Robert Lamoureux | Tips on how to leave a leafy mess behind

Robert Lamoureux
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Question: Robert, we have a home in an older community here in Santa Clarita, and each fall and winter we have issues with water runoff from our roof, in both pedestrian areas and some planters. It just makes a huge mess.  

We’ve never put gutters on our home because of all the foliage that falls annually, not wanting to have clogged gutters. Is there something we can do to capture the water but not deal with clogged gutters? Thank you ahead of time, for helping us.  

— Joanie D. 

Answer: Joanie, great question. I am not an expert in the newer gutter companies that offer “magic,” so I cannot speak on their product, but it couldn’t hurt for you to look into some of them and even have them out for a quote and discussion on how they could help you.  

Aside from that, here are my thoughts: You can install traditional gutters with downspouts but as with most parts of your home, they’ll need annual maintenance, without fail. If you retrieve the leaves near the end of fall and flush out the gutters and downspouts, you should have no issues.  

Where most folks get themselves into issues with clogged gutters, which ultimately can cause roof leaks, is when they fail to maintain/clean them out. Just like changing the filter in your furnace, gutter cleaning is something that should be on your calendar so you are reminded to do it. If you are in an exceptionally “leafy” area, you may have to do it twice during the season depending on rains.  

There are other options which you can look in to — there are gutter “covers,” somewhat of a strainer that sits over the gutter, allowing water in but debris sits on top. Like the gutters themselves, these need to be cleared off, as a mass of leaves could also block the water flow. It would seem that clearing leaves from the top of this may be easier than from inside the gutter, but you’ll have to do your own homework.  

I hope this helps. Best of luck. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]   

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