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Guide to Gutter Installation and Cleaning

A rain gutter system collects rainwater from the roofline and diverts it away from the main structure of the house using downspouts and elbows. It helps protect the foundation and integrity of the structure by preventing damage caused by water erosion at the base of the house. It also protects the walls against damage from decay caused by too much moisture. An effective gutter system also needs to be cleaned and maintained regularly. With the right tools and a useful guide, you can install and clean your own gutters without professional help.

How to install the gutter

Measure the length of the roofline.

The first step is to take measurements of your house including the length of the roofline and height from the base to determine the length of the gutter and the downspouts you need. Gutters will run the entire length to the roofline and terminate with a downspout. Take note of the length of the fascia as gutters longer than 38 feet will need two downspouts at each end. If it is shorter, then a single downspout will be enough

Purchase the materials needed for fitting

You will need gutters equivalent to the at least minimum length of the roofline. Other materials needed are downspouts as calculated from the measurements, fascia brackets, screws, rivets and waterproofing glue. Ensure that you get the correct gutter that suitable for your roof size and volume of rainwater in your area. If unsure, consult a professional of the best specifications that will suit your house.

Cut gutters according to measurements and join them

You will need a hacksaw or a tin snip for this part. For clean cuts, you first need to bend the gutter and then cut it according to the measurement. For safety reasons, it is advisable that you join the parts on the ground as doing this while on a ladder increases the risks of an accident. When joining overlapping sections, makes sure the inner part points downwards to avoid water coming out of the seams.

Install downspouts and outlets

Mark and measure the locations you wish to install the downspout outlets on the structure of your house. Using these measurements as a guide identity and make points on the gutter where the outlet hole needs to be cut so they align with the measurement on the roof. You can use a chisel to create a starting hole or use a jigsaw to create the hole. Next, attach the outlet into the hole you just created and add waterproofing material such as silicone glue.

Mount the gutter sections and downspout

Mount the fascia brackets on the face board using either rivets of stainless-steel screws. Ensure you use the correct specification of screws or rivets that secure the bracket well. Next, you need to attach the downspouts by screwing the downspout elbow to the outlet tube. Take another downspout elbow and place it against the wall. Cut a piece of it to create allowance space so that it fits between the two elbows. Secure the parts together using screws.

Seal the gutter seams

Finally, you need to seal the gutter seams, which are areas where the individual gutter pieces connect. Leakages from these sections can cause damage to the wall and foundation. For best results, ensure the surface is dry before applying sealant.

How to clean the gutters

One of the sure signs that your gutter system needs cleaning is the sight of water running down the side of your house during a heavy downpour. This is usually as a result of a clogged system caused by leaves and other debris stuck in the gutter and downspouts. You can use a variety of equipment to clean your gutter provided it achieves the desired result. However, we recommend having at least a garden hose with a pistol grip spray noose, a gutter scoop, and a bucket.

Clean the roof

Start with the roof as the majority of the debris in the gutter lands their first. Failing to clean the roof will result in the gutter being clogged again during the next rainfall. You can do this using a rake or a leaf blower.

Remove the debris in the gutter

Scoop out the debris using a gutter scoop or your hands if that is convenient for you. If the dirt is too dry, you can make the process easier by moistening it using the hose. You can also use a trowel to remove cacked in material. Scoop the debris into a bucket to reduce the amount of cleaning you will need to do afterward. You can also use a drop cloth to prevent any falling debris from damaging your pavement and other delicate constructions.

Hose out the gutter

Using the water hose at high pressure wash out the gutter adjusting the pressure accordingly. You want to start from the raised side of the gutter as this will allow the debris to wash down naturally into the downspouts. You might need to use a brush to scrub out encrusted dirt. Ensure you control the pressure of the water carefully to avoid splashing debris all over your house. If you notice that the gutter is not draining, it means you need to unclog the downspouts first.

Clean out the downspouts

To find out if your downspouts are clogged, pour water down the downspout and check to see if the water backs up. If there is clogging, try tapping the sides to see if it unclogs it. This can work for small clogs that can be washed down by the water. For bigger clogs, you may need to remove the downspout altogether and unclog by flushing it from the boom. If the clog does not clear after a high-pressure spray, you may need to use a hand auger, also known as a plumber’s snake, to clear it. You might need to disconnect the bottom sides of downspouts connected to underground drains to prevent the clog from washing down into the drain and causing more problems. When finished flush the gutter again to ensure you haven’t messed with the pitch and water can flow correctly as it was before. You might need to consider adding gutter guards, especially if you have overhanging trees that increase the amount of debris on the roof.