5 Common Gutter Problems and How to Fix Them

5 Common Gutter Problems and How to Fix Them

Gutters have a big job to do. They help protect your roof and home by rerouting rainwater away from it. The trouble is, gutter problems can get in the way of accomplishing that important task, and the result can be a whole lot of damage to your roof and house. So, what do you do if your gutters seem to be underperforming? Don’t worry, you’ve got this! Just keep this list handy for an explanation of common gutter problems and how to fix ‘em.   

Problem #1: Clogged Gutters and Downspouts

Perhaps the most common gutter problem of all, clogging occurs when debris accumulates in the gutter and downspouts, blocking the flow of water and causing it to get backed up. This can result in leaks and damage to attic insulation, as well as your home’s foundation.

The weight of all that excess water, along with the sticks and leaves and other debris, can also cause your gutters to sag or even pull away from the house. Obviously, that’s not a good thing either!  

Solution: 

You should clean gutters at least once or twice a year, especially if you have a lot of trees near your home. Check for debris and obstructions following big storms, too. A simple routine of regular maintenance can eliminate this problem, and all the other problems that come with it. Just be warned though: it’s often a messy job, so don’t wear your good clothes!   

Problem #2: Sagging, Damaged, or Loose Gutters

Whether from a storm, a clogging problem, or hardware that has succumbed to the elements and deteriorated over time, sections of gutters can sag or separate from the house and joints can come apart. A saggy, damaged, or loose gutter certainly can’t do its job very well, and may allow water to get in places it shouldn’t. 

Solution: 

Sometimes, the fix for this is as easy as getting yourself some new hardware to reattach the saggy or loose sections or to secure the gutter joints back together. Other times, you may not be so lucky and will need to replace gutters entirely, depending on the damage. 

Here’s a good tip that may help to avoid the problem in the first place: Keep tree limbs cut back to at least three feet from the roof so fallen branches are less likely to cause damage to your gutters, roof, or home. Oh, and don’t forget the solution to problem #1: keep those gutters clean!

Problem #3: Leaking Gutters

If you see a constant drip or steady stream of water coming from a section of your gutter, we’re sorry to tell you, but you’ve got yourself a leak. Your gutters go through some pretty harsh wear and tear, so it’s no wonder they might sport a hole or crack here and there over time. Paint can get old and peel, too, allowing for corrosion to occur, and sealant can eventually wear off around joints or seams. 

Solution: 

Here’s the good news: small holes and cracks can be sealed with a waterproof gutter caulk or sealant, which can also be applied to seams and joints. Plus, there are patching kits for bigger holes that can be found at your local hardware store. Even better? Get yourself some seamless gutters and eliminate this problem once and for all! 

Seamless gutters are exactly that — seamless! They are customized to fit the length of your roofline and because of their design, they have no seams susceptible to leaks. Bam! Problem solved.

Problem #4: Improperly Pitched Gutters

Gravity is your gutter’s best friend, but for it to work its magic, the pitch, or angle, of your gutter has to be just right. Water needs to be able to flow smoothly to the downspout. An improper angle can inhibit the flow and cause pooling or standing water instead, and that invites all sorts of trouble. The proper pitch?  Slope your gutters at a ¼ inch for every 10 feet. And you thought you’d never use math in real life!

Solution: 

Measure and make sure your gutter to downspout is in alignment and sloped correctly. If not, try pushing it into the correct position or taking it down and rehanging it.  

Problem #5: Downspouts Draining Too Close to Foundation

Sometimes you can be so preoccupied with keeping your gutters in tip-top shape that you forget about their trusty companions — the downspouts. Besides checking regularly for clogs, you should also make sure the water dispersing from the runoff end of downspouts isn’t pooling by the foundation or basement wall. That, my friends, could have some major consequences! Believe us, you don’t want to deal with water in your basement or a compromised foundation to your home. 

Solution:

Fortunately, this is easy-peasy to correct. If your downspouts do not extend 4-6 feet from your house, head on back to the hardware store and pick up a gutter extension. This device is inexpensive and easily attaches to the bottom of the downspout so the water is dispersed far enough away to not cause any damage to your house. 

Say Goodbye to Gutter Problems for Good

Gutters giving you trouble? If you don’t want to deal with it yourself, just let Werner Roofing know! We’re happy to help you solve your gutter problems, show you some gutter options, or even install seamless gutters for long-lasting, high-performance stormwater management. Don’t let gutter problems get you down. Use this handy guide or simply give us a call.  

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OUR FREE ROOF INSPECTION

How do you know when it’s time for a new roof? The only way to be sure of your residential roof’s current condition is to have a licensed professional personally inspect it. Werner Roofing is proud to offer free roof inspections for every client, so you can be sure of your roof’s condition. Every Werner Roofing inspection comes complete with our promise: “We won’t recommend or sell a roof replacement unless it’s necessary.” 

Werner Roofing’s Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Ice Dam

Werner Roofing’s Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Ice Dam

Ice dams are one of the biggest threats to your roof in the winter. While their long icicles might look quaintly beautiful on the outside of your home, they’re responsible for massive water damage on the underside of your roof, and they can even cause shingles to curl up, a bigger problem that can affect your roof year-round. If you’re new to ice dams, check out this page for more information about what ice dams are, and how they form. If you’re just ready to jump into removing them, here’s our step-by-step guide to getting rid of ice dams once and for all:

Step 1: Stop Ice Dams from Growing

The best offense is a great defense, right? Get your home’s defense going, and stop ice dams from forming by hauling a box fan or two into your attic, and pointing them at the parts of your roof that have the greatest ice dam buildup. This helps stop ice dams from forming. The cold air freezes any melting snow, stopping it from rolling down your roof, or seeping into your attic and causing more damage. 

Step 2: Tackle Existing Ice Dams

Now that you’ve put at least a temporary stop to growing ice dams, you can tackle the ones that already exist in your home. There are a few steps to the ice dam removal process, but the most important thing to remember:

 

Do not try to hack or chip away at existing ice dams. 

 

This is bad for your roof and your gutters. You’re more likely to cause more damage by trying to break up ice with a shovel or ice pick than you are to actually get rid of ice dams. 

 

Instead, fill up an old stocking or pantyhose leg with ice melt or calcium chloride. We know this sounds a little weird, but trust us, it works. 

 

Throw the stocking up on top of the ice dams, perpendicular to your roof. You may need to fill a few if you have a number of ice dam patches. The ice melt should start working right away, though you may need to move them occasionally to ensure ice melt reaches all parts of the ice dam. 

 

A quick note: Ice melt isn’t great for the plants below your roof. If you have shrubs or decorative plants in the ground under your roof, you’ll want to protect them with a tarp, so they aren’t exposed to the calcium chloride. 

Step 3: Still Have Ice Dams? Call a Professional. 

If you still have ice dams following the ice melt trick, you’ll want to call a professional roofer. We have special tools and products designed to remove ice dams safely, and we have crews who can get rid of those ice dams for you, without causing any additional damage to your roof. If ice dams are causing serious leakage in your home, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional now — don’t wait for spring. 

Step 4: Take Preventative Measures

If your ice dams aren’t so bad or have finally been removed by ice melt or by professionals, it’s important to stay on top of them until spring rolls around and you can make long-term changes. If you’re still seeing ice dams form, make sure you keep your fans going in the attic. 

 

It’s also a good idea to take a proactive approach to some of the snow on your roof. If you’ve tried everything else, and ice dams keep showing up, you might want to consider raking the snow off your roof after a big snowfall. This will take away the potential for ice dams to form since snow isn’t sitting and melting on your roof. 

 

If you decide to rake snow off of your roof, make sure you have the right tools. A professional roof rake is important because it’s designed with the safety of your roof in mind. You don’t want to damage any shingles, and you also don’t want to hurt yourself. A roof rake comes with an extendable handle, so you don’t need to get up on the roof, and they’re designed with wheels that ensure you don’t scrape up any shingles. 

Step 5: Make Bigger Changes in the Spring

Just because you got through the winter with all of the fixes we mentioned above, doesn’t mean that’s the solution to ice dams. The best way to prevent ice dams completely, and avoid serious water damage for your roof and attic, is to make some big changes once spring comes along. A few ways to eliminate ice dams once and for all include: 

 

  • Adding insulation to your attic floor, so heat can’t escape your interior rooms, melting snow and causing ice dams. 
  • Ventilating eaves and ridge. Adding a ridge vent to your roof can circulate more cold air under the entire roof, stopping ice dams from forming in the same place. 
  • Consider running a heated cable in a zig-zag pattern along your roof’s edge. While this isn’t the best long-term solution, it is an effective, if not energy efficient, way to keep ice dams from forming, especially if you have an old home that’s just too hard to insulate. 

 

If you’re battling ice dams every winter, and just aren’t sure how to stop the massive icicles and leaking attic, talk to a professional. Ice dams can be a big issue for some of the older, historic homes in Holland, Grand Haven, and throughout West Michigan. For help combatting ice dams in your home, call the experts at Werner Roofing. We’d love to help you get rid of ice dams and protect your home from winter roof damage. Give us a call at 616-844-5382 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation quote today. 

 

What to Expect from Your Gutter Installation

What to Expect from Your Gutter Installation

Gutters tend to be one of those universally disliked features of any home. Sure, they serve a great purpose, but very few homeowners relish the idea of cleaning out gutters, let alone getting them replaced. Just like every other area of your home, gutters take a bit of maintenance, and eventually, they do wear out. 

The average lifespan of a gutter system is about 20 years (though you might be able to stretch that out with exceptional maintenance). If your gutters are getting close to that 20-year mark, you might be thinking about what it will take to get those old gutters replaced. Here’s what you can expect from a new gutter installation project by a quality roofing professional:

Step 1: Remove Old Gutters (If You Have Them)

Before you can put new gutters on, you have to take the old ones off. The first step in any gutter installation project is to carefully remove your old gutters and downspouts from the eaves and fascia of your home. If you’re still looking for the right roofing contractor to complete your gutter installation project, it’s always good to ask how they plan to remove your old gutters. They should be able to tell you what steps they’ll take to minimize any potential damage to your eaves. 

If you’re building a new home, or if you’re adding gutters to a house that didn’t previously have gutters, you won’t have to worry about this step! Your roofer can move right to the measurement step of the process. 

Step 2: Check for Damage

If your home did have existing gutters to remove, the next step is to check for any damage behind the old gutters. Depending on how long the old gutters were on your home, your roofing professional might find a few rotted boards or unusable pieces of fascia. These will have to be replaced before your new gutter system is installed. A quality roofer will do a complete inspection of your eaves and fascia, and make any necessary improvements before they move onto the next step of the gutter installation process. 

Step 3: Measure & Prepare

Once any troublesome boards have been replaced, your roofer can take true measurements of your home. With the old gutters off, it’s easier to accurately measure exactly where new gutters should go, where they should slope to downspouts, and what angle your roofer will have to connect the gutter corners. 

The measurement process is one of the most important parts of any gutter installation. The more precise your roofer’s measurements, the better your installation project will go, and the better the performance you can expect from your new gutter system. 

With measurements in hand, your roofing professional can prepare all of the materials they need for your brand new gutter system. When it comes to gutter installation, a lot of work can be done before actually attaching the new gutters to your home. Your gutter installation pro will measure and cut your new gutters according to their measurements, will assemble any necessary corners, and will make sure they cut out the appropriate holes for your new downspouts. 

Step 4: Install Gutters

Now that your gutter materials are all prepped and ready to go, your roofer will do the actual gutter installation. This process will take a few crewmembers, but can generally be finished in a day or so, depending on the size and height of your home. Most reputable gutter installation pros will use special screws to affix your gutters to the fascia boards of your home. Screws are better options than nails because they keep the gutters more secure.

Step 5: Install Downspouts

The downspouts are the last part of your gutter system to be installed. Since your gutter installation pro will have pre-cut holes for each downspout, the installation won’t take too much time but is critical. Your downspouts are responsible for carrying precipitation down and away from your home, where it can’t damage your foundation or flood your basement. Make sure your roofer installs downspouts that are appropriately directing water and precipitation out and away from your home. 

Step 6: Cleanup

The last step to gutter installation? Cleanup, of course! Like many roofing projects, a gutter installation can get messy. Quality roofing professionals will work hard to make sure your home is left exactly the way they found it. They’ll remove any leftover gutter pieces and components, and use a large magnet to pick up as many dropped screws and metal pieces as possible.

Looking for new gutters? Werner Roofing can help! As one of West Michigan’s premier residential roofers, we’re happy to install a variety of gutters on new and older homes. Give us a call at 616-844-5382 or contact us online today for your free, no-obligation quote.

5 Important Reasons to Keep Your Gutters Clean

5 Important Reasons to Keep Your Gutters Clean

Gutters. Most people have them, but nobody wants to deal with them. Once they’re up, most of us would like to just forget about them. That would be great, except that gutters need to be clean to function properly. Debris-free gutters safely direct water away from your home and back into the ground. Clogged gutters cause problems. We know gutter cleaning is one of the worst spring cleaning jobs out there, so if you need a little motivation to get up to your gutters this year, here are five important reasons to keep your gutters clean:

Protect Your Gutters

A clean gutter is a healthy, long-lasting gutter. When gutters are full of debris, water can back up in the gutter system and become trapped. When water is trapped in one spot, it puts additional pressure on gutter joints, and all that wet debris can weigh gutters down. Over time, this can lead to cracks, rusting, and leaks that threaten the lifespan of your entire gutter system. The only thing worse than cleaning the gutters is putting in new ones. Your gutters are a big investment. Keep them clean, and they’ll be around for a long time.

Prevent Wood Rot and Mold

When gutters are full of debris, rainwater can’t flow through them, down, and away from your home. This can lead to damp conditions around your house, causing mold and wood rot around the fascia of your home — the part of your roof where your gutters are typically attached. Mold is bad for obvious reasons: it can cause health problems, and worse, it’s often difficult to see and get rid of. Wood rot is more obvious. When your fascia boards begin to rot, they compromise the structure of your gutter system, which can lead to more expensive problems down the line.

Keep Out Ice Dams

If your home struggles with ice dams, as many homes in Holland and Michigan’s other lake-effect regions do, cleaning your gutters is one way to keep them at bay. When there’s debris in your gutters, it’s easier for icicles to form and build up back on your roof. Clean gutters, on the other hand, make it easy for melted snow to slide safely away from your home, helping you keep out ice dams.

Keep Your Basement Dry

Many Holland homes struggle with basement flooding, especially in the spring as the snow melts and more water than usual is sitting in the earth around your foundation. What you might not know is that clogged gutters can also be to blame for water in your basement. When gutters are clogged, water spills over the sides of the gutter, rather than traveling down the downspout and away from your home. This means that all of that water is heading right for your foundation. In the spring, when everything’s already damp and muddy, this can be just too much for your foundation to keep up with, which is how you end up with water in your basement.

Protect Your Siding

Cleaning your gutters also helps protect and prolong the life of your siding. Clean gutters direct water properly, while clogged gutters can cause water to spill out and over the gutter. When water is constantly dripping down your siding, rather than being directed away, you end up with water damage. Water will find and seep into cracks in vinyl siding, and it can cause wood rot on homes with a cedar shake or log exterior. Either way, the simple solution is to keep those gutters clean.

 

We know that cleaning gutters can be a long, hard, and dirty job. Even when you know all of the reasons why you should keep your gutters clean, it can still be difficult to get up there and do the work. If you’re not up to cleaning out your gutters this season, get in touch with the Werner Roofing professionals.

 

We’re happy to clean gutters and inspect your roof to make sure it’s in perfect condition for the rest of the year. Whether you’re in Holland, Muskegon, or elsewhere on the lakeshore, we’d love to help. Give us a call at 616-844-5382 or contact us online for a free estimate today!

Getting Your Gutters Ready For Winter

Getting Your Gutters Ready For Winter

Though they can be a bit of a hassle, gutters really do exist for a reason. They divert rain, snow, and debris from your roof, home, and foundation, and can preserve the life of your home for decades if maintained properly. That’s why it’s so important to keep them clean, and why we keep talking about gutter maintenance. Unfortunately, neglected gutters lead to serious issues like ice dams, foundation erosion, molding of your home’s exterior, and even cracks in the foundation. The only way to prevent this is to make sure your gutter system is well taken care of. And while it may be the last thing you want to hear, that all starts with cleaning them out regularly. Here are the steps you should take this season to make sure your gutters are prepped and ready for winter:

Clear Them Out

Probably the most unsavory task on the list, you will have to get up on a ladder at some point to clean out any leaves, twigs, or additional debris. We won’t judge you if you hire someone to do this part; it’s not fun. If you do decide to buckle down and clear them out yourself, all you need is a sturdy ladder, a good pair of gloves, and a gutter scoop or small shovel. Make sure you pay attention to the corners and trouble spots where leaves are more likely to get hung up.

Inspect Gutter Seams and Anchors

While you’re up cleaning out the gutters, make sure you’re observant. You’ll want to inspect each seam on your gutters for leaks, as well as the anchors attaching the gutter to the fascia. If you see any space between the gutter and the fascia, or you spot a leak, you should call a professional to patch up the problem. Any leaks or spaces can lead to water erosion of the fascia, your siding, landscaping, and even foundation. The quicker you get that fixed, the better shape your home will be in for the winter.

Check Your Downspouts

You also want to make sure that any and all downspouts are clear, as a backup could cause your downspout to freeze and crack later in the season. This job is a little easier since you can always use a garden hose with an end attachment to blast out any clumps of leaves or debris. Once the downspouts are clear, double check that they’re directing water at least 10 feet from your house, and that water is flowing away from your home. If not, it’s important to diagnose and fix the issue now, before the weather gets worse. Water that pools up near your foundation can lead to dangerous structural issues.

Inspect Home for Any Structural Damage

It’s fairly easy to check your home for any structural damage while you’re working on the downspouts. As you double-check to make sure that your downspouts are directing water away from you home, make sure you’re looking at your foundation too. If you see any signs of staining, mold, or even cracks in the foundation, it’s time for some repairs. Same goes for the siding and fascia of your home. If you see any signs of water damage, call a professional now to get the issue taken care of before a heavy storm hits.

Install Snow Guards

Here in Michigan, we get more than our fair share of snow. If you’re concerned about the snow building up and freezing in your gutters, you should consider installing snow guards. While they’re absolutely not necessary, they are really great at managing the amount of snow that builds up in your gutters, and ensure your gutter system doesn’t experience any excessive pressure or weight due to the increase of snowfall.

Add Extensions

Remember checking on your downspouts? Well if you’re concerned they’re not directing water far enough away from your home, you might want to think about adding a few extensions. Extensions function to direct the flow of water even farther away from the foundation, easing any worries you may have had about cracks or leaks in your foundation. They also work great if you’re trying to avoid icy patches near your patio. Relatively inexpensive, downspout extensions are a quick and easy solution you can install yourself.

If you have any more questions about getting your roof or gutters ready for the upcoming winter season, make sure to give Werner Roofing a call! We’ve been in the business for decades and would be more than happy to make any repairs you need to your roof or gutter before the snow hits. Give our office a call at 616-844-5382, or request a free estimate online today!

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