If you are like most people, your rain gutters are not something you really think about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is very simple.
It’s not until gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you understand how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most homes in Terre Haute. They fade into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … building materials that are meant to stand out! Most are crafted from durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to provide a path of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof quickly. When they’re in good condition, your gutters will lead runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, protecting 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 major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is simple and safe. If you identify any of the following signs, it’s a good indication that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you identify a gutter problem, you can decide whether it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying by yourself or if it’s something you’d rather call a gutter repairman to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water near your home is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not directing the water runoff away from your home the way they should be. Standing water can lead to mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave 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 indicate that there is too much moisture around that area – a possible issue with the rain gutters could be to blame. Remember that mold and mildew are likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are appearing, it might just be because that area gets very little direct sunlight on it. This is a scenario where the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Terre Haute would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll have to wait until it’s actually raining to notice this gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that your gutters are damaged. It could just be that the gutter is full of debris and needs to be cleaned. In either case, you need to have it checked right away.
Based on the design of your home’s basement, your leak could be caused by any number of things. The standing water issue we discussed 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 so necessary to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters empty directly onto the ground in most cases, and landscaping should be designed to work with this flow of water to help it disperse into the ground. However, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This pooling water can destroy plants 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 excessive moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if pooling water has evaporated or dissipated. You usually see water marks under the rain gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication that rain water is running down the outside of the gutters and not staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The final sign of gutter damage is the easiest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they obviously have damage. Following a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your house to identify any possible damage to the roof shingles, outer walls, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to any standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some simple tips Total Gutters, Inc. recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time each year. You can lengthen the time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out regularly. Like with anything else, the better you care for your gutters, the less problems you’ll experience with them.
The optimal time to clean out gutters is in the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are many local gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to handle the mess or the risk.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of gutter damage can 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 discussed above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection following each season to confirm that your gutters are working the right way.
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 be replaced very affordably.
But, if you let the issue go on too long, you could end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.