Twenty seven inches of rain. Twenty eight inches of snow. Those are the average amounts of annual precipitation Sioux Falls, SD receives every year, and every inch is a direct threat to your home's integrity.
If your home is built well and properly maintained, then its gutters and fascia safeguard it against the Great Plains region's ample precipitation. It's easy to appreciate your gutters' role in protecting your home: They collect rainwater and meltwater as they run off the roof and channel them safely away from the foundation. Keeping your gutters in good condition is therefore essential to preventing a wet basement, which can cause mold growth, frame damage, and in the worst cases flooding.
Fascia, on the other hand, is less commonly understood. As opposed to trim which encases windows and doors, fascia is the horizontal or angled board which encloses the edges of eaves. In addition to making a house look presentable, fascia seals out moisture and provides support to the roof and its surrounding gutters. That is why an effective gutter system cannot exist without well maintained fascia to back it up.
Keeping your gutters and fascia in good repair can save you thousands of dollars in property damage. Here are some of the gutter and fascia repairs and maintenance any homeowner can perform on a regular basis to avoid costly problems!
Regularly Clean Your Gutters
Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional service, it is advisable to clean your gutters at least twice annually. Doing so will preserve your gutters' ability to channel precipitation safely away from your foundation. It will also prevent water from backing up around your roof and fascia and gradually rotting them.
In addition to manually clearing debris from your gutters and their downspouts biannually, you may take the following steps to preserve your gutter system's functionality:
Trim surrounding trees. Overhanging branches don't just threaten roof damage during a storm. They also deposit leaves and other debris directly into your gutters.
Install gutter screens. Although no gutter screen is completely effective at blocking out debris, a good one will significantly slow the accumulation of leaves, pine needles and other tree detritus.
Install surface tension guards. Also known as reverse curve gutter guards, these accessories are more visible than gutter screens but also force debris to fall away from the house instead of merely settling atop its gutters.
Install a leaf catcher. Unlike a gutter screen, a leaf catcher accumulates debris near ground level before it can flow into (and potentially clog) the gutter system's perimeter drains.
Check the Slope of Your Gutters
Your gutters cannot successfully divert rainwater and meltwater safely away from your home's foundation without the proper angulature. To function correctly, your gutters must exhibit the correct slope. Your gutters should slope 0.25" downward for every 10' of horizontal length. If they lean too far backward, your gutters may not fully drain; if they lean too far forward, they may drain so quickly that they threaten erosion damage to your surrounding property.
Equally important is the slope leading away from your house, as this too is essential to ensuring water runs safely away from your foundation. The 10' radius surrounding your home should ideally fall by 6". It is advisable to measure the slope around your home annually, because dirt may gradually settle to create a negative grade which directs water into your basement.
Finally, make certain your gutters have extensions which direct water at least 5' away from your foundation. Gutters which lack extensions or which have extensions that are too short pose a risk of basement flooding during a heavy thaw or rainy period.
Regularly Inspect Your Fascia
Get into the habit of inspecting your home's fascia (and soffits) at least twice a year. For convenience's sake, you may perform this routine inspection at the same time you ascend a ladder to clean out your gutters. Thorough fascia inspection requires looking for the following common types of damage:
Mold, fungus and algae growth
Bee, wasp and hornet nests
Rodent bite marks
Rotting and warping wood
Cracked, sagging and missing boards
Mold and mildew often colonize fascia in damp climates. When growth is only superficial, it may be effectively removed with a weak solution of bleach and water and a soft brush. Insect nests are also common in the Midwest. Removing a hive can be dangerous under any circumstances, but when that nest is located high up you may rightly prefer to engage a professional pest exterminator. Fascia maintenance is important, although it is never worth risking injury over.
Work with Great Plains Inspections
Many homeowners would rather never mount a ladder at all. If you're among them – but still wish to ensure every square inch of your house is in good condition, including its gutter system and fascia – then you can count on Great Plains Inspections for all your home inspection needs in the greater Sioux Falls, SD area. Our inspector Scot is certified by the American Home Inspectors Training Institute, has 25 years of professional contracting experience, and is standing by to provide free quotes for home inspections whether you are buying, selling or remodeling. Please call us today at (605) 450-8830.