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Chesapeake Roofers: Article About Gutter Maintenance

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Homes that are located anywhere near trees will keep their owners busy every autumn when the leaves fall. Leaf and pine needle buildup in rain gutters can quickly lead to trouble during the next heavy rainstorm. Homeowners who do not want to be climbing up and down a ladder every weekend can work with local Chesapeake roofers for some permanent solutions to keep leaves and needles out of the gutters.

The easiest and most convenient way to permanently prevent tree debris from clogging gutters is to have covers or guards installed. This task is best left to professionals, especially for homes taller than one story. To install permanent covers, roofers lift up the lowest row of shingles. The guards are affixed to the roof's underlay using rust proof screws or roofing nails. The covers fit over the tops of the gutters and have small pores through which rain can come in, but leaves and needles cannot. The underlay is covered with a layer of roofing cement and then the shingles are put back into their correct positions. This project can be done in one day by an experienced roofing crew with minimal equipment.

Some manufacturers produce plastic strips that a property owner can install on their own. These are similar to professional grade covers but cost less and are generally thinner and more lightweight.

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The same technique is used to install these coverings as what the professionals would do. A lot of climbing up and down the ladder is needed, as the covers come in 20 foot sections. The homeowner will need some supplies such as a hammer or pry bar to lift up the shingles, roofing screws or nails, roofing cement and caulk. The caulk is dabbed onto the head of each screw or nail to provide a waterproof seal. Tin snips or another cutting tool will be needed to cut the appropriate length of the covering strips.

Another option for property owners is to install a removable wire mesh over the gutter tops. This is inexpensive and only requires the purchase of the necessary linear footage of metal netting. The homeowner must be able to climb a ladder and access the gutters. The mesh is simply folded over the gutter tops. If desired, the homeowner can use clips to keep the mesh in position. A strong windstorm or heavy pile of wet snow may push the mesh or dent it, allowing leaves to get in. The mesh can also blow away as a result of strong winds.

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