Have you ever wondered what the pipes extruding through the top of your roof were? In most cases they are plumbing vents. They are there to allow the water in your plumbing to flow smoothly. They typically range in size from about 2″- 4″, and are sealed water tight with a pipe collar or boot. The most common flashing consist of an aluminum base with a rubber gasket that seals tightly around the vent. Unfortunately, while the aluminum base will last a lifetime, the rubber gasket has a much shorter lifespan and can crack and deteriorate, when exposed to the elements, in just a few short years. Cracked or damaged pipe collars will leak water into your attic and cause mold & mildew to grow, or if left alone long enough, can cause even more signification water damage.
When we complete gutter cleanings for our customers, we always check the condition of each pipe collar. If a pipe collar is damaged we can generally repair it right there on the spot for a minimal cost to the homeowner. This is because we carry replacement rubber gaskets on all of our trucks. By replacing the damaged part of the pipe collar only, we are able to complete the repair quickly and easily, preventing costly water damage while also saving the customer money.
Damaged Pipe Collar
Repaired Pipe Collar
“My gutters don’t need to be re-nailed. I can tell from the ground that they are secure to the fascia board”. The truth is, most of the time when gutters pull away from your home, they are actually tilting forward, allowing water behind your gutters, while appearing from the ground to be tightly secured. Take a look at the pictures below taken at a gutter cleaning we performed in Germantown, MD. From underneath the gutters appear to be secure to the fascia, but from above you can see that they have actually pulled away from the fascia several inches. If this issue had not been caught early by our technician, it would have led to costly repairs for this homeowner in the future.
When you become a client of GutterMaid, you may think you are hiring a company to simply clean your gutters, but that is just part of what we do. We understand that homeowners often times have problems they believe are related to clogged gutters. However, that is sometimes just part of the issue. Our job is to not only clean your gutters but to check, fix, and report on other areas critical to the waterproofing of your home, such as your gutters, roof shingles, and flashing.
gutter below close
It seems as though winter has come early this year with the recent snow events, and while everyone is busy stocking up on food, new snow shovels, and ice melt, they may have overlooked a very important home maintenance need. You guessed it. Cleaning out the gutters!
Clogged gutters will wreck havoc on your home in the winter time. As the snow from your roof melts, it should drain through your gutter system and away from your home and foundation. When your gutters and/or downspouts are clogged with debris, the water becomes trapped and has no place to go. This standing water is not quick to evaporate like it is on a hot summer day. Gutters are not meant to withstand the heavy weight of debris, water, and ice buildup. The weight can cause your gutters to pull away from your home, bend, distort, and in some cases completely separate from your home.
Most of us have heard of the term “ice damming” but how many of us truly know what it means? Ice damming happens when the warm air from your home melts the bottom layer of the snow build-up on your roof. In below freezing temperatures, once the water reaches your gutters where it is no longer heated, it will re-freeze. As ice builds up to your roof line it will eventually trap and prevent proper water-shed from your roof. Water will then begin to work its way back up your roof .
When water is coming from the bottom up, as it does with ice damming, most waterproofing practices will fail. This is why many of us have experienced leaking during the winter that we do not usually encounter during a typical rain event. If your gutters are not draining properly, ice damming is significantly more likely to occur.
Gutters cannot be cleaned once the temperature drops below freezing. It is vital to have your gutters and downspouts checked and cleared before the winter months arrive. There are only a few more weeks left so don’t procrastinate. Schedule your gutter cleaning service today!
Drip edge is an L shaped piece of metal that is installed at the edge (eave) of your roof. It should extend from the roof decking down into your gutters. Its purpose is to direct water away from your fascia and rake boards, and into your gutters where applicable. It can also help prevent water damage due to ice damming during the winter months.
Unfortunately, roofs are often installed without a drip edge or the gutters are installed over top of the drip edge, rendering it useless. Water that finds its way behind your gutters will eventually damage your fascia, rafter ends, soffit, etc., and can lead to thousands of dollars in damages.
Does your roof have a properly installed drip edge? There are signs that may indicate missing or improperly installed drip edge that you can look for without having to go up on your roof. When it rains, look for water that comes down in-between your gutters and your fascia. Often times you will see streaking or staining on your fascia just below your gutters, and sometimes you can even see small debris that has worked its way behind your gutters. If you see any of these signs, we recommend that you call a roofer to evaluate your roof and give you an estimate to install a drip edge if needed. Ask to see pictures so you can get a full understanding of whats going on with your roof.
Catching an issue early such as this will save you a lot of money in the long run. GutterMaid trains our employees to look for these types of issues and report back any noted problems as a courtesy to our customers.