Why is gutter repair important in the winter?
Proper winter gutter maintenance protects your home in the winter. If you have gutter damage and don’t do a thorough cleaning and inspection of your gutter before and during the winter, it could mean bad news for you and your home. This is because the harsh weather during the winter can place heavy stress on your gutters. If your gutters are not properly cleaned and prepared for the winter, you could be looking at some pretty big trouble and possible damage to your home once the winter weather arrives.
Gutter cleaning should already be a part of your regular maintenance schedule, but it is even more important during the winter. If you’ve recently completed a gutter installation or are planning on doing so in the future, be sure to include winter gutter maintenance in your routine.
Gutters are extremely susceptible to damage during the winter. Whether you’ve got seamless gutters (gutters which significantly reduce leaks and help carry water away from your home) or regular gutters, you need to make sure you prepare them for the winter months.
When snow melts off your roof it is likely that things like leaves and twigs will pile up in your gutter, resulting in clogs. This is why you need to do regular maintenance during the winter to make sure your gutters do not become clogged. If you let your gutters clog, rainwater and melted snow can overflow and seep into the ground, significantly weakening the foundation of your home. In addition to this, twigs and leaves that have not been cleaned out of your gutter can cause water to become trapped. This water eventually freezes, causing your gutters to sag or pull away.
Protecting Your Gutters Before You Need Gutter Repair
When checking your gutters or doing any type of gutter repair this winter, you should consider purchasing gutter guards. Although gutter guards don’t protect your gutters from all the debris that can clog in them, they certainly are a great help and can significantly reduce the amount of debris that accumulates in your gutters. If you install a gutter guard properly, it will reduce how often you’ll need to clean your gutters because there will be less to clean.
Keep in mind that installing gutter guards doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep checking them. Although gutter guards reduce debris and clogging, they don’t protect your gutters entirely and should still be checked frequently, especially during the winter.
If you need to replace your gutters or do a complete new gutter installation for the winter, we also suggest you install seamless gutters. Seamless gutters are made of aluminum, copper or steel and can handle the tough winter weather much better than regular gutter systems. Seamless gutters won’t break and will not leak on you, providing better overall protection for you and your home.
Seamless gutters minimize leaks and require much less maintenance. They have no seals or joints that can accumulate with debris, making them an overall better choice to protect your home. They also come in many varieties and overall look more aesthetically pleasing on homes.
Gutter Checkup During the Winter
There are certain things you should be doing when checking up or repairing your gutters during the winter. For all your winter gutter solutions, be sure to incorporate these important maintenance tips to protect your gutters and your home during the winter.
- Clear debris from your gutter: Clear any leaves, twigs, and other debris from your gutter. Install gutter guards to cut down on debris if you notice that there is a lot piling up. Make sure you also clear any snow from your gutters, as rodents and other pests are attracted to those types of areas. Leaves that have been left there will winter will freeze, leading to more debris build up, so they must be cleared too.
- Check for damage: Make sure that there isn’t any water damage or rotting in the siding and the foundation. Also check that the gutter isn’t cracked or sagging.
- Check for ice: Make sure there isn’t any ice build up in your gutters, as this can cause them to sag or fall out of alignment.
How to Keep Gutters from Freezing in Winter
Ice in or hanging off your gutters can cause some pretty hefty damage to your home. When water freezes, it expands, which can potentially damage the shape of your gutters and even make them crack under the added weight. Gutters that are clogged with frozen water can cause water damage in your home because of ice dams that are formed when water freezes in gutters.
When your gutters are clogged with ice, snow melting off your roof cannot drain properly, leaking into the foundation of your home and possibly even into your basement. This is why it’s extremely important to prevent any of these potentially expensive and dangerous damages to your gutters and your home by making sure the water in your gutters does not freeze.
To keep your gutters from freezing in the winter, you’ll need to first make sure that you clean out all of your gutters. Ideally, you should do this in the fall, right before winter starts and after all the leaves have fallen off the trees. It’s important to completely clean out your gutters because leaves, twigs and other debris in your gutter will block water and make it pool. If water is pooled in your gutters instead of drained, it will freeze.
You can also consider adding a sprinkle of rock salt in your gutters if you notice ice or icicles forming in your gutters. This will help melt the ice forming.
In the event that there is a big storm, you should try to remove snow from your roof, as big storms tend to clog and freeze gutters. You might want to purchase a roof rake for this.
If you have tried all the above options but find that ice is still accumulating in your gutters, you might want to consider buying a specialized heating cable for rooftops and gutters. Install these cables on the top of your gutter and the heat will melt the ice away.
Gutter repair is extremely important before and during the winter months. Be sure to follow all the right maintenance measures and follow your regular gutter maintenance routine to prevent any excess build up, leaking, or ice dams in your gutter which could cause damage to your home. Prepare your gutter for the harsh elements and keep your family and your home safe during the cold winter months.
Chief Roofing does gutter repair, installation, and maintenance. Give Chief Roofing a call at 919-732-5028 to help protect your home.