Gutter damage from high winds and storms is a common problem that can lead to further exterior and interior damage to your home. When gutters pull away from the roofline or become clogged with debris, it often results in water spilling into the soffits or down the sides of your house. By taking some preventative measures, you can help save your gutters and protect other areas of your home from water leakage or rotting.
The best ways to avoid gutter damage involve installing gutter coverings to prevent debris buildup, properly securing the gutters to your home using quality hardware designed for weather resistance, trimming back nearby trees so they don’t break off and damage gutters in a storm, and routine maintenance like cleaning to keep them working properly.
Doing regular inspections and addressing minor issues before they escalate is also important.
Even if you take all these precautions, intense storms can still sometimes cause problems which is why doing periodic checks lets you fix small problems like loose hangers or clogged drains quickly.
Should I Install Gutter Guards?
Installing gutter guards is highly recommended to prevent debris like leaves, seeds and pine needles from accumulating in your gutters. With guards, small debris blows off the roof surface while water can still drain through. Without them, you’ll likely need to clean gutters at least twice per year.
There are a few types of guards to consider like foam inserts, perforated metal shields and mesh screens. The best choice depends on factors like your roof pitch, whether trees overhang the roof, and your budget. Mesh screens provide the most protection by blocking even small debris, but can overflow if heavy leaf litter collects on top. Perforated steel shields allow more water flow and may work better on steep pitches.
Guards not only minimize cleaning chores, they make your gutters stronger and more damage resistant. Debris accumulation causes corrosion, leaks, extra weight stress and clogs which make gutters weaker over time. Guards prevent these secondary issues, reducing maintenance costs in the long run. They also improve ventilation and air flow to prevent condensation moisture buildup inside gutters.
What Types of Gutter Guards Are Most Effective?
There are a variety of gutter guard designs to sift out debris before it can clog gutters. The most effective types have small holes or perforations fine enough to block debris like seeds, needles and leaves, but still allow unimpeded water flow with minimal overflow issues. This usually means metal or vinyl mesh screens with holes smaller than 1/16th of an inch.
Mesh gutter guards often feature a shallow, curved profile which allows water to funnel through easily while causing debris to skim over the surface. Look for sturdy vinyl or galvanized steel mesh with cross bars for support and corrosion resistance. Mesh screens are also less visible than other bulky guard types if aesthetics are a concern.
Some inexpensive plastic mesh options have larger holes that allow more debris passage. Premium steel and copper guards stand up to damage but cost more upfront. Whichever style you choose, guards with a sloped design and smaller perforations stop more debris at the roof line before it reaches gutters. Guards maintaining sheet flow and their slope are best at handling higher water volumes typically seen during storms.
How Can Guards Prevent Storm Damage?
Gutter guards prevent storm damage in a few key ways. First, by keeping debris out, they allow maximum water flow so gutters are less likely to overflow from storm volumes. Without guards, debris builds up choking flow making gutters more prone to overflowing in heavy rain.
Second, guards reduce weight loads from saturated debris piles typical after storms. Guards keep gutters clean meaning less strain on gutter fasteners which could otherwise loosen or pull away from the house.
Third, guards prevent debris from blowing around and accumulating in gutters. Storm winds can drive leaves, sticks and other yard debris into gutters, further blocking drainage. Guards deflect wind-driven debris from ever reaching or piling up inside gutters in the first place.
Finally, guards prevent damage from trees and branches hanging over the roof. They reduce chances that storms break off sticks or tree litter debris into the gutters by deflecting them before they stick or settle. Guards add an extra protective buffer against both wind and water related forces trying to introduce mess into your gutters.
How Should I Secure My Gutters?
Properly securing your gutters is crucial to prevent pulling away from fascia boards and roof lines during high winds. The best hardware includes screw-in gutter hangers spaced no more than 3 feet apart that attach to framing boards, not just fascia. Spikes lack the strength of quality screws. Supplement hangers with metal gutter bracket straps that further anchor top and bottom edges.
Choose weather-resistant hangers and straps made from galvanized, high gauge steel or heavy duty polymers like nylon. These won’t corrode or crack over time. Match strap widths and shapes to your gutter profile for stability. Wide straps with more screw holes provide superior wind resistance. Apply a bead of exterior sealant at attachment points during installation for extra adherence.
What Is the Best Hardware for Securing Gutters?
Gutter hangers that screw into roof rafters or framing offer better support than mere spikes into fascia boards alone. The strongest hangers use at least 3” lag screws and feature reinforcements like slotted straps across the gutter’s front and back side for enhanced anchoring.
Hanger hardware made from thick 29 gauge galvanized steel or sturdy nylon polymers provide lasting corrosion and crack resistance during storms. Secure hangers no more than 2-3 feet apart following manufacturer guidance.
Supplement hangers with metal gutter fastener brackets that further tie top and bottom edges to fascia. Choose heavy duty aluminum or stainless steel brackets. Apply corrosion-proof silicone caulk around all new screw holes during installation.
Where Should Gutters Be Secured Against the House?
Use gutter mounting hangers to secure the gutters’ top edge to the fascia board, while drilling lag screws through the hangers into the wooden roof rafter or framing. This ties the gutters directly into structural framing rather than just fascia material.
Further reinforced with metal fastening straps spanning the front and back sides. Position fastener brackets to anchor both top and bottom edges throughout the entire gutter length, no more than 3 feet apart. Focus extra brackets nearest downspouts.
Seal all new gutter hardware attachment points with waterproof caulk or adhesive sealant during installation for extra bonding strength and leak prevention.
How Can I Protect Gutters From Overhanging Trees?
Gutters easily clog with leaves, seeds and needles from overhanging trees. Storms can also break branches that further damage gutters. Trimming back branches regularly prevents blockages and damage, while installing guards adds extra protection.
As a rule of thumb, tree limbs should be pruned back at least 5-6 feet from the edge of the roof. This prevents debris from reaching the gutters while allowing safe passage underneath for homeowners or ladder access.
Evergreen trees shouldn’t hang over the roof at all. Trim off any extending branches since pine needles are notorious for clogging gutters. Deciduous trees can overhang more since leaves fall mostly straight down versus blowing onto the roof.
How Often Should I Trim Branches Near Gutters?
Inspect for new tree growth at least twice per year in spring and fall. Many trees grow rapidly in summer, extending new branches towards sunlight. Trimming twice yearly ensures nothing reaches overhang dimensions.
Target fast growing varieties like elm, cottonwood and willow for more frequent trimming every 2-3 months as needed to control their growth. Keep watch following severe storms as well since heavy winds can crack branches which then should be pruned back.
If installing leaf guards, you may not need to trim as often – test by skipping a year. But continue inspecting for new growth reaching roof edges and damaged branches that could detach and cause debris issues. Trim as needed even with guards.
What Is a Safe Distance for Trees from the Roof and Gutters?
As a general rule of thumb, trim back tree branches to maintain at least a 5-6 foot clearance between branch tips and your roof edges. This prevents most leaves and debris from reaching the gutters under normal conditions.
Evergreen varieties like pine, spruce and conifers should never directly overhang the roof. Trim these tree types so no branches whatsoever extend past your home’s footprint. Deciduous trees can overhang slightly since leaves tend to fall straight down but may still require seasonal trimming.
Installing gutter guards allows some extra leniency with trees but severe storms can still crack branches. Continue inspecting all nearby trees twice per year, trimming back any new growth encroaching on the recommended safe zones around your entire roofline and gutters.
What Kind of Routine Maintenance Prevents Gutter Damage?
Preventative gutter maintenance is essential for avoiding storm damage. Clogged, leaking gutters are more vulnerable to overflowing and blowing off the house during extreme weather. Following seasonal cleaning and inspection routines keeps them working properly.
How Often Should Gutters Be Cleaned?
Homeowners without gutter guards should clean them out at least twice per year – in early spring to remove winter debris before the rainy season; and fall to clear leaves before freezing temps arrive. Those with guards may only need occasional spot checks unless trees directly overhang the roof.
After severe storms, promptly clear any debris blown in before it causes drainage issues. Signs gutters need cleaning include visible debris piles, plants growing in corners, evidence of water stains on fascia boards, mold on roof shingles near the gutters, and puddles pooling around the foundation.
What Should I Check for During Gutter Inspections?
While cleaning gutters, take time to inspect for any areas needing repair or re-securing. Things to look for include hangers coming loose from the fascia board, separation gaps between gutter seams, holes or rust spots that leak, areas sagging away from the roof line, and any debris piles blocking drains.
Promptly re-secure any loose sections using proper gutter screws and support straps. Seal small holes with caulk designed for metal and aluminum. Clear clogged drains and apply mesh guards over them moving forward. Address issues now to mitigate further storm damage.
Contact Clean Pro for Help Protecting Your Gutters
Our qualified technicians are experts at keeping rain gutters clear and secured properly against your home. Just a small yearly investment helps avoid much costlier storm damage like inch roof leaks or interior water stains. Protect one of your most vulnerable home components and prevent major headaches. Contact us today for affordable gutter cleaning and inspection packages personalized for your property.