How is a Gutter Like a Boy Scout ? Things You Should Know Besides "Time to Clean the Gutters"

Nov 23, 2010

Why Clean Your Gutters?

The obvious, and not so obvious

Most homeowners realize the importance of keeping gutters clean. A gutter system is designed to channel the water that runs off your roof into downspouts and away from the house. And that can't happen when there's stuff in the way: dirt, leaves, pine needles, acorns, crabapples, and the odd item whose origins remain a mystery.

If you're short on time, you'll want to hire a professional to clean and maintain your gutters because if you don't keep them clear and in repair you might get more than a drenching at the door. You could end up with far worse problems.

The overflow from clogged gutters can cause:

  • wood rot
  • roof damage
  • water seepage into the house
  • cracks and undermining of the foundation
  • water leakage into the basement
  • mold and other water-related problems

How Can Gutters Be Involved in All That?

A properly functioning gutter system carries water, unimpeded, to the downspouts that further direct its flow away from the foundation. When water overflows your gutters, the downspout system doesn't work, so the water pools, saturating the soil by the foundation. This erodes your foundation, weakening it with tiny cracks. Make sure downspouts are not clogged. That's definitely on the checklist at Innovation Construction Company: we just did a house where the PVC pipe connection to the downspout was clogged for years -- at the corner of the foundation, there was a gap where water had eroded the concrete.

After a time, the cracks will work all the way through the foundation and water will leak into your basement. Water in your basement can lead to problems with mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Clogged gutters can damage your home, but they're also their own worst enemies. If gutters are clogged, they carry more weight than they were designed for. The fasteners attaching the gutters to the house aren't meant to withstand the weight of wet leaves and debris.

Gutters left too long between cleanings become overburdened, weakening their structure – and they start to pull away from your house. Annual or semi-annual cleaning and maintenance of your gutters and downspouts is a must for extending the life of your gutter system. It's also one of the simplest and cheapest ways to avoid costly repairs to walls, roofs, and foundations.

Your gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year:

  • Late fall -- perhaps the most important time to attend to gutters because you need to clear out leaves and other debris of the season before the melting winter snows give your gutter system a workout
  • Early spring -- to clear out any left over ice in addition to debris that has accumulated during the winter

Homes in heavily wooded areas need it up to three or four times a year. But people should keep an eye on them. Some gutters have been known to go from clean to clogged in a couple of weeks.

Scheduling regular gutter cleaning by a reputable local professional will

  • extend gutter life
  • protect your roof, walls, and foundation
  • alert you to repair or replacement concerns

Innovation Construction Co. offers a cleanout service to everybody along with a free assessment of the condition of the existing gutters and recommendations to the homeowners for continued trouble-free enjoyment of their home.

Why Use a Professional When I Can Clean My Gutters Myself?

Of course, most people are perfectly capable of cleaning their own gutters. The small savings from a do-it-yourself job might not really be worth it, though, if you consider:

  • Safety -- with ladder accidents the leading cause of serious home injuries
  • Health -- for those with mold allergies
  • Time -- even if you have enough, you'll be less likely to put it off with a professional doing the job on a schedule.

All These Guys Say They Do Gutters. How Do I Choose?

It makes sense to hire a professional gutter cleaning service if you want to make sure that "gutter time" doesn't sneak by your busy schedule, turning little problems into big ones. Plus, even though you know what you're doing, is it worth getting hurt?

It makes even more sense to hire a local professional in the building industry who understands your home's structure, is licensed through the Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractors' Guarantee Fund, and offers a proven reputation along with gutter service. You get the benefit of having a trusted professional on the job site who can alert you to some minor fixes that will save you more involved repairs in the long run.

You also avoid using an unlicensed, unbonded or uninsured gutter cleaner: if he falls off a ladder and doesn't have insurance, you could lose your house in a lawsuit. Not so with a reputable, licensed contractor like Innovation Construction Company, your local builder who has the necessary training, equipment, and insurance – and

  • is an established professional
  • is licensed and insured
  • provides a fair and accurate quote, with no surprises
  • is reliable – on schedule and on time
  • respects your property and leaves it clean
  • takes pride in high quality work, with the testimonials to prove it
  • doesn't pressure you to buy gutters you don't need – but offers guaranteed, highest quality products and alternative systems if you do

At Innovation Construction Company, we use only seamless, rustless, heavy duty  aluminum gutter that should last 40 years, with the highest quality sealant that's guaranteed for 50 years. Copper will last twice as long, but it's also twice as expensive.And white is not the only color option. In addition to white we offer brown, bronze, almond, gray, clay, and evergreen.

We also supply and install alternative gutter protection products such as “Leaf Relief” -- a permanent, durable never-clog system that additionally offers resistance to ice dams and is not visible from the street.

Gutter expert

Innovation Construction Co. owner, Keith Dmytryck of West Wareham Massachusetts, Member National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Better Business Bureau triple “A” rated since 2007, Mass. Licensed unrestricted Construction Superintendent and Home Improvement Contractor in the building and remodeling business since 1980.

How is a gutter like a Boy Scout?

Okay, there's only so much a gutter can do. It definitely is Helpful (a biggie in the Boy Scout motto). It's not Courteous, Cheerful or Loyal. But, while a well-maintained gutter is obviously Clean, it's also most definitely Thrifty. And, no pressure on the Boy Scouts -- Smart!

Your Weekly Chuckle

A man walks into a building site's foreman's office. He says "The sign
outside says you need a handyman."

"That's right," replies the foreman. "Can you lay bricks?"

"No, I can't do that."

"Can you mix concrete?"

"No, never done that."

"Know any plumbing?"

"Not really."

"Are you an electrician?"

"Well," says the puzzled foreman, "You can't do much, so what makes you so damned handy then?"

"I only live around the corner."


Please visit our website or call 508-291-4907 for a free consultation.