If you were diligent in the fall, your gutters should be flowing free. But during the winter, our gutters and roofs can take a beating. It’s a good idea to check both of these important home systems in the spring before the big rains come. Although it hasn’t seemed like it lately with temperatures barely out of the 40s, spring (and rains!) are coming.
It’s a good idea to get on a ladder to get a bird’s eye view of the roof and gutters. First, check the inside of the gutters. Are they full of debris? Clean them out. Is there a lot of shingle sand? Worn shingles will shed the topmost sandy layer. Are there loose or missing shingles? Look around the chimney. Does the flashing around the bottom look intact and solid? Check the chimney mortar and bricks. Is all the mortar solid? Are the bricks all intact? Frequent freeze and thaw cycles can wreak havoc on brick and mortar. The weather here in the Midwest is known for this. Many simple roof and chimney repairs can be done by handy homeowners. Please consult a professional if you are not at ease on a ladder or roof. It’s not worth injury or a poorly performed repair to save a few dollars.
Let’s get back to the gutters. Most of the ice around here is thawed, so most gutters should be flowing well. Check yours by pouring a bucket of water at the end of the main gutter. Watch the downspout; I bet you see a good handful of debris wash out. No water coming out? Give the vertical downspout a good bang. Usually this is all that is necessary to dislodge a clog. You should hear the water rushing freely. Of course, make sure all downspouts flow away from the house. See also that no water flows away but then finds it’s way back. Remember: around the house foundation, water is not our friend.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO