Summer is at its end, and as an Ishpeming home inspector I’m here today to remind you that gutter maintenance needs to be added to your fall to-do list – especially before the leaves start to drop.

The bottom line is this: gutter maintenance is an important part of homeownership in the UP, and with fall quickly approaching, NOW is the perfect time to get it done.

Read on to learn:

  • Gutter maintenance 101 – the top things you need to keep in mind when it comes to Fall gutter maintenance.
  • How a roof drainage system works
  • Common gutter problems I find as a Negaunee, Marquette, and Ishpeming home inspector
  • And more!

Also – I’m giving you a FREE gutter maintenance checklist to help you get started.

How a Roof Drainage System Works

The most common roof-drainage control system in residential construction is gutters hung from the roof edge attached to downspouts. These downspouts cast water away from the foundation and structural elements of the home to avoid water intrusion.

Common Problems Caused by Failing Drainage Systems in the U.P.

Staying on top of your gutters is a vital part of keeping your home in good shape – when gutters fail or malfunction, you could be faced with severe (and costly) structural problems down the line. Additionally, when soil becomes saturated near the foundation, it can lose its ability to support the weight of the house. If you read our recent blog on foundations, you understand how critical a crumbling foundation can be. If you haven’t had a chance to read my blog on foundation issues – click here to do so.

An infographic of a downspout placed too close to a home causing water intrusion into the home's basement.
Improperly installed downspouts can cause significant foundation problems in your home. Examine the picture above to see how this happens.

Problems with gutters are usually attributed to three factors:

  1. The quality of installation. When gutters are poorly installed, they will have an improper slope. The result of an improper slope is standing water or an accumulation of sediment away from the downspout. 
  2. The type of materials. Gutters can be made of aluminum, copper, vinyl, and steel. Aluminum and vinyl gutters are the most fragile and prone to cracking, denting, and breakage.
  3. Severe environmental conditions. Think sleet, falling ice, hail, and tree damage.

Or problems can be caused by a combination of the three. Luckily, there is a lot you can do to extend the longevity and functionality of your gutters. I’ll provide the details in my checklist below.  

The Ishpeming Home Inspector’s Fall Gutter Maintenance Checklist

Autumn is the ideal time to maintain your gutters because it’s when the most debris and leaves can clog up your gutter system. You can absolutely do D.I.Y. maintenance on your gutters, but if heights aren’t your thing or if you have a limited range of motion, you may want to call in a professional. If you’d like to do your own maintenance, use this checklist as your guide:

Before You Get Started…

What you’ll need:

  • A safe and sturdy ladder
  • Gloves
  • A bucket
  • Another person to hold the bottom of the ladder and assist you if you need help in an emergency

The Ishpeming Home Inspector’s Fall Gutter Maintenance Checklist

  • Consider installing gutter guards to avoid having to clean out your gutter as often.
  • Clean out all debris from the gutters (be careful not to lean on gutters, this can be dangerous and damage your gutter system).
  • Inspect your gutters paying extra attention to the seams (this is where most gutters fail). Don’t forget to check the hardware to ensure it is securely fastened to the house and there aren’t any gaps.
  • Examine the downspouts for any accumulation of leaves, sticks, or debris. Remove any debris you may find.
  • Ensure downspouts are casting water at least ten feet away from the house.
  • If you have any concerns about your gutters’ functionality or condition, call a local contractor or home inspector to figure out what’s going on.

Schedule Your Maintenance Inspection Today

Ishpeming Home Inspector Rich Beasley
Ishpeming Home Inspector Rich Beasley

A little time spent now can do wonders to protect your gutter system against damage this fall and winter. If you find any questionable issues with your gutters, roof, or any other part of your home, for that matter, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at U.P. Home Inspection LLC for an inspection.

Schedule Your Buyer’s, Seller’s, or Maintenance Inspection with Rich Beasley, Marquette, Negaunee, and Ishpeming home inspector today!

I always look forward to providing the peace of mind only a home inspection report can give.

Schedule My Inspection Today