If you’re like most people, your gutters are not something you really think about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their functionality is very simple.
It’s not until rain gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you realize how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most houses in Erie. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner preferred copper or wood … materials that are definitely meant to stand out! Most are crafted from durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to create a path of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they’re in good shape, your rain gutters will lead runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaks, and the gutters themselves from rust.
When they are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your house and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to fix to be the reason for major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is simple and safe. If you identify any of the following issues, it’s a pretty strong indication that your gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you notice a possible gutter issue, you can decide if it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s something you’d rather call a gutter company to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting water near your home is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the rain runoff away from your house the way they should be. Pooling water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will make the areas around your home constantly soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the exterior of your house. Mold and mildew mean there is a lot of moisture around that area – a possible problem with the rain gutters could be the cause. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are likely to appear on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it may be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a scenario where the advice and knowledge of a professional in Erie would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll need to wait until it’s raining to discover this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean you have gutter damage. It could just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and needs to be cleaned out. Either way, you want to have it looked at right away.
Depending on the construction of your home’s basement, your leak might be caused by any number of things. The standing water issue we mentioned earlier could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls will only keep out so much water. That’s why it is necessary to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters pour directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this flow of water to help it disperse into the ground. But, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool where it isn’t supposed to. This standing rain water can kill plants either by force or by overwatering. It might also displace flower bed materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are a visible sign that there is a lot of moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if pooling water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You usually find water marks right under the gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a usually an indication 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 the easiest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they have damage. After a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your home to assess any possible damage to the roof, exterior, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to your standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some easy ways Elite Erie Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least one time each year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out. Like with anything else, the better you maintain your gutters, the less issues you’ll have with them.
The best time to clean out gutters is during the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are professional gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to handle the mess or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of damage can often be visible from the outside of the gutters. Just a fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the signs we discussed above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection after each season to be sure that your gutters are functioning correctly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Fixing an issue before it becomes too bad can save you a lot of 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.
But, if you let the issue go on too long, you might end up making repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.