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Gutter Cleaning Plainfield IL
Few things are as stressful to homeowners as water damage. It can be a sinister, creeping issue that many don’t discover until it has become a big, expensive problem.
At its worst, moisture has the potential to damage your home beyond affordable repair, with heavy structural consequences that include mold, wood rot, and even foundation cracks. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch it early and stop it before it spreads. But even small leaks that allow rainwater into the house can require major repairs to keep moisture at bay.
The best way to deal with water damage is to stop it before it starts. Here are measures that you can take to prevent water from entering your home from outside.
Waterproof Your House Exterior
The exterior of your house is its first line of defense against water damage. Protect your home from the outside in by maintaining the exterior.
Maintain Your Roof
water damage gutters
Properly handling the water that flows down your roof is essential.
Your roof’s primary purpose is to keep water out of your house. Neglecting it could lead to a whole host of problems, the worst of which includes extensive water damage that could compromise the structure of your home. Most roofs have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years, so it’s easy to think that if yours is still within its period of usability, it’s fine. But that’s not necessarily true.
Climate, weather conditions, and even nearby trees can cause damage to roof shingles. Periodically inspect your roof for damaged, loose, or missing shingles. Replacing any shingles that are missing or in poor condition is a quick and inexpensive project that can extend the life of your entire roof.
Seal Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are common vulnerable sites for water leakage. Water can seep in through the space around window and door frames if they’re not properly sealed. Don’t wait for a leak. Ensure that the weatherstripping and seals around your windows and doors are in good shape.
Inspect the outside of your windows and doors. Any large cracks between the frame and the house can be injected with insulating foam sealant. Prevent other leaks by applying a fresh bead of caulking where the window meets the siding. Even a fresh coat of paint on window and door frames can block moisture from penetrating the wood.
Maintain Your Home’s Exterior Finish
Signs of water damage on your house’s interior walls that don’t seem to have a source, such as mold, peeling paint, or discoloration, could be due to water entering through holes in your exterior walls. If your siding and exterior paint aren’t well-maintained, water could be leaking through to the inside of your home.
Periodically inspect your exterior walls. Look for signs of damage in your siding, such as holes, wood rot, or warping. If caught early enough, you may be able to clean out the wet materials and repair only the affected siding.
Most common exterior siding, including stucco, aluminum siding, wood siding, and cedar shingles, need to be painted in order to protect your home properly. Paint adds more than just aesthetic appeal—it seals and protects your siding against rain, sleet, and snow.
Ensure Proper Drainage
You can take measures to keep water out of your home, but waterproofing alone isn’t enough to protect your home from water damage. If water isn’t properly diverted away from the base of your house, your foundation could be at risk. And even the best waterproofing measures are no match for standing water that collects on or around your house in areas of poor drainage.
Clean Your Gutters
Depending on surrounding tree coverage, gutters need to be cleaned out two to six times a year to ensure proper flow of rainwater.
Making sure your gutters function properly is critical to protecting your home from water damage. If your gutters are full of leaves and pine needles, or not angled properly to funnel water to the downspout, then water will run down the side of your house and collect at the base, which could put your foundation at risk.
Start by clearing built-up gunk from your gutters. If your gutters are too high to reach with an extension ladder, you may want to hire a professional. If you can reach them, then this is a job you can easily do yourself. Begin near the downspout, using your hand or a plastic gutter scoop to dig out the muck. Once gutters are cleared of obstructions, use a pressure washer to clean them.
Check Your Downspouts
Downspouts should direct water at least three feet from the exterior walls of a home.
Functioning gutters send water out through the downspout, which should funnel the water away from your home. If necessary, repair gutters and downspouts.
If the downspout doesn’t extend far enough, then it could instead be funneling water directly into a puddle at the bottom of your house.
Downspouts should extend at least two to three feet from the house. However, the length of the downspout extension you need depends on your house and surrounding property. If your downspout is long enough, but you can still see water collecting at the base of your house, then you may need to install a drainage pipe—a relatively simple and inexpensive DIY project.
If your home sits on the bottom of a slope, water runoff from your yard should be channeled away from your home. If it isn’t, then you probably have problems with standing water near your foundation. Over time, this can cause the ground near your foundation to erode, making it vulnerable.
A French drain could be a simple solution to direct runoff away from your home. At its most basic, a French drain is a simple trench filled with gravel; you could install one with or without a pipe. For an average cost of $1000 to $1500, this solution could save you a lot of money on foundation repairs in the future.
Gutter Cleaning Plainfield IL
Years ago, spikes and ferrules were a common method for hanging gutters. They do the job all right, but eventually the spikes work themselves loose. Pounding them back in is a temporary fix at best.
One way to make sure your gutter doesn't fall off the house is to install fascia hanger brackets. Installation is simple: Just hook the bracket under the front lip of the gutter, and then screw the other side of the bracket to the fascia. Leave the old spikes in place—a spike head looks better than a hole in the gutter.
If your shingles overhang your fascia by a few inches or you have steel roofing, buy the brackets with the screws built in (the type shown here). They cost more, but the head of the screw remains a couple of inches away from the fascia, making them a lot easier to install.
Water Gets Behind the Gutter
If water is dripping behind your gutter, it's probably because it was installed without any flashing over the back of the gutter. Gutter apron will prevent the dripping.
Gutter apron is a bent piece of flashing that tucks up under the shingles and over the gutter. Home centers sell it in 10-ft. sections. You may have to temporarily remove your hangers as you go, or you can notch out the apron around them. Once the apron's in place, fasten it with sheet metal screws.
If there's a drip edge installed where the fascia meets your shingles and the gutter is hung below the drip edge, get some roll flashing and tuck it up under the drip edge and over the top of the gutter. Home centers sell rolls of 6-in. x 10-ft. aluminum flashing. Use a tin snips to cut the roll in two 3-in. strips. If your gutters are steel, buy steel roll flashing, because galvanized steel corrodes aluminum.
Is the sound of dripping in your downspouts driving you mad? Eliminate the problem by tying a rope onto one of the gutter hangers and running it down into the downspout. Drops of water will cling to the rope instead of plummeting the whole length of the downspout and causing that loud dripping noise.
Adding a rope does restrict water flow, so this may not be the best option if your gutter is prone to overflowing or if your downspout is easily clogged with twigs and leaves. Buy a rope made of a synthetic like nylon—a rope made from natural fibers will rot away.
Make Repairs With a Slip Joint
If a tree branch falls on the last 4 ft. of your 60-ft. seamless gutter, you don't need to replace the whole thing; just replace the damaged section. If your gutters are white or brown, adding a section of gutter to an existing section is easy. Most home centers sell white and brown sections of gutters as well as slip joints to tie them together.
If your gutters are a custom color, a home center can special-order your color but not the slip joint to match. But don't worry; you can make your own from a box miter, and box miters are available in every color gutters are made.
When you buy your new gutter section, make sure you order either an inside or outside box miter at the same time. Cut a 3-in. section from the box miter with a tin snips, and you've got yourself a custom slip joint. Hang the new gutter next to the old one, and then slide the patch under the seam.
Water Spills Over Gutter
Some roofs have long sections of valley that carry a lot of rainwater at high velocity. When that water comes blasting out the end of the valley, it can shoot right over the gutter. A diverter will help direct the water back into the gutter where it belongs. Fasten a diverter with a couple of sheet metal screws to the top of the outside edge of the gutter.
Downspout in the Way
Are you tired of removing your downspouts every time you mow? Consider installing a hinge where the lowest elbow meets the section of downspout that runs into your yard.
Installation is simple: Just cut the downspout at a 45-degree angle with a tin snips or metal-cutting blade and fasten the two-piece Zip Hinge (sold at home centers or online) with eight sheet metal screws. The hinges come in white only, so you might have to spray-paint them to match.
Every connection on a metal gutter needs to be sealed: end caps, splices, drop outlets and miters. Buy a product that's specifically formulated to seal gutter seams. Seam sealer can handle submersion for long periods of time. It's also resistant to light, which it will get plenty of.
Most important, high-quality seam sealer is runny, so it can penetrate down into the seam for a durable, long-lasting connection. Most products refer to this property as “self-leveling.” And the runnier the better, so if you're applying it on a cold day, keep the seam sealer somewhere warm so it stays fluid.
Try to remove as much of the old sealer as you can, and make sure the area you're sealing is completely dry. Home centers usually stock seam sealer near the gutter parts.
If you have a 50-ft. gutter with one 2 x 3-in. downspout, your gutter probably overflows during heavier rainfalls. When installing an additional downspout isn't an option, install a 3 x 4-in. downspout in place of the smaller one.
Start by removing the old downspout. Use the new 3 x 4-in. drop outlet that you buy with your new downspout as a template to trace an outline for the larger hole. You can cut out the larger hole with a tin snips, or you could use an oscillating multi-tool equipped with a metal-cutting blade. Insert the drop outlet in the hole and fasten the new downspout with sheet metal screws. Make sure to seal the drop outlet to the gutter with seam sealer.
One downspout, one drop outlet, three elbows and two wall clips will cost about $40 at a home center. If you need a color other than white or brown, it will be a special order, but you should be able to get the color you need.
Sidewalk in the Way
There is no perfect way to get water from one side of a sidewalk to the other, but consider installing a retractable downspout. It rolls out when it rains and then rolls back up when the water stops flowing. Products like these do leak when the water flow is too light to extend the plastic downspout, but they should keep your landscaping from washing away during moderate to heavy rains.
Retractable downspouts are super easy to hook up, and they might be just the solution you're looking for. Pick one up at a home center or order online.
Gutter Guards Work
If you have trouble keeping small leaves and other debris from clogging your gutters, consider installing solid gutter guards. Solid guards, which cover all of the gutter except for a narrow crack to let the water through, do work well. The lip on the guards relies on surface tension to draw the water down into the gutter, while the solid covering deflects leaves and other debris that would otherwise drop in.
The guards work on every type of gutter, except plastic “C” shapes. Since the guards fit over the gutter rather than inside, they'll cover most standard-size gutters. They're typically attached to the gutter with brackets, with the upper edge slid under the lower shingles.
Screened gutter guards, which are much less expensive and available at home centers, don't work as well. They'll keep out most leaves, but you can expect smaller debris, such as seeds and pine needles, to get through. Screens also make gutter cleaning more difficult, because you have to move them aside to get at the debris. However, in some cases they may be all you need.
An old plastic spatula makes a great tool for cleaning debris from gutters! It doesn't scratch up the gutter, and you can cut it to fit gutter contours with snips. Grime wipes right off the spatula too, making cleanup a breeze.
Gutter Cleaning Plainfield IL
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