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April 2, 2018

Why is Regular Gutter Cleaning So Important?

gutter cleaningThe gutter is easy to overlook, being a part of your home that doesn't seem to look like much. Yet, it is as vital as every part of your home. Ignoring it can cause different kinds of damages to your home and cost you more money.

Today, Alpine Gutters and Downspouts have listed the following reasons why regular gutter cleaning is important.

It Protects the Value of Your Home

Conducting regular cleaning is important in keeping your home in good shape, protecting its value. A well-maintained gutter can last between 20-30 years before replacing.

This is an advantage and a plus if you plan to sell the property. Putting it in good shape is key to giving it good market value. The next occupants will be happy about this and may thank you for it.

Prevents Roof Damage

Gutters are susceptible to clogging when neglected. Various debris like dried leaves, animal nests, snow, and the like would block off the passageways for water to flow through. This will cause the water to drip to the sides, which can cause your siding to rot. During the winter, ice dams form in your gutters due to the water buildup.

Left unchecked, it will lead to rotting on the roof as well. This leads to the need to replace the tiles and the whole gutter system. Regular gutter cleaning can help prevent such problems.

Prevents Ceiling Leaks

Leaks are among the main problems brought about by clogged gutters. The ice dams that accumulated during winter would have no proper drainage points. The result is water seeping into the house and cause ceiling leaks, wall leaks and moisture in the attic.

There are other areas of the home affected by leaks due to clogged gutters. We'll get to more on leaks further down.

Prevents Rotted Wood

The accumulated water can cause damages to the wooden portions of the home. The fascia, the wooden board connected to your gutter, is the first one to take damage. Once it shows signs of rot, it could spread towards the adjacent areas, such as the attic.

With regular gutter cleaning, you can prevent this kind of damage. It saves you money from having to replace rotted wood.

Keeps Pests Out

Clogged gutters can serve as breeding grounds for pests. Birds may end up using this as nests for their young.

Mosquitoes breed as long as there is stagnant water for them to nest on, which can leave you exposed to diseases. This is crucial for the safety of your family, especially given how deadly mosquito-related diseases can be.

Other kinds of pests may end up gathering, which could damage the foundation of your home. Gutter cleaning can aid you in keeping these pests out, preventing them from nesting on your gutters.

Prevents Damage to Brackets

A clogged gutter gets subjected to wear and tear if not cleaned. The combined weight brought about by water, debris from leaves and various materials may result in damage to the brackets holding them in place. The worst case scenario is that if it gives way and causes the gutters to fall off.

When that occurs, you have to spend for getting replacements. Regular gutter cleaning prevents this from happening.

Prevents Foundation Damage

A clogged gutter can cause the water to flow elsewhere, seeping into the foundation and further into areas like the basement. This results in rot and mold, which can chip at your foundation. This makes the structure unsteady and it is expensive to repair.

Not only that, weather changes can cause the water to freeze. The resulting expansion and contraction would cause cracks in your foundation and may compromise the structure's integrity.

An average foundation repair starts at $8,000. Gutter cleaning can prevent the damage from going this far and save you money.

Prevents Basement Leaks

With a clogged gutter, this is an expected result as the water ends up seeping into the home. This water also infiltrates basement walls, eventually finds its way down to the basement itself. The end result is flooding, water damage, and molds.

Prevents Landscape Damage

With a clean and well-maintained gutter, the water has a pathway towards a good drainage area. A clogged gutter will cause the water to overflow towards other areas like the garden bed or the lawn.

While plants flourish with water, over-watering causes the plants to drown. This is the kind of problem introduced by a clogged gutter.

When the plants die, the roots have no capability to keep hold of the soil in place. This leads to soil erosion and would etch at the ground and leave a ditch.

Prevents Sagging Driveways

Driveways are also among the portions of the property that get affected by clogged gutters. With the water overflowing from these gutters, they end up flowing down the driveway, causing it to sag and crack.

It Helps You Save More

The bottom line is that an "ounce of prevention" is better than "a ton of cure". These kinds of damages are preventable as long as you do proper maintenance. You don't have to spend so much on repairs when you can mitigate that with scheduled gutter cleaning.

A good suggestion for this is to have your gutters cleaned at least once or twice per year.

You can also conduct regular cleaning personally with a ladder and some gloves. However, safety might be an issue with this depending on your location, on the age of the homeowners, and so on. We at Alpine Gutters and Downspouts have professionals capable of assisting you with gutter cleaning.

Get Your Gutters Cleaned Today!

Having your gutters cleaned is important in keeping your home in great condition. You can do it personally if you have the experience and it is safe enough. You can also call in for a professional to help you with gutter cleaning.

That's where we at Alpine Gutters and Downspouts come in.

When it comes to gutters and downspouts, we have a wide range of services where we can assist you, including gutter cleaning. Contact us for all your needs for your gutters and downspouts.

March 23, 2018

What to Do About a Bird Nest in Your Gutter

Alpine Gutters & Downspouts in Denver is a company that deals with all aspects of gutter systems. So if you’re wondering what to do about a bird nest in your gutter, you have come to the right place for informative advice on what you can do to keep yourself, the gutter system, and even the birds happy.

All sorts of birds such as starlings, doves, finches, thrushes and just about any small to medium sized bird will choose a gutter for their happy home, for obvious reasons, as it is well-protected from prey and the elements. But for you, a bird nest in your gutter can spell disaster. Here are some of the reasons why you want to remove a nest from your gutter system:

  1. Noise – Nesting birds can be boisterous neighbors, bringing in food for their young, chirping, scratching and more. The sound is intensified inside of the gutter and travels down the entire length, so depending on how well insulated your home is, this could be very annoying.
  2. Clogging – Eventually, your gutters will stop working efficiently because of a clog from the materials the bird makes its nest with, twigs, straw, leaves, even dirt and hair. Coincidentally, they love to build their home right where the downspout meets the gutter which can cause overflow issues and lead to water pooling in areas you do not want, such as basements, landscaping, and walkways. Birds can also get trapped in the downspout.

So how do you remove a nesting bird from your gutter?

Unfortunately, you will need to wait until the parent has left the nest to remove the nest carefully. Hopefully, she does not have any eggs or young when you attempt this. If she does, you will need to wait until the nest is not active and the birds have flown the coop. Be sure to wear protective gloves as well as a mask and then you will need to completely clean the gutters of parasites and debris and reinforce the gutters with protective systems to prevent further nesting issues.

Have your gutters professionally cleaned at least twice a year to maintain them properly and use measures such as gutter guards to prevent rodents and birds from finding a home in your gutter system. Some people use decoys, spinning pinwheels, bird slopes, perch spikes, mesh, sonic deterrents and more, but checking your gutters often and proper maintenance is your best defense.

Gutter guards are a great option and should be seriously considered when investing in protecting your gutters from birds. They cover your gutter and act as a filter to prevent leaves and other debris from getting inside. They also make your gutters flat at the top, which makes it hard to build a stable nest on a flat surface.

Now that you know what to do about a bird nest in your gutter, you are ahead of the game when it comes to protecting your home from unnecessary damage that birds and pests may cause. Give Alpine Gutters & Downspouts a call today to ensure your gutters and downspouts are doing their job. We have the tools and knowledge to keep your home protected from rain, rodents and nesting birds in your gutters. Call us today for a free quote.

March 13, 2018

If You Find a Rust Spot on Your Gutter

New Rain Gutter InstallationIf you find a rust spot on your gutter and ignore it, you’ll soon be calling Alpine Gutters & Downspouts in Denver for repairs, even a replacement. Rust is nobody's friend, so it’s important to protect your home from the damage that rust can inflict on your gutter. Without early intervention, deterioration happens quickly, creating holes and jeopardizing how your system functions. Today, we provide a few steps that you can take to address rust problems before they turn into major repairs.

The DIY Fix for Rust

If the rust spot on your gutter is minor, use a wire brush to scrub away the loose rust and then apply a metal primer to protect the area from moisture and the elements. If the damage is more severe, and rust corrosion has set in, you may need to replace sections using metal flashing, secured with a liquid rubber or roofing cement. This can be a difficult job to do and takes some patience, but it can help extend the life of your gutters. Also, consider calling a professional if there is severe rust corrosion. They’ll be able to determine if it’s better to replace the system entirely.

If you do plan to do it yourself, always ensure you start with a fresh, clean palette. You will need to clean out all of the debris, wash and dry the gutters completely. Next, paint the rusty area with rust converter paint, this coating will help neutralize the rust and stop it from spreading. It also acts as a primer and a barrier coating for the next step.

When the paint has dried, spread plastic paint cement inside the gutters over the primed rusted spots. Now, when this layer dries completely, cut to size, and press into the cement a sheet of heavy aluminum foil. Smooth it ever so carefully to ensure no air bubbles are trapped underneath. Spread another thin coating of plastic roof cement on top of the foil and smooth out. Remember to make the repair as smooth and thin as possible. That is the key to keeping water flowing smoothly through your gutters.

Upkeep is Vital for Gutters

Maintenance and monthly checks of your gutter system is key and should be performed by checking the inside and outside for a rust spot on your gutter. The system should last a good 20 years, but it all really depends on material quality, weather and upkeep. Here are some tell-tale signs that will let you know it is time to replace your gutters:

  1. The rust is affecting an area larger than three inches, but once the rust has spread this far, it’s hard to justify saving it.
  2. The rust is caked on.
  3. Rust has created holes, separations or cracks in the gutter. Smaller holes, you may be able to patch, but anything exceeding three inches should be replaced.

So remember, if you find a rust spot on your gutter, attack the issue immediately. Otherwise, and in a very short amount of time, that small rust spot will take over and eat up your system. When in doubt, call Alpine Gutters & Downspouts for professional gutter maintenance, repairs and replacements. We know gutters inside and out.

February 19, 2018

Signs You Need Gutter Repair

Keeping Leaves Out of the GuttersWater pooling? Detached drain pipe? Damaged landscape? These are all signs you need gutter repair, and at Alpine Gutters & Downspouts, we are here to do just that. Our extensive experience with gutters over the years has demonstrated that our products, expertise, and commitment to customers is simply the best. We always do our best to provide the needed repairs and only if the system is not salvageable will we discuss investing in a new gutter system.

Be aware of these critical signs you need gutter repair, and call us immediately to protect your home.

  1. Cracks and Splitting

If you notice any small or large cracks in your gutters, including the drain pipe, this can turn into a significant problem faster than you can blink. Cracks and splitting will eventually wear down the entire system and cause irreversible damage to landscapes, the foundation, and the roof.

  1. Gaps

If you notice large gaps, replace the section in question if it is not too damaged. If it is beyond repair, it is best to replace the entire system.

  1. Standing Water

This is one of the clear signs you need gutter repair and usually an indication of a blocked gutter system or drain pipe. Try to find the blockage and or replace any damaged areas.

  1. Sagging Gutters

You may notice your gutters bowing away from the house or being pulled away from the brackets. Your brackets may just need replacement or reinforcement. Attend to this immediately to avoid the gutter itself breaking and ultimately causing water damage to your home.

  1. Paint Peeling

Most paints nowadays are made to withstand the outside elements quite well. However, if you notice peeling paint near the gutter area, that indicates there is a moisture problem, and a leaking or damaged gutter could cause it.

  1. Rust

Not only do rusted gutters look awful, but, over time, they will also start to deteriorate and most likely leak, causing issues for your home. The rusted metal will eventually shatter and break off and could be potentially dangerous.

  1. Water Marks

Any discoloration near your gutter systems, in the paint, on the roof, fascia or downspouts are signs you need gutter repair. Have any gutter problems fixed right away to prevent further damage.

  1. Mold

Mold is a big problem for allergy sufferers, and poses health concerns, especially for the elderly and young children. Be sure to check out your basement and exterior near the gutter systems and beyond to see where the problem may be stemming from. 

  1. Soil Erosion

Excess precipitation can definitely cause soil erosion, but if you are seeing signs of excess soil erosion and thinning in areas of the lawn or garden, your gutters may not be efficiently handling the excess precipitation. Perhaps there is a blockage or less easy to detect signs you need gutter repair. Alpine Gutters & Downspouts will have many suggestions to fix the situation.

  1. Foundation Issues

If your gutter system is allowing standing water to pool in areas of your concrete driveway or walkway, over time, this will cause shifting and cracking as well as significant damage. The moisture will find its way into the soil and eventually break down your expensive landscaping.

  1. Excess Water Flow

Gutters withstand and carry water away from your home during an intense rainstorm, especially if installed correctly. However, if the installation was poorly done, the slope of the gutters is incorrect, or the gutters are poorly designed or made of cheap material, you may have a runoff issue. The primary objective of a gutter system is to protect your homes barriers, so gutter replacement may be needed. 

  1. Nails or Screws on the Ground

This is a simple fix, and most likely means that the gutter is coming loose. Have a good look to see why it may be loose, and replace any screws that are worn or rusted.

  1. Gutter Age

None of us, including gutters, are exempt from simply getting old, making age one of the signs you need gutter repair. Gutters usually have a life expectancy of about 15-40 years, which is a pretty long time, but if you’ve recently moved and are unsure of the age of the gutter system, let us take a look at things.

Gutters are an essential but sometimes costly investment, especially depending on the materials and aesthetic look you choose, but they are worth every penny in the long run. Today, new gutters come in a variety of styles and colors to complement any home wonderfully; you can choose from copper, steel, aluminum, vinyl and more. Each type has its pros, cons, and durability values. It is always best to sit down and discuss the many options available before making an initial investment.

A Word on Maintenance

It is imperative to have your gutters inspected and cleaned at least twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. If you have many large trees near the home, you may need to do this task more often. By keeping on top of it, you will end up saving a lot of money and frustration. Gutter maintenance is not that costly for the benefits it offers.

When hiring a gutter company, it is wise to do the research on that business. Check for reputation, insurance, liability, and word of mouth references. Gutter cleaning and installation can be a dangerous job and falls happen. A reputable gutter company will save you the grief of being sued if they hurt themselves on the job. Cover the basics and allow yourself the peace of mind, knowing that the company you chose will be there for you for the long haul.

Alpine Gutters & Downspouts is happy to share these helpful signs you need gutter repair, and we hope you will call on our experts to help determine the best gutter system for your family’s home and budget. There are many factors to installing the right gutters, including the area in which you live, the amount of snow and rainfall, and various factors regarding the style and roofline of the home. Whether you need new gutters, sectional replacements, or gutter maintenance and repairs, we are here to help.

January 11, 2018

Ice Dams and Your Gutters

Alpine Gutters & Downspoutsice dams and your gutters Alpine Gutters & Downspouts Denver is the first place to call for valuable information on ice dams and your gutters. When the dead of winter rolls around, your gutter systems are at extreme risk if you don't have this powerful knowledge to keep them in the best shape possible to withstand the havoc that old man winter can bring. Here are some do's and don'ts of dealing with ice dams and your gutters.

What is an ice dam?

An ice dam is a clump of ice that forms at the edge of a roof during cold winter snaps. Ice dams will put an entire gutter system at risk of being damaged, not to mention possibly destroy the roof, inside your home, foundations, landscaping, paint, and even mildew and rot if the insulation gets and stays wet. Ice dams are severe, and if they break free, they will more than likely destroy the gutters, even fall on cars, shrubs or pets.

What causes these ice dams to form?

Ice dams form when the roofing over an attic warms up enough to melt the layer of snow on the roof. The water eventually makes its way down between the layer of snow and the shingles until it reaches the eaves, which stays cold naturally because it reaches beyond the side of the house. This is where the water freezes, eventually forming into a stubborn mound of sheer ice.

If snow and ice build up high enough in your gutter system, it will cause an ice dam. Depending on the angle of your roof pitch, the problem can worsen. If you are unfortunate to be dealing with ice dams and your gutters already, here are some of the steps you can take to deal with it.

  1. Remove the ice dam by breaking it free, but do NOT use an ax or sharp tool because you will more than likely damage your shingles. By tapping lightly with a blunt mallet, you will make more progress and cause less damage. Hiring someone to do this job is your best option, as there is a great risk for falls.
  2. Next step is to clear out your gutters and downspouts. This is not an easy job, and there may be some damage either to plastic or metal gutters and spouts along the way.
  3. Melt troughs through the ice dam with calcium chloride ice-melter, which is available at most hardware stores. Whatever you do, do not use rock salt! It will damage paint, metals, plants, and nearly anything it lands on. You can make a trough melter by using a tube of cloth, such as a leg of nylon stockings or a sock. Fill it with calcium chloride, tie off the top, and lay it vertically across the ice dam, this will slowly melt down through the ice dam, to help water free flow.

More Ways to Get Rid of Ice Dams

If you are one of those do it yourself kind of people, here are a few recommendations for you to try. Again, if you are uncertain what you are up against, dealing with ice dams and your gutters can be a nasty task, please call on the professional gutter experts to get the job done quickly, and safely.

  • Ice melting cables are an option, but they require installation, which may need a roofer or electrician. These are installed on the lower 2 feet of your roof and sometimes along gutters.
  • Add blown-in insulation to your roof and attic; this will help eliminate heat loss in your attic. This is a very inexpensive alternative and will save you bundles in heating costs in the long run.
  • Improve your attic ventilation by hiring a roofer to install a new ridge vent or soffit intake vents. It will all depend on the type of roof you have, so get an expert opinion.
  • Metal ice belt roof panels. These can be expensive, but worth it. However, you can also just use sections of metal panels in areas near your gutter system to cut down on cost.
  • Specialized ice melting roof systems are also available and somewhat high tech, but if you have the money to spend, it may be well worth it in places where snowfall is heavy, and ice dams are a frequent occurrence.
  • Ice melting pucks. These are similar to the sock or nylon which contains the calcium chloride, but these pucks can be strategically placed. Not a significant investment, as they seem to only work in the areas they are placed.

So, you've dealt with an existing ice dam. Now the key is to PREVENT having to deal with ice dams and your gutters. Here are some steps to take:

  1. Whenever you get a big dump of snow, use a snow rake to rid the burden of weight on your roof. Again, if you’re not good with getting on a ladder, or the weather is not great, don't do the job yourself and possibly get injured. Call on the professionals.
  2. The other option is to replace your shingle roof with standing seam roof, or metal roofing. This may still dam up, but will help deter ice dams somewhat.
  3. Seal all points where warm air leaks from the living space into the spaces immediately below the roof sheathing.
  4. Properly insulate to prevent conduction and convection of heat escaping through the ceiling.
  5. Vent the space between the insulation and the roof, so any heat that leaks through is carried away from the source.

How will this all save you money?

If your gutter system is installed correctly, and you have taken the proper procedures for avoiding ice dams near your roofline, your heating costs will be significantly lower, your home more comfortable with the appropriate heat distribution, and we all know, saving money is a good thing.

Dealing with ice dams and your gutters come with living in a colder climate. Taking these steps will help to ensure that your home stays protected from the elements that can affect our area. Just be sure to get ahead of the game by calling Alpine Gutters & Downspouts for all inspections, maintenance and repairs of your gutter system. We’ll give you peace of mind that your home will be protected year-round.

 

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