As the seasons change from autumn to winter, spring thaw may be the farthest thing from your mind. It pays to be prepared.  You can help prevent water leaking into your basement by ensuring that it flows away from your house. The best way to do that? Cleaning your gutters and removing any debris before the worst of winter hits. As snow and ice accumulate, and then thaw, properly maintained gutters will direct water away from your home’s foundation.

Leaves, sticks and other debris can clog your gutters, causing water to overflow and accumulate near your house’s foundation. Over time, this water will make its way into your basement. This makes preparing your gutters for winter one of the best steps you can take in preventing water intrusion into your basement.

Safety first

Never try to clean your gutters from the roof — it may seem like an easy way to get this job done, but it’s much safer to do this chore on a ladder. Always keep your waist between the uprights of the ladder, and never reach too far out. Make sure that you set the ladder up on stable, even ground and have a friend or family member act as a spotter.

Getting started

If possible, wait until your gutters are dry. Otherwise the debris will be mucky. It’s a good idea to lay a tarp out underneath the gutter to collect debris as you toss it out of the gutter. As you move the ladder down the gutter, just move the tarp as well. You can also collect the debris in a bucket hanging from a hook on your ladder.

Begin cleaning out the gutters at the downspout. Pull out any leaves and debris, and scoop out any sediment — it’s a good idea to protect your hands with work gloves. Once you’ve cleaned out as much debris and sediment as you safely can, move the ladder and repeat the process along the entire length of your gutter.

Spray it out

Once you’ve gotten your gutters as clean as possible, use your garden hose to rinse out any fine debris. Start at the end farthest from the downspout, and wash any sediment to your downspout. Watch the bottom of your downspout — if water is only trickling out, then you’ve got a clog. In that case, spray water at high pressure directly into the downspout to clear it out.

Level your gutters

All of your gutters should align in a slight downward slope toward your downspout — as you rinsed out your gutters, did the water pool or collect anywhere? If so, you’ve probably got a sagging gutter.

Check the brackets that fasten the gutters to your house. You might need to tighten them with a screwdriver to realign the gutter. If the brackets are bent, you can apply a little pressure to them to bend them back into shape. Once you’re done, run water down the gutter again to make sure that you’ve fixed the sag.

Still having trouble aligning your gutters? Contact Ray Arnold Masonry & General Contracting to repair any problems or to install new gutters, brackets or downspouts.

Install downspout extensions

You don’t want water to come out of your downspouts right at the base of your house. That simply directs the water toward your basement. That’s why you want to install downspout extensions. This will ensure that rain and snow melt drains away from your home.

Call Ray Arnold Masonry & General Contracting for all your gutter needs

Do your gutters or downspouts need a little more attention than just general maintenance? Has wind, excess debris, fallen branches or ice dams damaged your gutters or thrown them out of alignment?

Let the experts at Ray Arnold Masonry & General Contracting repair or replace your gutters. Give us a call at 440-834-8252 or reach out using our contact form. We’ll get you a free quote and have your gutters working perfectly in no time.