Gutter - Fascia - Soffits
Gutters/soffits/fascia are vital to the over health of the exterior of your home. While there is great discussion on cleaning frequency and the level of maintenance, the answer depends solely on the atmospheric conditions in a geographic region. In Florida we have high humidity, hot temperatures and heavy rains. Dirt, pollen, algae and pollutants are attracted to the droplets of dew that form and land on gutters paired with our specific weather conditions, we suggest more frequent cleaning/maintenance of 2x-4x a year. Neglecting these surfaces can cause tiger striping. Tiger striping is caused by the dirt, pollen, algae and pollutants streaming down the face of the gutters. Continuous rain, dew conditions follow and overtime buildup causes alternating light/dark stripes "tiger striping". General cleaning may not remove these stripes, surface restoration may be required depending on the severity of the neglect. In addition to the exterior cleaning to combat tiger striping, interior gutters should be cleaned to remove pine needles, leaves, algae at minimum 1x per year prior to rainy season. While Florida may not have a proper fall, we do have trees that annually drop leaves filling gutters and downspouts. Damage from backed up gutters cost homeowners thousands of dollars.
Gutter guards, chicken wire, etc. are all things you see as options to block/protect gutters from getting filled with leaves. While they "sound" good, there are a few things to consider.
1. Florida rains are NOT like other parts of the U.S.A. We have torrential rains that at times drives sideways, and as quick as those rains come they can disappear. Gutter guards that have small holes counter act that entire purpose of a gutter. A rain gutter by design is to catch water shed from roof and divert it to a downspout where it can be released to a area where no damage will occur. When the gutters are covered by a guard or shield with small holes, the force/speed in which the rain is coming off the roof the rain almost completely bypasses the gutter system, flooding the foundation. Over time this can result in cracked foundations, etc.
2. While chicken wire has larger and more openings leaves / pine needles still find a way into the gutters, which then can not be properly cleaned due to the covering.
There are no shortcuts or quick fixes, a regularly scheduled maintenance program is all you need to prolong and ensure the effectiveness of your gutter system.