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Atlanta Roofing: Article About Winter Gutter Maintenance

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Gutter system maintenance isn't usually a primary concern for homeowners. However, it is very important for preventing damage to a home. This is particularly true for the colder months of the year. Ignoring the gutter system's ability to drain water off the roof can easily end up draining a homeowner's wallet. This is why gutter system maintenance is vital for a home, especially during winter months. An Atlanta roofing professional can help with gutter system upkeep and prevent the need for expensive repairs.

Water, in its many forms, can cause damage to any area of a home. For example, water that collects on a roof, from either rain or melted snow, will seep into roofing materials, causing rot and sagging of the deck. Water can also cause damage to the foundation of a home by softening basement walls. A gutter system consists of the gutters and downspouts and works to redirect water to prevent structural damage.

Gutters are attached horizontally to the roof and are set at an angle to pass water to downspouts. Downspouts are attached to the home vertically and deliver water from the gutters to the ground. The gutter system becomes compromised when there are clogs due to the buildup of debris, such as ice and twigs.

Clearing debris from the gutter system during winter is unpleasant but necessary. In wintertime, melted snow can freeze around other debris, like twigs and leaves, causing difficult blockages in gutters and downspouts. If the clog isn't completely blocking the gutter system, it is better to wait until the ice thaws out. Also when searching for clogs, be sure to check corners and any junction area.

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These spots are where leaves, twigs and ice are likely to collect.

Even if there are no trees surrounding the home, there is still a chance for clogs to develop. Debris comes in many forms. For instance, asphalt shingles are notorious for having particles break away, usually due to rain, that get clogged in gutters. Using gutter screens can prevent this. The buildup of debris in gutters can also cause settling.

Gutters settle when the extra weight of debris causes them to droop downward and away from the roof. This downward drooping makes the gutters unable to redirect water to the downspouts. When this happens, the gutter system is no longer functional. As a result, water collects on the roof and other places. To check the gutters for settling, use a water hose to spray water on the roof. Watch the corners of the gutter system for any leaking. Leaks are indicators that gutters have begun to settle.

There are other checks that a homeowner can do to make sure the gutter system is properly functioning. One check is for structural damage. Examine the roof, foundation and siding of the home for water damage, and do repairs where necessary. Another check should be for the downspouts and other diverters. Make sure that water is being led a minimum of 10 feet from the foundation of the home and at a downward slope. Gutter system maintenance can be tricky and hard work, but there are professional services available to make these tasks easier.

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