If you’re like many homeowners, your rain gutters are not something you really worry about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until rain gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you realize how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most homes in Carmel. They fade into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … building materials that are definitely meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of gutters is to provide a path of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof. When they are in good shape, your gutters will direct runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the foundation and basement from leaking water, and the rain gutters themselves from wear and rust.
When they 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 easy to repair to be the reason for any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is simple and safe. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s a good indication that your gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you find a gutter problem, you can decide if it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s something you should hire a gutter repairman for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not directing the rain runoff away from your house the way they should be. Standing water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas surrounding your home consistently soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or the exterior of your house. Mold and mildew mean there is excessive moisture in that area – a potential problem with the rain gutters could be to blame. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are likely to grow on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where they’re appearing, it may be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a time where the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Carmel would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s raining to discover this gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that your gutters are damaged. It might just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and should be cleaned. Either way, you want to have it looked at right away.
Depending on the construction of your home’s basement, your leak might be due to any number of things. The pooling issue we discussed before could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls can only block out so much water. That’s why it is necessary to keep your gutters in good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters empty 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 leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas 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 mulch or rock.
Water marks are the first 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 beneath the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a usually a sign that water is running 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 easiest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they have damage. Following 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 a couple of simple ways Carmel Gutter Specialists recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time a year. You can extend the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you care for your gutters, the fewer problems you’ll experience with them.
The optimal time to clean out gutters is in the spring, but to be cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. Many homeowners clean their gutters themselves, but there are many professional gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to handle the mess or the risk.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. A fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the problems we discussed above.
We’d recommend that you do an exterior home inspection following each season to confirm that your gutters are functioning the right way.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Taking care of 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 and quickly.
However, 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.