If you are like most homeowners, your gutters aren’t something you often think about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their functionality is incredibly simple.
It’s not until gutters aren’t doing their job that you realize how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most houses in Springfield. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … materials that are definitely designed to stand out! Most are crafted from durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to create a route of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they are in good condition, your gutters will lead runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaks, and the rain gutters themselves from rust.
When they are damaged, it can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to fix to be the reason for any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is simple and safe. If you identify any of the following signs, it’s a pretty strong indication that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you identify a gutter problem, you can decide if it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s a project you should trust a gutter company to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water near your home is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the rain runoff away from your house the way they should be. Pooling water can lead to mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. And, it will leave the areas around your house perpetually soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or the sides of your home. Mold and mildew mean there is excessive moisture around that area – a potential issue with the gutters could be to blame. Keep in mind that mildew and mold are more likely to grow on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where they’re appearing, it may be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a time when the advice and knowledge of a professional in Springfield would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll have to wait until it’s actually raining to look for this gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean you have gutter damage. It could just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and should be cleaned out. Either way, you want to have it checked ASAP.
Depending on the design of your home’s basement, the leaking could be due to any number of things. The pooling issue we discussed earlier could definitely result in a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls can only block out so much water. That’s why it is necessary to keep your gutters in good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters empty directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this flow of water to help it submerge into the ground. However, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This pooling water can destroy plants either by force or by overwatering. It will also displace flower bed materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are the first sign that there is too much moisture on a surface. Water marks are sometimes left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated. You will usually find water marks right under the rain gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a usually a sign that water is running down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The last sign of gutter damage is by far the easiest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they definitely have damage. Following a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your house to assess any possible damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to your routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few easy ways Clean Home Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least one time a year. You can lengthen the time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you care for your rain gutters, the fewer issues you’ll experience with them.
The best time to clean gutters is during the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners choose to clean their gutters themselves, but there are professional gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to deal with the mess or the risk.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of gutter damage can often be visible from the outside of the gutters. Just a quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the issues we wrote about above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to ensure that your gutters are functioning the right way.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Taking care of a problem before it becomes too bad can save you time and money. A small crack, for example, can be sealed, or the section of gutter with the crack can be replaced very affordably.
However, if you let the problem go on for too long, you could end up making repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.