If you are like most homeowners, your rain gutters aren’t something you often worry about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your rain gutters aren’t doing their job that you realize how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most houses in Westfield. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner decided on copper or wood … materials that are definitely meant to stand out! Most are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to provide a route of minimal resistance for rain to get off your roof quickly. When they’re in good shape, your gutters will direct runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaking water, and the gutters themselves from wear and rust.
When they are damaged, it can cause 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 cause of any major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is simple and safe. If you see any of the following signs, it’s a strong indication that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you notice a gutter issue, you can decide whether it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s a project you’d rather call a gutter company for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the water runoff away from your house the way they are supposed to. Standing water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas around your home consistently wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the exterior of your home. Mold and mildew mean that there is too much moisture around that area – a possible problem with the rain gutters could be to blame. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are more likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where they’re appearing, it may just be because that area gets very little direct sunlight on it. This is a time when the advice and expertise of a professional in Westfield would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s raining to find this gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean you have gutter damage. It could just be that the gutter is full of debris and should be cleaned out. Either way, you need to have it looked at ASAP.
Depending on the design of your home’s basement, your leak could be caused by any number of things. The pooling issue we discussed earlier could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will only keep out so much water. That’s why it is so necessary to keep your gutters in good shape!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters empty directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this water flow to help it disperse into the ground. However, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This pooling water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It might also displace flower bed materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are the first sign that there is a lot of moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You will usually find water marks under the gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a usually an indication that water is streaming 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 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 home to assess any damage to the roof, exterior, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to your routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few simple tips Westield Gutter Service recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least once a year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out regularly. Like with anything else, the better you care for your rain gutters, the less issues you’ll experience with them.
The best time to clean gutters is in the spring, but to be cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are many local gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to deal with the work or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of gutter damage can often be visible from the outside of the gutters. A fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the signs we discussed above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection following each season to be sure that your gutters are functioning correctly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Taking care of an issue 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.
But, if you let the issue go on for too long, you could end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.