Home Inspector Tip: Time to Inspect and Clean Your Gutters

It is not a task we look forward to, but if you have gutters on your house or commercial property, they require maintenance to function properly.  Gutters not functioning properly can lead to water spilling over or leaking from the gutters, damaging the fascia,  soffits, siding, roof, and framing of the property.  Malfunctioning gutters and/or downspouts can also result in water entering your basement or causing erosion.

Contrary to what many think, gutters do not cause ice dams. However, if gutters are clogged or not functioning properly water and ice can collect.  As gutters fill with ice, they can fail and rip away from the house bringing fascia, fasteners and downspouts along with them.

If you have not done so already, it is time to make sure your gutters are ready to perform the important task of directing water away from your property. This is especially important now that most of the leaves are gone (at least here in Maine) and before snow flies.

While there are tools designed to clean your gutters from the ground, you should inspect the gutters, down spout, hangers, etc. from a safe ladder before and after performing any cleaning.  If you do not feel safe on a ladder, or do not have access to a safe ladder of sufficient length, it is worth it to hire someone to inspect, clean and repair your gutters to make sure they work properly.


In addition to inspecting, repairing, and cleaning the gutters and downspouts, it is also important to make sure there is an extension at the bottom of all downspouts to shed  water away from the property. I recommend a minimum of 3 feet. There should also be a splash block at the end of all extensions to help eliminate erosion.

I also recommend you inspect your gutters and downspouts again in the spring to make sure they survived the winter.