If you are like many people, your rain gutters are not something you often worry about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you understand how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most houses in Brick. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner decided on copper or wood … building materials that are meant to stand out! Most are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of rain gutters is to create a path of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof. When they’re in good shape, your rain gutters will lead runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the foundation and basement from leaking water, and the gutters themselves from rust.
When gutters are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too easy to fix to be the reason for any major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is easy and safe. If you see any of the following issues, it’s a good clue that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you identify a gutter issue, you can decide if it’s something you feel comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s something you should call a gutter company to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water near your home is a good 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 wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or on the sides of your home. Mold and mildew indicate that there is too much moisture around that area – a possible problem with the gutters could be to blame. Remember that mold and mildew are more likely to appear on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where these substances are appearing, it might just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a time where the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Brick would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll need to wait until it’s actually raining to look for this gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean you have gutter damage. It could just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and should be cleaned. In either case, you need to have it looked at right away.
Based on the design of your home’s basement, your leak could be caused by any number of things. The pooling issue we mentioned earlier could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will only block out so much water. That’s why it is so necessary to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters pour directly onto the ground in most cases, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this water flow to help it disperse into the ground. But, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it isn’t supposed to. This standing water can destroy plants by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are a visible sign that there is a lot of moisture on a surface. Water marks are sometimes left behind even if pooling water has evaporated or dissipated. You usually see water marks right beneath the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a usually a sign that rain water is streaming down the outside of the gutters and not staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The last sign of gutter damage is by far the simplest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they definitely have damage. Following a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your home to assess any possible damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to any standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a couple of easy ways Good Home Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time a year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you maintain your gutters, the fewer problems 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. Many homeowners choose to clean their gutters themselves, but there are many professional gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to deal with the mess or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of damage can often be visible from the outside of the gutters. A fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the issues we wrote about above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection following each season to confirm that your gutters are working properly.
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 easily be replaced very affordably.
However, if you let the problem go on for too long, you might end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.