If you’re like most homeowners, your gutters aren’t something you often think about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you realize just how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most roofs in Wheaton. They blend into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … building materials that are designed to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of rain gutters is to create a path of minimal resistance for rain to get off your roof. When they are in good shape, your rain gutters will route runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the foundation and basement from leaks, and the rain gutters themselves from wear and rust.
When gutters are damaged, it can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your house and surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to fix to be the cause of any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you see any of the following signs, it’s a pretty good indication that your gutters have some type of damage.
Once you find a possible gutter problem, you can decide whether it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s something you should trust a gutter company for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water near your home is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not directing the rain runoff away from your house the way they are designed to. Standing water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will make the areas around your home perpetually wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or the sides of your home. Mold and mildew mean that there is excessive moisture around that area – a potential problem with the gutters could be to blame. Remember that mold and mildew are likely to appear on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where they’re growing, it might just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a scenario when the advice and knowledge of a professional in Wheaton would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll have to wait until it’s actually raining to notice this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that you have gutter damage. It could just be that the gutter is full of debris and needs to be cleaned. Either way, you want to have it looked at right away.
Based on the construction of your basement, the leaking could be caused by any number of things. The standing water issue we discussed before 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 good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters pour directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this water flow to help it submerge into the ground. But, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it isn’t supposed to. This water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It will 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 sometimes left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated. You will usually see water marks under the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication that rain water is pouring down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The final sign of gutter damage is by far the simplest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they have damage. After a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your home to identify any damage to the roof, outer walls, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to your routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some simple ways TLC Gutter Cleaning recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least once 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 rain gutters, the less problems you’ll have with them.
The recommended time to clean out gutters is during the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are professional gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to handle the mess or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. A quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the signs we mentioned above.
We’d recommend that you do an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to confirm that your gutters are working correctly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Fixing a problem 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 and quickly.
But, if you let the issue go on too long, you could end up making repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.