Maintenance and Repairs

April 12, 2022 Published by Golden Horseshoe Chapter - By Bill Clark

EAVESTROUGHS - A Year Round Concern

From the Volume 12, Spring 2022 issue of the CCI GHC Condo News Magazine

In the Winter 2022 issue of this magazine, there were several articles on roofs, but you can’t have an efficient roof system without well maintained eavestroughs.

Eavestroughs also referred to as gutters are a common source of trouble for Condominiums and require ongoing maintenance. From huge icicles in the winter, to cars running over the extensions, to birds nesting in them and presenting the homeowners with wonderful chirping noises - 24/7.


In the 1960’s, the gutter industry was completely revolutionized by the invention of an aluminum gutter machine which produced seamless eavestroughs.

Even with all the technological improvements, gutters still clog and cease working. The main problem is debris clogging the OUTLET, the hole in the gutter at the top of the downspout. It is still small and has a lip around it AND this is where most of our problems start.

All rain gutters must be cleaned periodically, especially if you are near any trees and definitely in late Fall. Water will follow the path of least resistance, over, under and around debris in the gutter. Your goal should be to have water free flowing to the outlet, down the downspout and safely away from the house.

Before you begin discussions with an Eaves Contractor you should have a general understanding of the role of eavestroughs and how poor maintenance can result in costly repairs:

imageWhat purpose do eaves serve?

Eaves collect and direct water to a desired location away from walkways, driveways and foundations.

Why do icicles form on my eaves during winter?

This can happen for many reasons. The most common is probably as a result of the freeze/thaw climate in Southern Ontario. When snow builds up at the eaves and melts during the warmer daytime temperatures, it turns to water that often can’t be drained efficiently from our eaves and downspouts. As the colder night temperatures set in, this freezes, and as this process re-occurs the icicles will become larger and larger creating ice dams and large hanging icicles.

Another common issue leading to ice build–up at the eaves is when soffit venting is not utilized correctly. We often find that soffit venting has been plugged or blocked from insulation. This prevents the intake of fresh air and allows warm air to build up in the attic space melting the snow and eventually freezing again creating icicles. Clean Eaves

Why maintain your gutters all year round?

1)Visual staining can be caused by leaves and debris build up in our eaves;
2)Foundation problems can be caused by overflowing eaves allowing water to sit on the ground;
3)Eaves damage can result from build-up of debris;
4)Leaks can develop due to the deterioration of applied sealants;
5)Standing water in eaves can be a breeding ground for insects;
6)Eaves are a catch basin for all sorts of things like toys, bird nests, etc.

imageShould eaves drain into your garden?

While in some cases having the eaves drain into your garden may be fine, however, excessive water can lead to erosion of the soil and if not graded properly the water can make its way back to the foundation resulting in damage or water entry into the home. Always have the eaves directed away from your home.

This is where extensions can be brought into play. There are a few types of extensions on the market: one is a flexible tube available in various lengths that attaches to the end of the eaves and can be directed anywhere. You can also get an extension that is made up of the same material as your eaves. BUT, in both cases, the placement is important because many an extension has been crushed by a car or snow plow which can lead to water damage.

One suggestion would be to bury the eaves leading out the curb, drill a hole in the curb and let the water flow through the hole into the street.

Is it a good idea when replacing your roofs to replace bad eaves?

Yes, work it into your contract. There is nothing more unsightly than a brand new roof and eaves that are falling apart. Plus inefficient gutters would cause damage to your new roof.

Should you look into getting covers for your eaves?

Yes, especially in areas where there are a lot of trees. Covers or eaves guards can be extremely beneficial. They can prevent your downspouts becoming clogged with debris. However, you will still need to clean them because debris will sit on top of the cover and it will be a lot less labour intensive. 

Should eaves be installed at an angle to assist in drainage?

Yes, eaves should be installed at a slope towards the downspouts to assist in drainage.

When seeking an Eavestrough Installation Company consider the following:

How long have they been in the business? A company that has been in business for a lot of years will have experienced a wide variety of challenges and has developed solutions.

Are they local? If your contractor is charging for travelling time it can add to your costs.

Do they have an eavestroughs installation specialist? This could ensure a higher standard of service and quality of job.

Never deal with a company who uses sub contractors. Dealing directly with the personnel who did the work should ensure better communications and easier availability for emergencies.

Are there on-line reviews? Always ask for references, now-a-days, the computer is an excellent source of information.

Proper maintenance of eaves should be one of your top priorities, improper run-off can create preventable foundation problems or expensive roof repairs.

I would like to thank Tyler Colbert of Skyline Contracting for his contribution and assistance in the writing this article.

Bill Clark
Condo Board of Director, WCC439


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