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Top 5 To-Do's to Prepare Sheet Metal Gutters and Downspouts for Winter

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Top 5 To-Do's to Prepare Sheet Metal Gutters and Downspouts for Winter


Old Man Winter’s yearly stay is rapidly approaching us. His visit brings a lot of joy with the holiday season and for those who enjoy hunting and outdoor snow sports. However, the winter season can wreak havoc on homes and buildings if we are not properly prepared. If we fail to take preventative measures with our sheet metal gutters and downspouts, a small and easy fix like cleaning out debris can lead to foundation damage and the dreaded ice dams.

sheet metal gutter and downspouts in winter

In order to help you stay ahead of the cold season, we here at Related Metals have come up with a list for you to use in order to be proactive and dodge winter’s building envelope bullet.

Here are the 5 items to help you stay ahead of the game:

1. Remove and Clean Out Blockages and Visible Clogs

The gutter system is designed to catch the water running off the roof and dispose of it through external drainage systems. Gutters and downspouts’ kryptonite is the fall season. As the leaves begin to drop, and the rain falls, it begins to make its way towards the gutters and downspout outlets. If there happens to be a blockage, the water will have nowhere to go which then poses a problem.

Once the gutters begin to overflow, the water now has two choices. The first would be to spill over the face and onto the ground. The problem here is now this water is penetrating the ground at the base of your structure. Which leads to foundation damage and possibly water infiltration. The other option is to begin forcing its way back towards the roof. The risk associated with this is as the water level rises on the roof, it begins to work its way under the roof system and damage the existing structure. Over time, the deck can deteriorate and cause significant damage to the integrity of your home or building.

If you take time to inspect and remove natural debris from your gutters and downspouts twice per year, you can avoid problems that can be detrimental to the performance of your roof system.

2. Installing Gutter Guards

We already know what can happen if we let natural debris accumulate in our gutters and downspouts. For some of us, getting up on the roof and physically removing the debris twice per year is simply not an option. So what to do? You can take the ultimate proactive approach and install a gutter guard system.

Gutter guards act like a filter for your gutters. Any natural debris will run down the roof but instead of finding a home inside your gutters, the guards will let the water pass all while keeping the debris out.

The design and installation team at Related Metals has worked with many gutter guard systems. So if this is an option you would like to explore, please contact us and request a quote.

3. Inspection of Fasteners and Gutter Flange

When discussing most external building materials, typically two items are attached to each other by way of nails, screws, or adhesives. Gutters are no different. Gutters are designed to be attached to the building somehow, some way. Whether that’s by way of a flange or straps is project specific.

Over time, expansion and contraction cycles cause fasteners to break loose and sometimes fall out. The risk here is twofold. Either the backed out fastener will push through and damage your membrane or shingles, or the gutters can break loose and fall off.

Our recommendation would be to inspect the fastening system of your gutters while you are performing your bi-annual gutter cleaning task. If you come across a bad fastener, remove it and replace with a new fastener in its place. Finish by applying a compatible sealant to cover the exposed head of the new fastener.

4. Inspection of Downspouts Connections

It is important to inspect the securement of the downspouts and all of the sections. Any loose or missing fasteners could cause the downspout to break loose and damage your building, surrounding buildings, or pedestrians below. The design and fabrication team at Related Metals has extensive experience in the sheet metal industry. Our products are always fabricated to meet or exceed SMACNA standards. Ensuring proper fastener placement and spacing and strengthening the integrity of your downspouts.

5. Inspection of Pre-finished Coating

Most gutters and downspouts come with a prefinished coating in order to match your building. In addition to aesthetic appeal, this coating serves as a protective finish to prevent rust and deterioration to the metal. Damage to the coating will expose the metal to the weather and accelerate its life cycle. If you suspect you may have damage to your finish, please contact us and we will schedule a time to come out and perform an evaluation.


Related Metals incorporates hemmed edges and Kynar finished metal. These two offerings help prevent unsightly rust and deterioration to your gutters and downspouts. Additionally, the Kynar finish comes with a warranty from the manufacturer. Thus ensuring your sheet metal will maintain its appearance for years to come.

Implementing these five tasks in your fall maintenance routine can help make Old Man Winter’s visit as smooth as possible. Want to learn more? Subscribe to our blog and information will begin to appear as soon as possible.