Your gutters. You probably don’t think about them until they look like they’re falling off your roof, or they’re filled with leaves, or you notice a new leak. But really, your gutters are the unsung hero of your home. Why do we say that? Your gutters protect the foundation, walls, windows and even the paint job of your home from damaging water. How much does that matter? How much rain can possibly fall on my roof? On an average roof, 1 inch of water is over 7,000 litres of water that your gutters are protecting from washing over the side of your home. That’s enough water to cause substantial damage to the substrate (below grade part of your home) if your gutters don’t do their job properly.
The solution? Clean your gutters on a regular basis. If you don’t, you should expect problems with standing water, the potential for mold, and even in some cases a leaking roof or flooded basement. Another potential is that gutters filled with rotting leaves and debris becomes a pretty good-looking home for pests. Termites for example actively seek out moisture. In summer mosquitoes seek out standing water, and no one wants mosquitoes around. All that water and debris is heavy, and over time exceeds the weight limit it can bear, eventually pulling away from your fascia board (this is where gutters attach to your home) and could result in costly repairs.
When Should You Clean Your Gutters?
A good rule of thumb is to clean your gutters twice a year. Spring and fall are great times to do so. If you have large trees on your property, particularly near or over your gutters, then you may need to do so more often.
Victoria Gutters often suggests the installation of Alu-Rex gutter guards as these greatly reduce the need for your gutters being cleaned.
How Do I Know When My Gutters Need Cleaning?
Here are the signs that your gutters are past due for a clean:
Alu-Rex gutters from Victoria Gutter Installation have a lifetime warranty and you should expect your gutters to survive the length of your home’s life. But that still depends on proper maintenance.
Before you go get the ladder out of the garage though, it’s important to recognize that cleaning your gutters can be dangerous work high off the ground. Isn’t it better (and safer) to hire the professionals? Give us a call; we’re happy to help out!
Victoria has many heritage homes. It’s part of what makes Victoria such an awesome place to live. There are many benefits to owning a heritage home, and it’s no secret, we have millions of visitors here every year to see Victoria’s plethora of heritage homes. If you own a heritage home however you are no doubt familiar with the awesome responsibility placed on your shoulders to maintain these classic beauties to keep them in tip-top shape. The city of Victoria will gladly help you meet these expectations, but they also place specific limitations on your ability to “do what you want” to your home, and rather set limitations on colour choices and your ability to add additions or renovate your home.
If you’re feeling a little confused about the entire process, we’re here to help.
First – What Resources Are Available?
The Victoria Heritage Foundation is your new best friend! This site has many resources available online and off, for what is expected of you, what kind of grants are available to you as an owner of a Victoria Heritage Home, and of course how to get your home registered as a heritage home. Looking for a map for a walking tour of all of Victoria’s heritage homes and their background? The Victoria Heritage Foundation is the right place for you.
Second – Where to Find Heritage Contractors?
You’re gonna want to skip the Yellow Pages for this one. General contractors are not for you! You want specialists who are familiar with what is, and what isn’t allowed in a Heritage Building Renovation. We here at Victoria Gutter Installation are proud to call ourselves experts on this subject and can certainly help you find other contractors who are as well. If you plan to hire a contractor be sure to interview them first. Ask questions (and get pictures) of jobs previously completed and ask for reviews (no, not those fake online ones, actual humans – get a phone number if you can).
Third – You Can Never Ask Too Many Questions
Your heritage home designation saves you tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and other grants and you would certainly want to protect that at all costs. Be sure to ask as many questions at every step of the way as possible. Be sure your contractor understands what is expected of them, contact the VHF if you’re not sure, and always double check the answers you get before proceeding. Yes, it takes a little more effort, but it’s worth it in the long run to protect those savings!
Fourth – A Bit of Healthy Competition Never Hurt
Yes, heritage homes are amazing, but even if you’ve got one that you love to bits, did you know the Times Colonist has an annual “Ten Best Heritage Homes” list? Yup, use it to get some ideas for your renovation or set your goals on making next years list, it’s up to you how you use this information!
As you may recall, the winter of 2016-17 was quite an epic one around here. Many homeowners found out the hard way that their gutters weren’t up to the challenging winter conditions.
Ice and snow accumulations bring the potential for headaches beyond those associated with white-knuckle driving; ice and snow buildup can damage a home’s roof and gutters, and in many cases can critically damage both.
Roofing and gutters are damaged by ice and snow accumulations in two ways. The first is that the sheer weight of a heavy snow can create enough downward pressure to dislodge guttering or in extreme cases, collapse a roof. The lower the angle of the roof’s slope, the greater the pressure on load-bearing struts will be from the accumulation of several inches of snow. Snow that will inch its way off your roof and plow through anything in its way. Think glacier cutting through rock…except it’s your gutters getting cut through.
The second, and more prevalent, cause of roof and gutter damage comes from the formation of ice dams. An ice dam is created when heat emanating from the home’s attic melts snow on the roof, which then refreezes after it trickles into the gutters. The ice buildup prevents melt water from flowing through the gutters and out the downspouts. Ice dams can cause melt water to back up and go under the roof’s shingles. This leads to leaks and water damage to the roof, fascia and soffit. An ice dam also causes water to spill over the side of the gutter and soak into the ground next to the home’s foundation. In turn, this leads to foundation damage or water seeping into the basement or crawlspace.
Okay, this all sounds terrible! What do we do to prevent this from happening?
Take action. Now. While it’s still nice enough to be outside and the only thing attacking your roof are seagulls, and the snow isn’t packing on your roof. Long before the snow even enters your mind, this should be on your radar as part of your annual home maintenance checklist.
Prevent damage from ice and snow in the following ways:
First, ensure your gutters are in good repair and that you’re using a gutter guard system like our gutter guards of choice: Alu-Rex. This will prevent ice dams, is strong enough to stand up to the snow buildup, and will allow melted water from ice to flow out constantly.
Second, if you waited too long and it’s not 30 degrees (at least positive 30 degrees) outside when you read this, then use a roof rake to remove snow buildup from the roof. The tool’s telescoping handle allows the homeowner to remain on the ground as you scrape snow off shingles and knocks icicles from the guttering. Roof rakes are available at most hardware or home improvement stores.
Third, a well-insulated attic loses less heat, and an attic with good ventilation traps less ambient heat. Maintaining adequate attic insulation is the first step in preventing ice dams.
Get prepared in stages. Stage 2 should be revisited in the fall, when you should remove leaves and other debris from the gutters. This will help to clear the path for water to flow, which also helps prevent ice dams.
Finally, adding heating cables to the roof and gutters prevents snow from building up and also eliminates the possibility of water refreezing in the gutters. Heating cables are most often used in areas known for heavy snowfall, which apparently Victoria is now becoming. Thanks global warming!
Snow is an expected weather event in Victoria these days, but damage to roofing and gutters doesn’t have to be part of that picture. Preventing roof damage using these simple measures is worth several thousand dollars’ worth of cure.