at all as they work their magic away from our daily view.I recently finished a large total remodel. During the process I learned from the owner that the roof had a few leaks and the gutters did not drain well. This was causing a large gutter spillover during heavy rains. I noticed that this spillover had caused the siding to rot as the wood was remaining wet during most of the Winter months. The spillover also caused such a waterfall during storms that wind driven water was penetrating many of the upper window frames and coming directly into the home.So to see what needed to be done I went into my investigative mode and climbed my way up to the roof top. Soon I observed that two downspouts were totally obstructed and the adjoining gutters were partially filled with leaves. Both of these issues are not good for drainage.Regular downspouts are 1 1/2 inch by 3 inch in dimension and bend in the corners as they make their way down to the ground. This average size is not large enough to permit leaves and debris that comes from the gutter to pass thru without clogging. If there are ANY trees or shrubs anywhere near the home standard downspouts will clog during the first Winter of use. Leaving them useless as a drain until someone remembers to go up an clean them out. This is not fun especially in a rain storm.When I found the clogged downspouts I cleaned them out from top to bottom, no easy task as they were filled completely with dirt and debris. For extra protection I also added a new 3inch round downspout to this problem gutter. Three inch round is always preferable as this shape and size will almost never clog. When leaves and debris enters the three inch pipe it will always pass without a problem. The only maintenance then is keeping the gutters as clean as possible. This means that once a year the roof and gutters MUST be cleaned and cleaned well.Tar your gutters with asphalt emulsion to protect them against rust. Metal gutters often rust when leaves and debris is trapped in them for long periods. This happens on every roof I visit because home owners are not aware and do not think of checking their gutters for debris. As I mentioned it is very easy to forget the roof drain system even exists until a big storm comes and water starts pouring in everywhere.Anyway it is a good idea to have a professional clean your metal gutters with a brush then coat them with a couple of coats of quality asphalt emulsion. This will keep the gutters corrosion free for many years.If you annually maintain and clean your roof, gutters and downspouts your home should stay dry and trouble free for years to come – Dave

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