It's early spring and time to get that gutter into shape before the stronger spring and summer storms hit. Your gutters are a crucial part of protecting your landscaping and your home's foundation, and if the gutters become overwhelmed, you can start to have a lot of problems very quickly with the rest of your property. Start from the top down with the roof and finish up with the downspouts to ensure the gutters will do their job well.
Have the Roof Inspected
Start with a roof inspection to ensure there are no bits of damaged tiles and shingles that could be rolling into the gutter. As rain runs off the roof, if it brings bits of asphalt shingles with it, for example. Those bits will fill up the gutter more quickly. Roof problems can also indicate a need to look at the gutters themselves more thoroughly because if something's damaged the roof, it might have damaged the gutter, too.
Replace Corroded Parts
Search the gutter for rusted and cracked parts and replace them. Don't leave them up, thinking they'll hold up enough during the year when it rains. It takes only a small hole to start letting a lot of water through, and that corrosion will only get worse over the coming months. Replace the sections as soon as you can.
Clean Out Debris
Good gutter cleaning means getting out all the debris, not just the big stuff. Even if all you find is a twig, get that out of the gutter. Debris builds up fast even if you have screens -- the little bits can still fall inside, creating a mushy lump that, if it grows large enough, can clog the gutter.
And if you don't have a screen on your gutters, add one. These prevent larger pieces of debris, like leaves, from falling into the gutter where they can't get out until you remove them. The screens should let debris roll off onto the ground instead. Note that screens, too, can become clogged, so you'll occasionally have to brush the tops of those off. But that's a lot easier than trying to scoop dried leaves out of a curved gutter.
Heavy rain funneled down along a roof valley can cause a waterfall over the gutter. The force of the water, and the amount, can overwhelm the gutter or even bypass it completely. A corner baffle stops this. These baffles extend the height of the gutter in the corner, catching more of that falling water and diverting it into the gutter instead of over it onto your landscaping.
Check Downspout Drainage Locations
Double-check that the downspouts are still draining away from the house. If the end of the downspout has become damaged or was bent, the water might drain too closely to the foundation, creating erosion and moisture problems.
Gutter repair companies can check all of this out after you have the roof inspected, so start calling now. Spring is prime time for home repairs, and you want to be able to choose a good time for you, rather than compete with everyone else for a spot on the company's calendar.