Preparing Your Gutters For A Winter Storm: Three Steps To Take

Construction & Contractors Blog

Winter storms bring with them lots of heavy snow and ice, which can cause damage to your gutters. Preparing your gutters for winter storms can ensure proper water drainage from your home and prevent ice dams on the sides of the building. Here are three critical steps to take before the first winter snowfall to keep your gutters working smoothly all the way until the spring.

Have Your Gutters Cleaned

Gutter cleaning goes beyond simply removing leaves and twigs from your gutters. Over the summer months, your gutters may become a home for birds, squirrels and pesky insects. Having your gutters cleaned before the winter will remove these obstructions from the gutters safely, and may even prevent them from coming back to roost in your gutters later. If your home has tree branches near the gutters and roof line, you may have some larger branches and debris from your tree that needs to be removed. Once your gutters are clear, melting snow and ice from the approaching storms can drain properly through your gutter system.

Check Your Downspout Pitches

Even if your gutters are free from debris, you may still have issues with water coming into your home if your downspouts are not angled properly. Have your contractor check the pitch for each downspout to ensure the water will flow down and away from your home. Downspouts on an incorrect pitch can actually direct water toward your home, where it can enter your basement through tiny cracks in your foundation.

Consider Gutter Guards

Gutter guards can prevent leaves and debris from blocking your gutters, but they can also prevent damage to your gutters caused by ice. The thawing and refreezing of ice in gutters can cause damage to your gutter system. Gutter guards can prevent this by enhancing your drainage system so water does not sit in the gutters. Gutter guards also facilitate proper drainage of water as warm weather approaches and snow begins to melt. With water draining properly and not sitting in the gutters, these guards can also help to eliminate some ice dams on your home.

Talk to your contractor about some other steps you can take to prepare your home for winter. You may need to install extra flashing or insulation to prevent ice dams from forming on the roof, and you might also need to trim trees back to keep your roof and gutter free from debris all year round. Taking a few precautions before winter weather strikes can ensure your home is ready to stand up to Mother Nature.

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