Gutter Cleaning in the Fall – PART I

In past articles on our website, we have discussed the importance of gutter cleaning. It’s essential to keep leaves out of gutters to prevent blockages in the gutter trough itself and from the downspouts that convey the water from the roof down and away from the roof towards the ground and/or to underground rain leaders.

Block gutters and associated downspouts can cause significant problems in the building. Particularly, where there are issues of reverse grade or inadequate grade in the gutters, when filled with leaves, can become dammed and blocked and cause back up an overflow of water to sensitive areas of the building, at the facia and roof eave.

 The picture below shows a gutter that we looked at a few days ago. This particularly gutter happen to be completely filled with leaves from an adjacent nearby overhanging Maple tree. This time of year, in October, in the Washington DC area, most of our deciduous trees will drop all of their leaves. Not only to all of those falling leaves lay a thick blanket of debris over yards and outdoor space comes up but they also will fill up roof gutters.

roof gutter

During heavy rains, it’s a serious problem, if the gutters and downspouts are blocked. The next picture below shows another angle of the same gutter at a combination balcony roof system.

The photo below shows a view of the greater part of the length of the gutter alongside of the roof on top of a balcony over a interior space. Balconies overtop of interior spaces are notorious for having a litany of problems associated with leakage stemming from defects and installation in the complex configuration of the roof membrane around adjacent doors, walls, guard rails, and often interfacing with problematic siding installations.

length of a gutter

From the lower angle you can see the gutter filled with leaves, these leaves are from an adjacent Maple tree. Many roofs have trees towering over above the roof itself and in other cases, leaves can also blow from a significant distance onto a roof and then wash down into the gutter, even from adjacent or distant properties.

gutter filled with leaves

Even though there are relatively new leaves on top of the debris in this gutter the gutters have went without proper maintenance for so long that the older debris at the bottom of the gutter have turned into a fertile growing medium for seeds and there’s even a tree seedling growing out of this gutter.

seeds in a roof gutter

A condensate line from a HVAC unit in the attic area runs down the wall and feeds into this gutter. It’s good to have the condensate from the mechanical equipment guided and directed but in this particular case it’s also truncating the space of the downspout inlet.

hvac feeding water in roof gutter

The upper space of this building is partially housed within the attic or rooftop space and the adjacent eave area contains the HVAC air handler unit through a cabinet or closet type door in the hallway of the finished attic space.

hvac air handling unit

At this time of year it’s a very important routine maintenance requirement to check and clean out your building’s gutter system. Reach out to our company we are happy to help in the hard to reach place.

Smart and proactive replacement, construction, upkeep and maintenance of low slope roof and mansard roof systems requires an enthusiastic interest and understanding of historical methodologies, waterproofing principles, and building science.   Here in Washington DC, historic and modern residential and commercial buildings are extremely expensive and the roof and related systems provide the shield that preserves the building. 

We encourage all of our clients, and all readers of this article and to our blog in general, to prioritize the value of quality construction and building maintenance, and develop a relationship with our company.  You can learn a lot more on our blog.  Feel free to check it out.  If you have questions about the roof and related systems of your building in Washington DC, contact us or fill out the webform below and drop us a line.  We will be in touch if we can help.

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