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By Clint Briscoe
Gutters play an important part in protecting homes from water damage, but they cannot do it alone. From time to time, they need a little help from homeowners too.
When clean and in good repair, gutters direct rainwater away from a home's foundation. However, gutters that are clogged with leaves or other debris can allow rainwater to damage the home's siding, flood basements and cause foundation problems among other things.
Here are some important points to keep in mind when thinking about gutters:
A Clean Sweep
Gutters should be cleaned at the beginning of fall and again during spring. Homes in wooded areas may need more frequent cleanings. While gutter cleaning can be a DIY project, it's best to hire a pro. They will get the job done faster and have more experience working on ladders.
Keeping gutters clean can be a major hassle, but gutter guards can help. These additions fit over the gutter and prevent it from becoming filled with debris. Gutter guards will not totally eliminate the need for future cleanings so choose a system that will allow easy access when cleanings are necessary.
Repair or to Replace?
Although some gutter systems can last for more than 20 years, no gutter will last forever. Gutters that are damaged, rusting or pulling away from the house may need to be replaced. Minor repairs such as leaky seams can often be repaired with caulk or other materials. So, don't be too quick to replace an entire section. This can be costly.
Sectional vs. Seamless
If replacing gutters, there are two options: sectional and seamless. Sectional gutters come in pieces that are joined together by connectors. Sectional gutters are prone to leaks around the seams of the connectors, which is a major drawback. Seamless gutters are continuous and have seams only at end caps, downspouts and corners. This greatly reduces the likelihood of leaks. Seamless gutters must be made to size and require a professional with special equipment.
choice of material