Underdecking Must-Haves: Outdoor Living

Do you wish you had a relaxing space to hang out and enjoy your yard? Does water drip from your second story deck make it impossible to use the space below when it is raining? If you want functional space that stays dry and doubles as a finished outdoor entertaining area, adding an under deck gutter system may be just what you need.

Underdecking ― the process of attaching material to the underside of a deck ― can help create a covered space that can be used year-round.

The area under a raised first-floor deck is typically damp, with mold or mildew forming on the slab and beams underneath. Use a deck roof to keep the area dry and usable for storage. Additional benefits of implementing a deck roof include:

  • Bird proof
  • Self-cleaning
  • Handles snow loads
  • Guaranteed not to leak or sag

How it Works

An aluminum under deck ceiling system acts like a dropped-ceiling and channels rainwater and snow away from the space between the decking planks. The overlapping panels attach to a framework that angles water, snow, and debris into seamless gutters and downspouts. By moving moisture away from the house and foundation, your patio, furniture, and other contents stay dry. Depositing the water in specific areas prevents the ground around your home from becoming oversaturated.

Clearance requirements for underdecking are minimal. On the high end, the deck roof hangs about two inches below the beams with the slope dropping an eighth of an inch for every foot.

Aluminum vs. Vinyl

The temperature fluctuates significantly throughout the year in Minnesota and Wisconsin, from scorching hot summers to frigid winters. Snow and ice may thaw and freeze multiple times in a single season. Unlike vinyl, aluminum alloy does not contract and expand with the temperature. This means that the deck ceiling will not develop gaps or cracks over time. Here are three more reasons why aluminum is a better choice:

  • Aluminum is rigid and stronger than vinyl, so it will not sag or buckle over time. As the under deck system can feature light fixtures, fans, speakers and other outdoor accessories to make space feel warm and inviting, it is important to ensure the material used is supportive.
  • Birds and squirrels often choose to build their nests in traditional gutters and under the deck against the beams. The deck ceiling uses overlapping panels that are enclosed with flashing, effectively critter-proofing the area.
  • Aluminum alloy requires very little maintenance, and you can power wash or stain your deck as you usually would. Dish soap or glass cleaner can be used with a soft cloth, sponge or shammy to clean the panels without scratching the surface.

Finish Your Yard in Style

Once your under deck system is in place, give your home a finishing touch that reflects your personality with concrete patios and hardscaping. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

  • Maximize your space by using natural stone and extending it beyond the covered patio area.
  • Create walkways to your outdoor space with stamped or broomed concrete services.
  • Extend your outdoor season with a fire pit or similar feature. It makes a gathering cozy, whether you are having a party or a quiet evening for two.
  • Add functionality to your yard with an outdoor living space.

Completing your yard with design details can enhance curb appeal and increase property value by up to 25 percent. At All Exteriors, we work with you to create your perfect outdoor space, from concrete patios to retaining walls and driveways. For more information on creating the yard of your dreams, contact us today!

A Comprehensive Gutter Cleaning Guide

Cleaning your gutters is one of the more necessary (and dreaded), parts of home ownership. The job can be a hassle and even a danger, but skip it for too long, and you could see some severe damage to your home. This handy gutter cleaning guide will tell you everything you need to know about why clear gutters are necessary, how to get them clean, and how to avoid ever having to do it again.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Gutters

Before we get into the how, let’s talk about why gutter cleaning is so important, how often it needs to be done, and what could happen if you slack off.

Why Should You Clean Your Gutters?

Gutters are designed to carry water away from your roof and ultimately away from your house, preventing water damage from heavy rains and snow. Unfortunately, if your gutters are clogged, not only are they not draining away from your home, they can cause water to overflow, resulting in water damage. Cleaning your gutters ensures that waters from rain and snow will drain efficiently, keeping your home safe and undamaged.

How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?

The average homeowner should clean their gutters twice a year, in spring and fall, to clear debris, prevent clogs, and keep everything flowing smoothly. However, this can vary based on where you live. For example, homeowners in very arid climates with fewer trees might only have to clean their gutters once a year. On the other hand, here in the Midwest, we can have harsh winters with lots of ice, making it important to clean your gutters a minimum of twice a year. If you have a lot of trees on your property, you may even need to have them cleaned three or four times a year.

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Gutters Regularly?

Depending on how quickly your gutters get clogged, you might not actually notice any issues right away if you forget to clean your gutters. Once you get a clog (and you will), water will stop draining effectively, and heavy storms with lots of rain, ice, or snow will cause the water to begin to damage your home. In addition, heavy water-filled and debris-laden gutters can sag or break away from the house, damaging the roof and fascia.

How to Clean Gutters

Now that you know how important it is to clean your gutters let’s talk about how to complete this tricky, yet important task.

Cleaning Traditional Gutters

Traditional gutters are open along the top to catch water as it runs off your roof. This is a simple, effective design for catching water, but it’s also great at catching everything else too. Leaves and other debris easily fall inside and get stuck. To remove collected debris, you’ll need a ladder, a bucket, a small shovel or trowel, and a garden hose.

  • For safety’s sake, use a ladder that’s taller than your gutters by about three feet.
  • Have a bucket for debris hanging on your ladder.
  • Scoop any debris out of the gutters using the trowel, and put it in your bucket.
  • Check for clogs and flush the downspouts by running the garden hose down the downspout and turning it on.

Checking Gutters for Damage

Water damage to your home isn’t the only side effect of clogged gutters. When debris is left to rot in the gutters for long periods of time, it absorbs water and causes the metal gutters to rust, creating leaks. Gutter seams, where two lengths of gutter are joined together, are particularly vulnerable to catching debris and developing leaks. Leaky gutters can’t do their job, so while you are cleaning the gutters you should check the integrity of the gutters themselves.

  • After a rainstorm, check your gutters for leaks that need to be repaired and mark them so you’ll be able to find them easily once dry.
  • While you’re cleaning your gutters, visually inspect them for chipping or flaking paint, rust, gaps, leaks, or loosened supports.
  • Repair or replace sections of gutter, downspouts, or supports as necessary to ensure adequate drainage.

Cleaning Covered Gutters

Some gutters are covered with an add-on screen or cover to try to keep debris out. These gutters will still need to be occasionally cleaned to remove debris that got past the screen or cover. When it’s time, you’ll need to remove the screen or hood first, possibly requiring a professional to do the job. While screens or covers may mean cleaning your gutters less often, they’ll also make it more expensive and time-consuming when it comes to cleaning.

The alternative is a fully integrated, all-in-one system such as K-Guard Seamless Gutters. These gutters don’t have seams where leaks can develop, and they have a custom, removable hood that is designed to work with the gutter system, not against it. These are true maintenance-free and clog-free gutters, and the lifetime warranty guarantees that they will stay that way or be cleared or replaced for free.

Make Life Easier: Hire a Professional

If you’d rather not clean your own gutters, there is a solution: You can call a professional home improvement company and have them do the task for you, or better yet, install a maintenance-free option. The cost of having your gutters cleaned several times a year can add up, especially if you live in an area where it needs to be done frequently. Save yourself time, money, and worry by calling All Exteriors LLC today to have K-Guard Seamless Gutters installed on your home.

Are Seamless Gutters Really Seamless?

An excellent gutter system in good repair is important, not only for aesthetics and convenience but also because it protects your house from the damage that could be caused by water not being drained away from the house properly. Water draining around the foundation can cause damages and leaks, and the buildup of ice dams caused by improperly draining gutters can cause leaks and water damage from above.

Read more

Why You Should Upgrade to K-Guard Gutters

As you do seasonal maintenance around your Midwestern house this time of year, one of your tasks is most likely cleaning out the leaves and debris that has collected in your gutters. A messy task at best and sometimes even a dangerous one, it’s a job that nevertheless must be done.

Or must it? The good news is that with the right upgrades, you’ll never have to clean your gutters again. Here are several reasons why you should upgrade to K-Guard Gutters today.

K-Guard Gutters are guaranteed to be clog free.

Do gutter guards work? The short answer is yes, but not all gutter guards are created equally. Some are just “gutter toppers,” lacking the strength or the design to do their job the way they’re supposed to. K-Guard Gutters, on the other hand, are designed to be an all-in-one system of seamless gutters. The hood is integrated into the gutter so that water goes in and everything else stays out.

K-Guard Gutters are strong and durable.

Many gutter systems easily collapse under the weight of the snow, water, and debris. If you’re tired your gutters sagging and falling, check out K-Guard Gutters. Strong gutters and gutter hangers ensure that your gutters will stay in place and provide protection for your home all year round.

K-Guard Gutters are designed to work with your home without damaging your roof.

These gutters may look great, with a sleek, stylish appearance that will complement any style, but they do more than just that. K-Guard Gutters have been designed specifically to be installed flush against the edge of the roof without causing any damage.

K-Guard Gutters are truly zero maintenance.

Are you tired of having to clean your gutters, or if you have gutter toppers, are you fed up with them not doing their job? Have K-Guard Gutters installed in your home, and that’s the last time you’ll have to do anything with your gutters for a long time. Every K-Guard gutter review you find will indicate that these truly are 100 percent maintenance free gutters. The integrated hood keeps debris out, ending your seasonal task of cleaning the gutters, while the special coating keeps them looking good and holds rust at bay for longer than traditional gutters.

As you clean your gutters this season, think about the fact that this could be the last time you ever do so. Unless you really enjoy this one-on-one time with your ladder, there’s no reason to do this even one more time. You won’t even have to do the installation! Call All Exteriors LLC today to find out more about how K-Guard Gutters can minimize your outdoor maintenance.

Featured image: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

How to Clean Gutters You Can’t Reach

“Work Smarter, Not Harder”

Cleaning your gutters is always a messy, tedious job, but it’s downright unsafe when you can’t reach them easily. No one wants to have to tell the paramedics that they fell trying to clean their gutters! But like with everything, there’s a way to work smarter, not harder. Here are several tricks for how to clean gutters you can’t reach while keeping yourself safe.

  • Gutter vacuum attachments: If you have a shop vac or a wet/dry vac, you can get attachments or make a tool that will make gutter cleaning easy, even when they’re far over your head. Just suck the leaves and muck into your vacuum, and then dump it into the trash!
  • Leaf blower attachments: Like with the vacuum, you can also get or make attachments for your leaf blower that will allow you to get up into those gutters. If your leaf blower has a reverse feature, you can use it just like a vacuum, or you can use it to blow all the leaves right out of the gutter.
  • Gutter flusher and cleaner: If you like the idea of a device but want one that will do a more thorough job, check out a flusher and cleaner. These extendable tools hook up to your garden hose and allow you to simply flush out your gutters while your feet never leave the ground.
  • Professional gutter cleaning services: If all of this still sounds like too much of a hassle for you, never fear. You can still easily get your gutters cleaned without having to put yourself in harm’s way. All you have to do is pick up the phone, or click on the right link! Contact All Exteriors LLC, and we will do the dirty work for you… literally.
  • Maintenance-free gutters: If you don’t want the expense of having to have someone clean your gutters all of the time, but you still don’t want to do the work yourself, you might be a good a candidate for K-Guard covered, seamless gutters. These maintenance-free gutters are guaranteed not to clog, as they have a specially designed hood that keeps leaves and debris out while letting water in so that it can drain properly. Putting yourself in danger to clean out your gutters is a thing of the past!

Cleaning your gutters is a hassle, but a necessary one if you want them to function properly. If you’re tired of trying to figure out how to clean your gutters every year, or if you just don’t want to have to worry about them at all anymore, contact All Exteriors LLC and we’ll help you find a solution.


Featured photo by Suzanna Tucker/Shutterstock