Sunday, April 8, 2012

Don't neglect your gutters

I hate gutters. Yes, they're a very important part of your house, keeping all that water drained away from your foundation, etc. It just seems they're so "cheap" when compared to the rest of the house (even considering what they do), and something always seems to go wrong with them. In addition, I really don't like climbing around on roofs.

The first year or so in our house, I never even looked at the gutters - they just worked. At some point I started noticing that during heavy rains, we were getting overflow leakage at several spots. I finally got my ladder out last weekend and checked it out. Oops - major cloggage! The amount of leaves didn't look bad at first glance, but I've discovered that it doesn't take many to block the flow. In addition, there was a buildup of shingle granules that wasn't helping either. I've read that new shingles will stop shedding so much after the first year (I hope so). Anyway, I unclogged and cleaned out all of the first story gutters using a ladder from the ground (avoiding that trip up to the roof :)). It's simply amazing how well gutters work when they're cleared out.

Thinking about this some more: the obvious reason I don't want to go on the roof is for fear of falling (duh). It turns out that there are safety systems that that use various roof brackets to allow you to better hold on, or better yet, securely attach yourself to a roof. I've looked into the permanent roof anchors from Miller Fall Protection and they look like a robust product (I'm sure there are others). You have to install many of them though (say, one every 4-6 feet), in order to avoid any sideways sheer loads, and there's always the worry about creating new leaks.

Anyway...this morning I got up up on the second story roof today with the best of intentions, thinking that I would just force myself to get the job done and save myself some bucks. After about five minutes I decided that such heights are not for me, and the savings aren't worth the risk - I'll be calling a contractor this next week some time. :-)

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