There are certain tasks no one likes to do. Raking leaves, mowing lawns, cleaning windows… it is all a boring and exhausting collection of menial jobs that we put off as long as possible. Cleaning gutters is one that we sometimes put off for years, much to the detriment of our homes.
For houses that have plastic or similar siding it isn’t that big of a deal. Eventually clogs will necessitate a cleaning, but there isn’t likely to be damage to the exterior. For people with wood cabins it is a different story. Failing to clear out rain gutters can have much more dire consequences than you might expect.
Here is everything you need to know about rain pipes and your log cabin.
Can Rain Cause Damage To My Log Cabin?
Absolutely and it commonly does. Log cabins are made of wood, which is both a sturdy material and a delicate one. It requires some gentle handling and care in order to make sure it stays in tip top condition. This is sometimes seen as a drawback by homeowners who balk at the maintenance required for a log home, but those who have one swear by the benefits and are quick to say they outweigh the cons.
One of those cons is the damage that can be done by overrunning water. When it rains that water is captured in pipes and sent away from the house. This keeps it from leaking inside through the roof or windows, causing interior damage.
Log cabins are made of wood, which adds another element to the pipes. The water logged in the pipes can cause rot in the logs if they are not moved away. It can also cause a breakdown of the chemicals protecting the lumber, which can cause cracking, flaking and discoloration over time.
You have to make sure your drains are clear at all times to keep this from happening. In some cases it may also be beneficial to add an additional drain to the end to take the water even further from the structure, so the wood can’t leach water from the base. This can happen is the wood hasn’t been restained as regularly as it should.
How Often Should I Clean Rain Gutters If I Have a Log Cabin?
Most experts claim that you should clean your gutters once a year. For a house with siding that would be enough, but for a wooden cabin you would be better off maintaining it more regularly. Try to take care of them once every six months, especially if you come from a wet region that rains more often.
Wind can carry dirt, leave and even critters into your gutters. That leaves them vulnerable to problems like clogs, causing water to become lodged into the pipes. Eventually these will leak and start causing water damage, so you can’t be too careful.
What Tools Do I Need To Clean The Pipes?
It doesn’t take much to clean your gutters but that doesn’t mean you don’t need anything. To start out you need a very stable ladder, one that isn’t likely to fall over. Look for one that has an additional bar to help keep it stable at the base. If you can have someone hold it for you when you are going up and down.
Next, you need a pair of rubber or gardening gloves. This is important because the stuff that ends up in your pipes can be pretty nasty. You will be pulling things out by hand so don’t leave them unprotected.
This next one isn’t absolutely necessary but it will make the job much simpler and less unpleasant. That is a scoop, one that is specifically made for gutter cleaning. You can find out for under $10 at any hardware store, including some with attachments or retractable stems that make it longer or shorter.
Finally, have a hose with a spray attachment ready. Once you have manually moved the bulk of the materials from the gutters you will want to run the water through to push anything else out and clean it entirely.
Some other items you may like to have handy are something cool to drink, sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen and anything else to protect you from the elements. Make sure you have a heavy plastic bag waiting at the bottom of the ladder to clean anything you toss down. You don’t want to take it up with you as you could lose some of your traction up on the ladder. Just pile it into the bag when you are done cleaning out the pipes, the detritus isn’t going anywhere.
Are Gutter Covers Worth The Cost?
Some people will say that the best way to clean gutters is to keep them from getting dirty in the first place. That is when you should consider gutter covers, which protect pipes from letting in debris carried by the wind.
Covers can be a little costly, but it is worth the investment if is means protecting the lumber making up your home. It goes by thickness, averaging 5 – 6 inches, and is paid for by the foot. Generally it will be $2 – $4 per foot and is easy to install. You just snap it into place over the gutters and wallah! Your pipes are safe.
Should I Hire Someone To Clean My Gutters?
This is the question a lot of people have once they have learned everything involved with keeping the gutters maintained on a log cabin. For some it will be worth paying another person to handle the job for them, especially if it is only done once or twice a year.
A landscaping company will cover it if you hire them to maintain your yard, but that is a pretty expensive. A better route may be to advertise for a teenager in the neighborhood to come and get it taken care of for $20. Plenty will be happy to do it and you just have to sit back, relax and enjoy knowing your log cabin is safe from the rain.