If you’re like many homeowners, your gutters aren’t something you really think about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but besides that, their functionality is incredibly simple.
It’s not until gutters aren’t doing their job that you understand just how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most houses in Tracy. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner preferred 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 rain gutters is to provide a route of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof. When they are in good condition, your gutters will route runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, protecting 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 they are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and surrounding 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 easy and safe. If you see any of the following issues, it’s a pretty good clue that your gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you notice a gutter problem, you can decide if it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s a project you’d rather hire a gutter specialist for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water near your home is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the water runoff away from your house the way they should be. Pooling water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas surrounding your home constantly wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the sides of your house. Mold and mildew indicate that there is too much moisture around that area – a possible problem with the rain gutters could be to blame. Keep in mind that mildew and mold are likely to appear on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where they’re growing, it might just be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a situation when the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Tracy would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s raining to notice this gutter problem. 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 need to have it looked at ASAP.
Depending on the design of your home’s basement, the leaking could be due to any number of things. The pooling problem we discussed earlier 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 important to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters empty directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be designed to work with this flow of water to help it submerge into the ground. However, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This standing water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed building materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are the first sign that there is too much moisture on a surface. Water marks are sometimes left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated. You usually find water marks under the rain gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a typically a sign that rain water is pouring 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 gutters. These inspections are in addition to your routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a couple of easy ways Tracy Gutter Service recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least one time a year. You can extend the time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. Like with anything else, the better you maintain your rain gutters, the fewer issues you’ll experience with them.
The recommended time to clean out gutters is during the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a 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 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 – will reveal any of the signs we wrote about above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection after each season to be sure that your gutters are working correctly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Fixing an issue 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 problem go on for too long, you could end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.