How To Avoid Common Gutter Problems

Owning or managing a property is always more difficult than it seems beforehand. Not only do you have to maintain the interior of the building – you also have to take care of things like the driveway, walls, and roof.

Unfortunately, New Zealand’s wild weather means that the gutters of your property require extra care and attention. As the seasons pass and withering sunshine is replaced by torrential rain and wind, it’s important to take preventative measures against the most common problems.

Here’s our best advice for dealing with some of the most widespread gutter issues in Auckland:

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Clogged Gutters

Clogged gutters are the curse of many a homeowner. Even high-quality, professionally installed gutters and pipes are prone to getting blocked  – and this is especially true at the end of autumn, when falling leaves accumulate on your roof.

It’s worth checking your gutters regularly throughout autumn, and clearing any leaves or debris that you find. Other things to look out for are dead rodents, bird or wasp nests, strips of eucalyptus bark, and any other solid debris. Aim to clean your gutters at least once a year, or twice if your property is near trees.

If you don’t mind scrambling up on your roof and dedicating a Sunday afternoon to it, you can clean your gutters yourself. Many people are reluctant to do so because of the safety risks or the sheer drudgery of it – and if you fall in this category, you can always ask a professional for help.

Depending on your property and the type of gutters you’re using, you might also be a good candidate for gutter guards. In certain cases these can dramatically reduce the risk of blockages.

Sagging Gutters

Sagging gutters are just one of the potential consequences of a blockage, and a relatively minor one at that. Don’t be tempted to simply ignore the sag, however, because a gutter that isn’t flowing properly can ultimately wreak havoc on your property.

By maintaining the regular cleaning schedule mentioned above, you’ll be able to reduce the likelihood of a sagging gutter. Occasionally the sag is caused by a functional problem with the hangers that hold the gutter in place. Shoddy installation or cheap materials can contribute to the speed of deterioration, so it’s best to avoid dodgy contractors who cut corners. (Hint: read reviews first!)

Leaky Gutters

Even the best gutter systems can break down under a constant bombardment of harsh weather. But there are a few ways to reduce the chances of this happening to you. 

First, make sure that your gutters are the right size for your roof and for the amount of rainfall you receive – and ensure there are enough downspouts to drain all the water.

Unclutter your gutters regularly, keep any cracks sealed, and check that the gutters are properly pitched to facilitate the flow of rainwater.

Poorly Installed Gutters

Let’s say your well-meaning but slightly incompetent neighbour offered to install your gutters for you – or you were unlucky with the contractor you hired. In that situation, you might find that your gutter system isn’t installed the way it should be.

A particularly common issue we see in these cases is improper pitching. Every gutter should slope at least 60mm every three metres. If this ratio is skewed, it can cause water buildup and, ultimately, blockages. You can check the pitch yourself with a chalk line, or ask a professional for help.

Downspouts Too Close to Walls

Many people assume that as long as rainwater is flowing smoothly from gutters to downspouts, there’s nothing else to worry about. But downspouts that drain too close to your walls can cause serious problems over time. Persistently soggy earth can eventually cause your foundation to crack or your basement to flood, forcing you to make scarily expensive repairs.

To avoid this, make sure your downspouts are connected to gutter extensions that allow the water to drain at least 60cm from your walls.

If you’d like to get your gutters checked or set up regular maintenance, we would love to help. The gutter specialists at EP Services have been cleaning and repairing gutters in Auckland for more than a decade. To arrange a free, no-obligation inspection and quote, contact us today!

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