August 23, 2021

Inspect your Home’s Gutter System

Katie and Gene Hamilton

Bring Binocular News

Take a close-up look at gutters and downspouts 

Avoid climbing a ladder and inspect your gutter system for drips or damage with binoculars instead. Get a good view of the gutter system when it rains and stand away from the house using a pair of binoculars. First look at the roofing for a quick roof inspection and see that the shingles are secure and rain water is flowing down them. Look for missing shingles that may need to be replaced. If there is any sign of roof damage call a roofing contractor to make the repair.

Protect the foundation of a house by inspecting gutters and downspouts to see they are clean and water flows through them.
Protect the foundation of your home by inspecting the gutter and downspout drainage system.

To inspect water damage use binoculars. Then focus on the gutters and downspouts. 

  • Look for a build up of leaves, pine needles and debris overflowing from the gutters that create a clog, especially at corners. 
  • Look at the siding, fascia board and the underside of the eaves and gutters for water stains that are a sign of a leak. 
  • Find pinprick holes in the gutter or downspout that drip long after the rain stops. 
  • Streaks or water stains on the siding beneath the gutters also can indicate a leak

Any home inspections calls for checking the fasteners holding gutters and downspouts to the house. Use binoculars to make sure that fastener especially the large hanger spikes supporting the gutters, are not protruding from the front edge of the gutters. If a few are loose, a couple of hammer blows will drive them back snug against the gutter.    

Follow the downspout to the ground where a $10 rubber splash block should direct the water runoff away from the house. If you don’t have splash blocks, get one for the end of each downspout to divert water away for the home’s foundation or crawl space.

Divert water away from the foundation

After a heavy rainfall snoop around the exterior of your house to look for signs of damage to the gutter systems and downspouts. As rain hits the roof and pours down the shingles it’s important that the water flows through the gutters and into the downspouts; a clogged gutter system overflow can cause water to pool around the ground and penetrate the foundation. Regular home maintenance should include gutter cleaning and a thorough inspection of the downspouts that empty rainwater into splash blocks or additional downspouts to be carried away from the home’s foundation and prevent water damage from rain runoff.

2 easy repairs for a handy homeowner

How to clean gutters:

If there are leaves or debris clogging the gutters, clean them. You can hire a handyman or if you’re comfortable working on a ladder, clean them yourself. It’s a messy job that involves wearing rubber gloves to scoop the debris out of the gutter into a bucket. When they are clean use a long garden hose to flush out the gutter to see that water flows through to the downspout and away from the house.

How to repair leaks:

When gutters and downspouts are clean and free of debris let them dry. Then patch holes in gutters and downspouts with a gutter sealant or repair kit designed for the job. You’ll find them easy to use following the directions and sold at hardware stores and home centers. Complete the repair by applying caulk to all joints and seal. 

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Gene and Katie Hamilton are long-time writers about using binoculars for boating, bird watching, stargazing and traveling. They are members of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
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