Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Reduce Stress With Preventative Gutter Maintenance

September 19, 2010

There are few maintenance assignments less enjoyable than gutter cleaning.

In fact, for many facility managers, the act can be both excruciatingly tedious and time-consuming when performed on the thousands of feet of gutter that normally surround complexes ranging from schools, hospitals and offices to commercial and industrial buildings.

Unfortunately, this reality can be even harsher for personnel operating in locations based near dense wooded areas or confronted by heavy storms and rain showers on a monthly basis.

In addition, companies that have searched for outside aid have, in many cases, found the long-term service costs of gutter cleaning too high for already tight maintenance budgets.

This is because many professionals, depending on their pricing structures, charge a set fee for the appointment, another price for each foot of gutter cleaned and additional surcharges based on the height and steepness of the rooftops.

Other charges are also often assessed for the cleaning or replacement of downspouts, which frequently require additional service in older complexes.

However, there is an extremely reliable and economical alternative for keeping gutter systems relatively free of clogs and moisture.

This includes the installation of certified and tested gutter protection products, which ensure water and fine particulates flow freely through gutter valleys and out downspouts — all while preventing obstructions from entering the system.

For instance, designed with high-performance urethane polymers, reliable gutter protection systems can be easily inserted into gutters to ensure leaves, twigs, pine needles and other possible obstructions are kept from entering and clogging gutter systems.

As a result, water flows readily through the foam filter insert, into the gutter valley and out the downspout to virtually eliminate overflows that can infiltrate structures to cause foundation cracks and other forms of water-related damage.

In addition, some systems provide a myriad of other maintenance benefits through a lifetime of use.

It''s no secret that few obstacles challenge the general integrity of buildings more aggressively than moisture.

Consequently, water that consistently and regularly builds up in gutters due to clogs and the accumulation of debris will not only prevent the free flow of water from properties, it can also:

Create conditions that invite insects, vermin and other pests to feed and nest

Increase storm water runoff leading to overflows that cause landscaping erosion

Cause roof water overflows that may eventually cause foundation cracking and failures

Produce biological pollutants such as mold and mildew in crawlspaces, drywall, sub-floors, carpets and basements.

Properly maintained and monitored gutters can help eliminate favorable conditions for pests, critters and insects.

For example, a mesh protective barrier over gutters can keep insects like mosquitoes from breeding in freestanding water or carpenter ants from building nests in damp, wet wood gutters.

Such systems also prevent acorns, twigs and berries from entering the gutter and serving as an open invitation to all forms of critters looking for their next meal and possible pathways to facility interiors.

Another consideration is the threat posed to indoor air quality due to the buildup of moisture that can create mold accumulations in drywall, sub-floors, carpets and rooftops.

Subsequently, quality and enduring gutter protection systems have been shown to improve the interior environmental quality of structures by consistently directing water flow away from structures and helping to reduce the penetration of moisture into building envelopes.

Other benefits include the ability to effectively manage stormwater runoff by helping to evenly distribute the flow of water around building perimeters.

As most environmentalists will attest, this is another significant value since stormwater runoff is a major cause of stream, lake, river and ocean pollution.

As a result, the installation of certified and proven gutter protection systems should be an ongoing consideration for all facilities combating severe runoff problems and insect and pest infestations as well as concerns about structural damage and the creation of harmful air pollutants.

Easily fitted into gutters, protection systems can offer an exceptionally reliable and constant method for channeling rainwater through gutter systems while providing proven protective shields against a broad range of related problems.

Tim Croll is the manager of business development for FXI Building Products Corporation, an industry leader in the manufacturing of gutter protection systems including Leaf Defier®, Leaf Defier® XL, and Safe Flow Wave. For more information, please visit or contact him at 866-795-4770 ext. 228 or