Many older homes and buildings still have traditional wood gutters. Though wood gutters have dropped in popularity with the invention of easier to install plastic gutters, they remain a great way to add character to a home or building. If you decide to install wood gutters there are a few maintenance tips that you might not be aware of. Properly maintaining your wood gutters can double the life span of the gutters. It is very important to keep up with gutter maintenance to avoid having to replace your gutters frequently. This is especially true when it comes to wood gutters.
Paint the Exterior
Because wood gutters that are not sealed can crack and rot easily, it is a good idea to paint the outside of your wooden gutter with either high quality paint or a good sealant. Because of the amount of abuse that gutters take it is necessary to repaint once every other year.
Oil the Interiors
You need to keep the inside of your gutters as protected from damage as the outside. It is important to regularly oil wooden gutters to keep them from drying out and becoming cracked. There are a lot of opinions out there on what type of oil is best for this project. Most would suggest that you use a thin layer of the traditionally-used linseed oil for this purpose. Others believe that it is best to avoid linseed oil and instead use something like motor oil or mineral oil. The important thing is that you keep the wooden gutters well oiled.
The largest part of maintaining gutters is keeping them clean. Wooden gutters need to be cleaned out thoroughly, removing all debris that may have collected at least once a year. Cleaning wooden gutters every 6 months is an even better idea.
Fit with a Metal Interior
These days you can retrofit the inside of wooden gutters with a metal liner. This will help preserve the wood gutters far longer than they would last on their own. The metal liners are fairly inexpensive to buy, but can be pretty difficult to put into the wood. Should you decide to retrofit your existing wooden gutters with metal ones it will cut down considerably on the amount of oiling required. You will still need to paint the exterior of your gutters regularly and keep them clean.
Remove Rotten Pieces
If while performing routine maintenance of a wood gutter, you notice that some pieces are rotten you need to immediately remove those pieces and replace them. If you can’t do it yourself hire a contractor to help with the project. You do not want rotten wood hanging off the top of your house as it can attract any number of pests and it will weaken the wood around it causing an unnecessary strain on other parts of your roof and gutter.
Wood gutters add a great deal of value to your home because they are rare and very attractive. They are much heavier than other types of gutters and can be more expensive, but they are a nice accent. Wood gutters can last anywhere from 15 to 100 years depending on the type of wood used and the amount of maintenance.