If you are like a lot of homeowners, your rain gutters aren’t something you really worry about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is very simple.
It’s not until your rain gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you understand how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most homes in O’Fallon. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner preferred copper or wood … materials that are definitely designed to stand out! Most are crafted from durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of gutters is to create a route of minimal resistance for rain to get off your roof quickly. When they’re in good condition, your gutters will direct runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaks, and the 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 easy to fix to be the cause of major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is simple and safe. If you notice any of the following issues, it’s a good indication that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you identify a possible gutter problem, you can decide if it’s something you feel comfortable repairing or remedying by yourself or if it’s a project you’d rather trust a gutter company for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the water runoff away from your home the way they should be. Pooling water can lead to mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas surrounding your home perpetually wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or the sides of your house. Mold and mildew indicate that there is too much moisture in that area – a possible problem with the gutters could be to blame. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it might be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight on it. This is a scenario when the advice and knowledge of a professional in O’Fallon would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll need to wait until it’s actually raining to notice this gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that you have gutter damage. It could just be that the gutter is full of debris and should be cleaned. In either case, you want to have it checked ASAP.
Based on the design of your home’s basement, your leak could be caused by any number of things. The standing water issue we mentioned earlier could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls can only keep out so much water. That’s why it is necessary to keep your gutters in good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters pour directly onto the ground in most cases, and landscaping should be designed to work with this water flow to help it disperse into the ground. However, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This rain water can kill plants either by force or by overwatering. It will also displace flower bed building materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are the first sign that there is excessive moisture on a surface. Water marks are sometimes left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated. You will usually see water marks right under the rain gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a usually a sign that rain water is streaming 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, they definitely have damage. Following a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your house to identify any damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to any routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some simple tips A+ Gutters of O’Fallon recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time a year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out regularly. As with anything else, the better you maintain your rain gutters, the fewer problems you’ll have with them.
The best time to clean out gutters is in the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners choose to clean their gutters themselves, but there are professional gutter cleaning companies that provide 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 quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the issues we wrote about above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to be sure that your gutters are working properly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Taking care of a problem 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.
However, 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 section of landscaping.