most common gutter questions


Gutters are never something we should take for granted. They have an extremely valuable purpose to homes and can even add to the curb appeal. In order to get the best value from gutters and prevent any major problems that can be caused by a lack of gutters—or no gutters at all—we need to know how to care for them. Here are some of the most common questions we get related to gutter maintenance and gutter installation.

When should I clean my gutters?

Every year, you should clean your gutters after winter and during the fall. Following winter and entering spring, you want to get rid of anything that ended up in the gutters over the course of the harsh winter weather, such as branches, leaves and other debris. Getting all that out of there allows the spring rains to flow freely through the gutters and be directed as intended. Similarly, as leaves fall in autumn, you’ll want to get your gutters cleared in preparation for winter. If your gutters are clogged and the winter is particularly cold and snowy, you’re at greater risk for problems as clogged water freezes in your gutters.

How often should I clean my gutters?

As discussed above, you should clean your gutters at least twice a year, but there may be circumstances that make you want to clean them more often. If there’s been a large storm and branches or leaves have fallen onto your roof, you may want to check to see if your gutters need to be cleared. Likewise, if you have tree branches hanging over your roof, it’s bound to drop leaves (or pine needles) throughout the year, which may require you to clean your gutters more than twice annually.

What is gutter overflow?

Gutter overflow is not something you want, but luckily it’s usually not hard to find the cause. First check your downspout flow. If it’s clogged with leaves, branches, trash or other detritus, clear it out and you’ve likely solved the problem. If your downspouts look clear, the next step is to check your gutter pitch and tilt. If the gutters are tilted away from the house, water may be overflowing because of the angle. Also, you need to make sure the pitch is appropriate toward the downspouts. Too steep and you could see overflow near the downspout. Not steep enough and you may notice water pooling in one spot. The third potential cause is gutters that are too small. If there’s too much rain for your gutters, there’s nowhere for the water to go except over the top. All these causes can be rectified, so if you notice gutter overflow, don’t wait to act on it.

Are my gutters the right size?

For both K-style and half-round gutters, you’ll have the option of five- or six-inch gutters. If you’re unsure, it’s best to go with the largest size to give you peace of mind that your gutters can handle the job. For K-style gutters, if your adjusted square footage (drainage area times roof-pitch factor and rainfall intensity) is about 8,000 square feet or more, you need six-inch gutters. If it’s less, you can use five-inch gutters. For half-round gutters, you’ll want to go with the six-inch model if your adjusted square footage is around 3,800 feet or more. Five-inch gutters will suffice for smaller roofs. Need help calculating your adjusted square footage? Contact us.

Can I pressure wash my gutters?

Yes. In fact, you should. Pressure washing inside the gutters is a crucial component to a thorough gutter cleaning. As far as the face of the gutters, you can pressure wash there as well, although you may also want to consider a soft wash.

Can I paint my gutters?

Yes, especially if you have aluminum gutters. Painting gutters, if done correctly, can be a DIY project or you can always hire a professional.

Why are my gutters turning black?

The good news: it’s not dirt. Generally, black streaks represent one of two things. You’re either seeing molecular bonding, which is when parts of the asphalt shingles or tar chemically bond to the gutters, or you’re seeing mold. If you see black streaks, you should definitely have your gutters checked by a professional and take care of the issue if deemed necessary.

How do I fix a leaky gutter corner?

In most cases, you can do this yourself. The source of the leak is likely the joint connection between the gutter and the downspout. Check there first.