Greetings and welcome to part 3 of my Fall Checklist Series for homeowners. Proper maintenance of your roof and gutters in the fall may help prevent damage to your home, both inside and out. Below are my tips for Gutter and Roof autumn upkeep.

GUTTERS
Cleaning the gutters outside your home is an important part of home maintenance. Over time, organic material can collect and create a perfect place for plants and even small trees to take root. This buildup of organic material can create a lot of homeowner headaches. It can also lead to costly home repairs, with damage to the house, roof, foundation and even the driveway and sidewalk.

Rainwater that is not directed away from the house by an open downspout can seep underneath the house and accumulate around the foundation, weakening it and leading to cracks. Did you know that clogged gutters are the number one cause of basement water leaks? Damage to siding and windows can occur when water that spills over the edges of blocked gutters runs down the side of the house. Blockage to gutters can damage your roof by acting like a wick, bringing water from the bottom of the gutter up to rot the fascia. Left unchecked, the damage can extend to the roof sheathing and even the rafters. Cosmetically, overflowing water that hits the ground can splash dirt, debris and mud against the lower portion of the siding.

In the winter months, gutters blocked with debris can create ice dams, which block the flow of melting ice and snow. The water will work its way back to the roof, causing damage to the roof, shingles and leaks inside your home.

In the summer, the water that pools from blocked gutters provides a perfect breeding ground for pests such as termites and mosquitos. It also harbors mold and mildew.

There are many companies in the area that offer gutter cleaning services. Contact me if you'd like any references. You can also do it yourself, but make sure to do so safely. At a minimum, wear heavy work gloves and eye protection and make sure your ladder does not rest directly on the gutters as this can damage them. Gutters can have very sharp edges inside so be vigilant when reaching your hands inside. Remove twigs and leaves, but make sure to not use anything that will cut or damage the gutter. For caked on dirt, wetting it down will make it easier to remove. You can use water to check and unclog downspouts, but be gentle as they’re not built to withstand high water pressure. When you’re done cleaning, use the hose to flush the gutters. This is a good time to check for any leaks in the gutter system.

ROOFS
Do a thorough inspection of your roof. Look up from the ground to see if there are any warping or other visible issues. On the roof itself, check for any worn or damaged shingles or tiles. These should be replaced before the cold weather arrives. Inspect for algae growth and also check the flashing to ensure that no water from melting snow and ice can enter your home. Tree branches hanging over the roof can be trimmed and now is a good time to clean off any leaves or twigs that may have fallen since your last maintenance check. Examine your chimney and chimney flashing. Do you have a rain cap installed? Also, consider installing protective screens around the chimney cap to prevent birds, animals and debris from falling into the flue during the cold season.

While you can do roof repairs and maintenance yourself, hiring a professional to do the job may be the safest choice. Contact me and I'll get a roofer to call you back today!

Come back next week to read part 4 of my series on weatherizing your home.

I welcome your feedback on this article.

See more tips at "For Sellers".