With our changing climate, we can expect more frequent storms with heavier rain, even in sunny Maui. But preparing your property for heavy rain does not mean pouring a lot of money down the drain. Some easy maintenance should keep you, well, as right as rain.

Frequently overlooked, rain gutters, drains, and downspouts are the primary channels for rainwater to drain away from your building properly and are a critical element of your building’s roofing system. Rain gutters are designed to prevent water from entering condominium buildings and homes by redirecting the rainwater away from the exterior of the walls and their foundations.

A properly sized, installed, and maintained gutter and downspout system should allow for maximum water flow with the least amount of resistance. Since we are already into hurricane season, here are a few things do with your existing gutter and downspout system now, before the next heavy rain event:

  1. Clear rooftop drainage and other wall openings
  2. Clear downspouts and gutters
  3. Check for crumpled downspouts at the exit point
  4. Make sure intended water exit points are open
  5. Clear skylights and window frames of debris
  6. Check that any penetration points are watertight
  7. Replace or secure missing or loose roofing and flashing
  8. Ensure gutter brackets are secured
  9. Check that gutters are properly sloped
  10. Advise landscaping staff to let management know immediately of any damaged or broken parts of drainage or downspout systems, in order to take appropriate action.

Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions about gutter types and maintenance.

Q: What types of gutters are usually installed?
A: There are a variety of material types including galvanized and copper gutters, however, aluminum gutters are often chosen for their cost effectiveness and longevity.

Q: What is the trend in gutter innovation presently on the market?
A: Custom gutters with embossed designs.

Q: What is the most ideal type of gutter?
A: A seamless gutter minimizes leakage points

Q: When are gutter screens required?
A: Typically, they are only recommended for high debris and foliage locations. Proper screen type and installation is key.

Q: How often should I clean my gutters and downspouts?
A: Minimally, gutters should be cleaned annually, but a qualified roofer can assess frequency need based on your location’s conditions.

Q: What should be considered and addressed during installation?
A: Always work with a qualified roofing contractor or installer to assess:

  • The slope of the gutters to ensure correct drainage
  • The correct size of the gutters will make sure they can manage your area’s average rainfall amounts
  • Gutter materials, such as flashing, should be well-matched with existing building materials
  • Ground drainage setup is crucial in keeping water away from your foundation

Finally, with extensive exposure to natural elements, keep in mind that sediment, foliage, debris, and trash will accumulate on your roof and gutter system. Regular maintenance and cleaning will help keep your drainage system working effectively and as intended when the rain falls.