A few centimetres of rain can mean 1,900 gallons of water deluging an average sized roof. If not controlled by well-functioning eavestroughs and downspouts, over time this water can lead to severe roof and fascia damage. As well, water can cause foundation and basement problems if not led away from the building because the downspout is clogged. Damage to flower beds and soil erosion can also occur.
Regular eavestrough cleaning and maintenance can prolong the life of your eavestrough system. Eavestroughs can last anywhere from a few years or for the lifetime of your building, depending on the materials and workmanship, and whether they have been regularly maintained.
Problems caused by lack of eavestrough cleaning and maintenance
- Eavestroughs become clogged with debris, and then overflow.
- They can be ripped from their moorings by wind, ice and snow.
- They can burst open from backed-up frozen water.
All of this leads to the water damage to roofs, fascia, and foundations that we are trying to avoid.
Signs you may need eavestrough cleaning and maintenance
- You have nearby tall trees higher than your roof. Even if you have eavestrough guards, tree debris, and particularly pine needles, require clearing.
- Water is pooling near your building’s foundation.
- It is spring, fall, and/or the eavestroughs have not been cleaned or checked in a while.
- Sometimes, a big storm in a heavily treed area is all it takes to make a cleaning necessary.
Types of eavestrough maintenance
In some cases, eavestrough cleaning and maintenance can be done by the homeowner. However, if your building is higher than one story, or has specially designed eavestrough features, it is best to call in a professional roofing company.
Maintenance requires clearing debris by hand, using tools such as a trowel or eavestrough scoop. The downspout and elbow may be detached, taken apart, cleared and flushed. The eavestroughs themselves will be scooped. Any guards will have to be cleaned, and may require special techniques, depending on what kind they are.
Once everything has been cleaned, and the downspout and elbow are reattached, everything is flushed with a hose to check that it is draining properly, and there are no cracks or leaks. Then, hardware attaching the eavestrough system is tightened, moved, or replaced. And finally, leaks are resealed once the eavestroughs are dry, using special caulk. Cosmetic touch-ups with paint can add a final touch.
Fall and spring
These are the times to check and clean your eavestroughs on a regular basis. Both seasons place burdens on the eavestroughs in terms of leaves, needles, and tree seeds. As well, these times often have heavy rain, and, in the fall, you want to be ready for the winter ahead. If you are in a neighbourhood filled with trees, you may also need more frequent cleanings and repairs.
In fall, it’s also a good idea to get debris removed from your roof, partly because it can clog eavestroughs but also because it is a fire hazard. *See our upcoming blog post on roof maintenance.
What the Ottawa roofing professionals at McArthur Construction can do for you:
Hiring professionals takes care of safety concerns, as well as preventing damage to roofing materials. Such damage may not be covered by warranties if you cause it. We provide comprehensive services, including:
- Removal of debris from eavestroughs and roofs, and the flushing of eavestroughs and downspouts. We can do this either one time only or on a scheduled basis.
- Eavestrough repair and reattachment to walls and roofs.
- While ice dams can occur whether or not there are eavestroughs and are more due to roof insulation/ventilation issues (*see upcoming blog), some homeowners install heaters into their eavestroughs to help prevent this. We can assist you with this.
- Installation of new eavestroughs, guards, and downspouts.
- Seamless eavestroughs specially fit to your building can be made on site.
- There are a wide variety of eavestroughs and eavestrough materials, including wood, vinyl, and metals (copper, zinc, steel, aluminum). As well, there are many kinds of leaf shields, debris stoppers, and accessories. Materials all have different pros, cons, and price points. Our professionals can help you select what fits your needs best.
In summary, maintain those eavestroughs and you are on your way to a cozy winter!
Get your FREE eavestrough cleaning and maintenance estimate from the roofing experts at McArthur Construction!