Tips For Maintaining Older Traditional Aluminum Gutters This Spring

Now that spring's wet weather has arrived, it's time to get started with your gutter maintenance. Keeping your traditional aluminum gutters working properly and draining effectively can be a challenge at this time of year. Knowing how to maintain your gutters and when to replace them with a more modern, functional gutter system can help you protect your home from water damage at this damp time of year.

Clean Your Gutters

Twigs, dead leaves and pine needles can build up in your gutters throughout the winter. If you don't clean out your gutters when spring comes, the entire system could become clogged. To properly clean out your gutters, you'll need work gloves, a ladder, a bucket and a trowel. Stand on the ladder so that you're positioned over the gutters. Don't use a ladder that must lean against the gutters for stability—this is bad for your gutters. Use the trowel to scoop out the debris and place it in the bucket.

When you're finished, spray inside the gutters with a strong jet of water from a hose. Flush any remaining debris out of the gutters and out the downspout. If the downspout seems clogged, use a plumber's auger to clear it.

Re-caulk As Necessary

After your gutters are fully cleaned, inspect the seams of the gutters where the caulk has been applied. Old caulk may lose effectiveness when it begins to crack and deteriorate. To fix this problem, use a caulk scraper to remove all old caulk from the gutters Once this is done, apply new caulk along all seams and cracks. This will help ensure that the gutters are waterproof.

Observe Performance

Once you've cleaned out your gutters, it's important to check their performance and ensure that they're working properly. The next time it rains, watch your gutters throughout the storm. Watch for sections that overflow with water and sides that sag. These are both indications that your gutters are not working properly. 

Know When to Repair or Replace

If your gutters have been properly cleaned and are still leaking water, then your gutters will need to be repaired or replaced. In some cases, rescrewing the gutters into the studs of your home will be enough to improve performance.

Standard gutter systems will generally last around 20 to 25 years, so if your gutters are more than 25 years old, it may be time for entirely new gutters. If you decide to replace your gutters, talk to a gutter repair person like D & M Exteriors in your area to explore your options.

Seamless gutters are a modern invention that may develop fewer clogs over time, because twigs, leaves and organic debris can often become caught on seams of traditional gutters. To find out more about seamless gutters, talk to your gutter repair person when he or she comes to your home to inspect your current traditional aluminum gutters.