When Birds Nest in Gutters, Disaster Can Strike

Keep Birds from Doing Damage to Your Gutters

Watching birds about their business in your backyard can be fun and relaxing. Unfortunately, birds don’t just visit your home to provide entertainment. They can also build nests under your roof or in your gutters that can lead to serious damage. Preventing birds from getting into your gutters is essential to keeping your home’s exterior in good shape.

Are Birds Building Nests in Your Gutters?

Your gutters provide your home with protection from storm damage by diverting water away from the structure. For some birds, though, gutters aren’t a damage-guarding home system. Instead, these birds view your gutters as a great place to take up residence. Among the birds who most prefer to nest in gutters are Finches, Starlings and House Sparrows.

Bird nests might be pretty, but they can cause serious blockages in your gutters. If your gutters become littered with nest debris, they may not be able to divert water during a storm. This can lead to damage to your home. Your gutters may also break under the pressure of blockage.

Remember that you cannot trap or kill many species of birds in the U.S. If you need to remove a nest that is currently obstructing your gutters, consult with Virginia law to determine if you could be fined for removing the nest. Of course, your best option is to discourage birds from building a nest in the first place.

How to Keep Birds Out of Your Gutters

The best way to keep birds out of your gutters is to make it impossible for them to enter gutters in the first place. Many homeowners choose the LeafGuard gutter system. These special gutters are a one-piece solution that prevents birds, leaves and pine needles from entering your gutters. By preventing clogs, these gutters ramp up your home’s storm resistance and protect its exterior.

The LeafGuard gutter system also helps distribute rainfall evenly, reducing the total load on the gutters. This means that breaks in the gutter due to heavy rainfall are extremely rare. Of course, many homeowners also love these gutters because they don’t have to clean them out.

Hanging birdhouses designed to attract the species that are frequenting your yard can also help reduce the risk that birds will build nests under your roof or in your home. Correctly identifying the species trying to invade your space is important. Doing so will help you develop the best nest-resistance strategies while allowing you to find the right type of birdhouse for your feathered visitors.

Are you tired of clearing bird nests and clutter from your gutters? Make an appointment with us at Starling Guttering to get a start on controlling your bird problems.

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Basement Moisture: Your Gutters May Be the Sneaky Culprit

It may manifest as an odd, musty odor, or perhaps you’ll notice a mysterious puddle on your basement floor. Before you blame the dog, you might want to have a closer look. Basement moisture starts out as a puzzling annoyance, but it can swiftly become one of your worst nightmares. If you don’t determine the cause and correct it quickly, you may face serious structural damage to walls and floors and unhealthy mold growth on your valuable and irreplaceable belongings. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause of dampness. It may take a little trial-and-error. Here are a few of the most common causes.

Indoor Problems Leading to Basement Moisture

•    Plumbing leaks or broken pipes
•    Condensation on walls and floors due to poorly insulated pipes or contrasting temperatures
•    Poor basement ventilation or improper venting of appliances
•    Malfunctioning sump pumps
•    Foundation cracks that allow groundwater infiltration

Outdoor Sources of Moisture Infiltration

•    Pooling of water caused by land that slopes inward towards the foundation
•    Improper sprinkler placement or overuse of irrigation systems
•    Old, leaky windows
•    Heavy rains or flooding
•    Gutters clogged with leaves, twigs, debris, pine needles, bird nests and feathers that   cause misdirection of water flow towards the foundation instead of away from it

LeafGuard Can Help Keep Your Basement Dry

Foundation and landscape issues can bring major headaches, but if your moisture problem is caused by clogged gutters, you’re in luck; there’s a simple and affordable way to fix it. LeafGuard seamless gutter systems keep leaves, pine needles and other debris out of your gutters, so water can flow freely away from your home. LeafGuard’s solid, one-piece construction eliminates the need for clips or removable parts that could loosen or become dislodged, so you enjoy guaranteed, year-round protection. Some causes of water damage are difficult to avoid, but a gutter problem isn’t one of them.

Starling Guttering Protects Virginia Homes from Water Damage

Starling Guttering is a family owned business serving the Peninsula and Middle Peninsula areas. We introduced the LeafGuard gutter system to Virginia, and we’ve been keeping homes safe from damages caused by clogged gutters since 1993 If you suspect your gutters are a source of trouble, we can give you peace of mind by providing superior guttering products and nothing less than the highest quality customer service. Contact us today to learn more.

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The 5 Biggest Gutter Cleaning Mistakes You’re Still Making

DIY Bloopers That Don’t Have to Happen

Most homeowners don’t think of gutters as a decorative art form. Their cleaning takes more patience than skill. It’s a tough job, but why make gutter maintenance any harder? If your efforts aren’t paying off when the rain pours down, you might be committing one of these five gutter faux pas:

1. Staying Off the Ladder – That long-handled contraption sings a siren song about staying grounded while you’re cleaning the gutters. Before giving in to temptation, think about what you’ll miss. An extension pole gives tools additional reach, but you can’t see what’s going on. This DIY helper is best suited for preliminary work. Don’t expect it to handle heavy clogs or scrub away slimy messes.

2. Making It Too Easy – Wind gusts drop leaves into gutters, so why can’t mechanical air blow them right back out? Shop vac and leaf blower systems put power in your hands, but they also blast debris right back onto the rooftop. Robotic cleaners operate on the same air-blown principle. While they’re fun to watch, the little androids are very good at repositioning gutter gunk.

3. Juggling a Sloppy Bucket – It’s a mess up there. Your gloved hands get slick, so don’t try to hold a trash bucket or bag while you’re digging out gutter debris. Tie your container to the ladder, and enjoy a safer grip on the job. Be sure to steady your aim from scoop to bucket. Sticky, wet gutter garbage slides down siding, splatters windows and makes a mess on the sidewalk.

4. Investing in Fancy Tools – Innovation makes the tool world a joy to browse at the home improvement store, but specialty instruments won’t make gutter cleaning any easier. A pair of gloves and a garden trowel are your best friends for scooping up leaves and digging out clogs. Just because it’s a big job doesn’t mean it requires a DIY tool arsenal. Save your money, and surprise your toolbox with something it really wants.

5. Ignoring Permanent Solutions – Replacing your gutters seems like a big step, but a closed system permanently ends the endless chore of cleaning. Its hooded design prevents leaves and debris from entering and clogging gutters while it efficiently channels rainfall off the roof. Professionally installed LeafGuard gutter protection systems are guaranteed to keep you off the gutter-cleaning ladder.

If you’d like more tips about conquering gutter grime, contact us at Starling Guttering. We’ve proudly served home and business owners throughout the Virginia Peninsula and Middle Peninsula for more than 40 years, so trust us to help you end the cycle of gutter goof-ups.

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10 Problems with Conventional Gutters that No One Warned You About

The pitfalls of traditional seamed gutter design

Gutter problems are common, especially in traditional seamed designs. If your gutters are exhibiting one or more of these issues, it may be time to consider an upgrade.

Clogs

Accumulating leaves and debris mat together when they get wet and interrupt the water flow in your gutters. The result is water spilling out of the gutters and down the sides of the house.

Leaks

The seams between gutter sections and the space where the gutters meet the roof are both prime areas for water leaks. Old gutters may develop holes that let water escape where it shouldn’t.

Ice Dams

Winter can spell disaster for uncovered gutters. An autumn’s worth of fallen leaves plus snow melt from the roof creates conditions for ice to form. Ice can damage gutters or cause problems with overflow.

Sagging

Whether from ice, inclement weather or an overload of debris, gutters can begin to sag. This not only looks unsightly but can also lead to leaks that cause further damage.

Separating

In some cases, gutters become completely detached from the roof. This can happen after they begin to sag or due to weaknesses in the mounting hardware. Without a gutter in place, water simply runs off the roof and winds up around the foundation.

Improper Pitch

Gutters must be angled toward the downspout in order to drain properly. When they don’t, water may pool and add weight to the gutter, causing sagging or other damage.

Downspout Defects

Downspouts are meant to drain well away from the foundation of your home. However, this doesn’t always happen due to poor construction or an improper lawn gradient. Discharged water flows toward the house and often into the basement.

Undersized

If a gutter is the wrong size for the roof, it won’t be able to handle the volume of water that drains off.

Wildlife

Uncovered gutters are prime real estate for animals such as birds and squirrels. Their nests create nasty clogs and an infestation can be hard to get rid of.

Bad Installation

Sometimes gutters weren’t installed the right way in the first place. Sections may be missing or the drip edge that directs water from the roof into the gutter may be in the wrong spot and cause leaks.

Seamless gutters topped with a LeafGuard system reduce or eliminate all of these common problems. If you’re ready to beat the gutter blues, contact us at Starling Guttering for a free estimate on installing one of these beneficial gutter systems for your Virginia home. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with low-maintenance, clog-free gutters and freedom from worrying about common gutter problems.

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Gutter Squirrels? It Can Happen in Your Home

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When squirrels take up residence in your gutters, it could spell trouble

People find some unusual things in their gutters. Toys, gardening tools, birds’ nests and more may be hiding among the ordinary debris. While it might be amusing to come across some of these items as you clean out your gutters, one thing you don’t want in your home is evidence of squirrels.

Unwelcome Guests

Gutters provide a safe place for squirrels to hang out. If you think about it, the shape of a gutter is almost like a hammock or bed, making it the perfect place for little critters to hunker down. Nesting materials are readily available either from nearby trees or what’s already accumulated in the gutters. When you have a place to live that’s protected from predators and changing weather conditions, why would you want to leave?

A Furry Little Problem

Unfortunately, squirrels are more than just cute, fuzzy denizens of the country. They’re rodents, and rodents are chewers. A squirrel will chew on just about anything when given the chance, up to and including your roof, insulation and the gutters themselves. Once squirrels have made your home their castle, it’s only a matter of time before damage starts to appear.

Squirrel nests in gutters are definite precursors to clogging. These collections of leaves and other bits and bobs from around your yard stop the flow of water, causing gutters to fill up and spill over. This water can get into the spaces under your roof or wind up in the basement, encouraging mold growth and facilitating rot.

Banishing Rodent Invaders

If you don’t want squirrels around the house but don’t mind having them in the yard, set up a squirrel-friendly area with safe trees and shrubs along with something for them to eat. Providing an alternative living space makes gutters less attractive and keeps squirrels occupied well away from your home.

Restrict access to the roof by trimming back tree branches that hang over the house. Cover downspout holes with wire mesh to prevent squirrels trying to climb up that way. To completely deny them entry to the gutters, install a LeafGuard gutter system. Even if these pesky pests make it to the roof, they won’t find a way around LeafGuard. Covered gutters also don’t accumulate the debris that makes gutter space so attractive to squirrels in the first place, so chances are that they’ll look for another place to nest.

To stop squirrel invasions before they start, call Starling Guttering. We’ll install a LeafGuard gutter system that not only looks great but also keeps squirrels from taking up residence. Visit our website for a full list of benefits and services or contact us today to request an estimate.

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Can Water From Your Gutters Wind Up in the Basement?

Learn more about the important role your home’s gutters play in preventing basement floods

Perched high above the ground, the gutters rarely get the recognition they deserve for preventing potentially extensive – and expensive – water damage. When kept in good condition, gutters work much like waterfalls, collecting excess water in horizontal pools before gradually sending it down to the ground through the attached downspouts.

Because downspouts are directed away from the exterior of the house, they complete the very important last step in the drainage process of diverting water away from areas where it can cause a lot of problems. Foundation cracks, mold growth, rotting wood siding and damaged landscaping are some of the best examples of water-related disasters that can be easily averted with a well-functioning gutter system.

What Does All of This Have to Do With Water in My Basement?

It’s tough to imagine that something as simple as a well-maintained gutter system can put the brakes on recurrent basement floods, but let’s break down the chain of events that happens after bad weather strikes. When gutters fail to do their job correctly, large amounts of water can end up dangerously close to the home’s foundation. Thanks to the law of gravity, a low-level structure like your basement acts as a natural end point for any stream that flows inward.

What makes flooding that results from malfunctioning gutters especially problematic is that it creates ongoing water damage. Over time, a small amount of water seeping into your foundation and basement on a regular basis can be just as destructive as a one-time flash flood.

What Can I Do to Keep My Home’s Gutters in Top Shape?

1. Stay on top of annual cleanings. Gutters are constantly exposed to leaves, branches and other debris that can block the flow of water. Most homeowners can get away with cleaning gutters twice a year – preferably at the beginning of fall and spring seasons – but you should aim for three or four times instead if you live in a heavily wooded area.

2. Consider installing a gutter protection system. Designed to block all falling debris, gutter protection systems like LeafGuard can help keep your home’s gutters clean all year long at a price you can afford.

3. Patch new holes and cracks after every cleaning. Fixing minor issues as soon as you find them can help you avoid complete replacements and other pricey problems down the road.

Looking for professional help? Contact us at Starling Guttering to learn more about our products and services in the Virginia area.

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Out With the Old, In With the New: Modernizing Your Gutters

Why making the switch to seamless gutters is worth the investment

Gutters are designed to prevent home damage and landscape disasters by directing rainwater and snow melt away from the house and yard. Old gutters clog more easily, leading to leaks and overflow that can harm your property. If you’ve been dealing with gutter problems, it’s time to consider an upgrade to a seamless gutter system.

The Seamless Gutter Difference

Traditionally, gutters have been made of materials such as aluminum, vinyl or steel and manufactured in standard lengths that are then joined together to create a complete line of gutters all around your house. Over time, these joints can separate and cause leaks that send water trickling down the sides of your house. Joints are also potential sites for clogs as debris get caught, build up and lead to overflow.

Seamless gutters use the same materials as traditional but are made to the specifications of your home. The only joints in these systems occur at the corners, greatly minimizing the potential for leaks. The seamless LeafGuard gutter system, keeps debris out to prevent clogging. Seamless gutters may be customized to match the exterior design of your home, creating a cohesive style that increases curb appeal.

Why Switch to Seamless Gutters?

Since seamless gutters are made to your home’s specifications, they offer a better fit than traditional to further control water drainage and prevent the gutters from bowing or sagging away from the house over time. Cutting down on leaks and overflow is important for keeping your home in good shape. Old gutters that are separating at the seams or that clog frequently can lead to problems such as rot. Rot can damage the fascia boards underneath your roof’s edge and cause water to leak down into the walls.

Water that overflows out of gutters can stain the outside of the house and wind up seeping into the basement through cracks in the foundation. Basement flooding causes loss of property and can also create a breeding ground for unhealthy mold. The puddles of water that collect in your yard or on the driveway when the gutters overflow create landscaping problems such as bowing, cracking and soil erosion. Switching to seamless helps combat all these issues.

When you’re ready to update to seamless gutters with a LeafGuard gutter system, contact us at Starling Guttering. Our one-piece covered gutters keep your Virginia home safe from the damaging effects of clogging and water overflow. You’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing that your home’s exterior is not only protected but also looks better with a brand new gutter system. Request an estimate today to get started.

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Water in the Basement? It’s Time for a Splash Block

Keep your basement dry with one simple modification to your gutters

Your gutters are meant to keep your home safe from water damage. Gutters fitted with a LeafGuard gutter system reduces debris buildup and ensures that water flows freely. However, during strong storms, water can rush out of the downspout and straight into the ground near your home’s foundation. Splash blocks are designed to prevent this and the subsequent damage that can result from repeated soil saturation.

What is a Splash Block?

A splash block is any type of downspout extension that diverts water an average of 12 to 18 inches away from the foundation. This protects the ground both from excessive moisture and the force of the water as it pours out of the downspout.

Types of Splash Blocks

Splash block designs range from simple to decorative. Basic protection comes in the form of plastic trays that sit underneath the downspout. Other types include tubes that fit directly onto the mouth of the spout and extend away from the house. Trays made from metal or other sturdy materials and adorned with accents such as turtles and fish add an attractive flair to this functional home improvement.

Benefits of Splash Blocks

Though it may sound like the simplest thing in the world, the job of diverting water away from the foundation makes splash blocks very important. When water runs through your gutters and out the downspout, it’s supposed to keep moving away from the house. When it doesn’t, the ground around the downspout becomes too wet, and the extra water will drain away however it can. This may include seeping into your basement through cracks in the foundation. In cooler weather, there’s a chance that water could freeze and damage the foundation by making those cracks open wider.

Repeated heavy rains may cause the soil near downspouts to erode. Too much erosion and a constant state of dampness can even cause your foundation to begin to shift or settle, which in turn compromises the integrity of your home’s structure. Even if the damage doesn’t reach this point, a consistently wet basement is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, neither of which are a welcome site in your home.

Starling Guttering can outfit your home with a LeafGuard gutter system that deflects debris and carries water away from the foundation where it belongs. Our licensed specialists work to bring these quality gutters to the Peninsula and Middle Peninsula areas of Virginia. Contact us today for an estimate and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your foundation will stay safe and dry no matter what the weather.

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Bad Gutters and How They Lead to Structural Damage

When Does a Gutter Become a Liability?

Bad gutters are just bad gutters, right? Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case. Gutters that aren’t properly maintained can have a stunning range of knock-on effects that may dramatically impact the resale value and structural integrity of the homes they adorn. It’s important to understand the consequences of bad gutters and their potential to do serious harm to your house.

What Are the Signs of Bad Gutters?

The first signs of a deteriorating gutter system may not appear in your gutters. Some of the most common indications that you may have a problem include:

•    Damaged roof shingles that require replacement only a few years after installation
•    A sagging or uneven roof that appears to favor the area closest to the damaged gutter system
•    Water damage in the attic due to leaky or otherwise compromised roofs
•    Cracked foundations and walls due to uneven weight distribution
•    Broken windows or uneven window frames

Over time, these problems can become worse and may eventually threaten the structural integrity of the home itself.

The Mechanics of a Faulty Gutter System

Most homeowners don’t regularly get on their roofs and examine their gutters firsthand. However, this is a great way to determine whether your gutter system is in need of repair.

Once installed, improperly maintained gutters typically take several seasons to deteriorate to the point at which they actively cause harm. This deterioration is typically due to the buildup of leaf matter and other organic detritus along the length of each gutter. This creates a blockage that prohibits water and ice from draining out of the gutter. Over time, the weight of this material causes the gutter to separate. This may take the fascia and other roof elements along for the ride, compromising your home’s structure and creating a weight imbalance that can seriously affect other parts of the home.

Problems Where You Least Expect Them

If they’re not addressed, bad gutters can lead to problems that seem tangentially related at best. These include:
•    Soil erosion around the base of your home
•    Basement flooding and leakage that can lead to termite infestation
•    Widespread mold and mildew growth inside and outside the house

LeafGuard gutters are critical to preventing these problems and ensuring that your gutters provide years of optimal performance.

Find a Full Range of Gutters in Southeastern Virginia

We hope you’re newly committed to keeping your gutters in great shape. Once you get in the habit of looking after this essential part of your home, you’ll find it easy to keep it in tip-top shape. Of course, we’re happy to provide guidance and insight as you work to improve or replace your gutters. Visit us online to learn more about what we can do for your home!

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40-year Anniversary of Starling

Here’s to the Next 40 Years of Excellent  Customer Service

Customer satisfaction has been the key to our success. Our staff is knowledgeable and responsive, both in the field and in the office, and we are committed to delivering great products, expertly installed and backed by outstanding customer service.

What Do Our Customers Say?

Mr. Vollmer tells us that, “I will definitely recommend Starling Guttering. Will and his crew were very professional and courteous. Newport News, Mr. Braddy says, “Donnie was outstanding in sales. Will and his crew were very professional. Job well done, Gloucester, Mr. Pierpont raves, “The crew was exceptionally professional and polite. Work was performed in an efficient and thorough manner. All waste from the job was removed and the area around the house was left clean.”

We hope that this blog post is a suitable “thanks” for the years of patronage and loyalty that the Peninsula and Middle Peninsula has shown us. However, we’d like to do more to thank our loyal customers—and those who haven’t yet found us—for being so great. That’s why we offer a stunning range of gutter solutions and are happy to provide our services at a 50% discount to our normal labor costs. Visit us online to learn more.

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