If you’re like most people, your rain gutters are not something you often worry about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your gutters aren’t doing their job that you understand how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most houses in Fitchburg. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner decided on copper or wood … building materials that are meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of rain gutters is to create a path of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof. When they’re in good shape, your gutters will direct 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 gutters are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your house and surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to repair to be the reason for any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is simple and safe. If you identify any of the following signs, it’s a good clue that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you notice a possible gutter issue, you can decide whether it’s something you are comfortable fixing or remedying on your own or if it’s a project you’d rather trust a gutter service to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the water runoff away from your house the way they are designed to. Pooling water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will make the areas around your house constantly wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or the sides of your house. Mold and mildew indicate there is a lot of moisture in that area – a possible problem with the gutters could be to blame. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are more likely to appear on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where these substances are appearing, it might just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a situation where the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Fitchburg would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll need to wait until it’s raining to discover this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that you have gutter damage. It could just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and should be cleaned out. Either way, you want to have it checked right away.
Based on the construction of your home’s basement, the leaking might be due to any number of things. The standing water issue we mentioned earlier could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls can only keep 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 in most cases, and landscaping should be designed to work with this water flow to help it disperse into the ground. However, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This water can kill 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 sometimes left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You usually find water marks beneath the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically a sign that 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 by far the easiest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they definitely have damage. After a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your home to assess any possible damage to the roof, outer walls, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to any routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a couple of simple ways Fitchburg Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time each year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out regularly. Like with anything else, the better you maintain your rain gutters, the less problems you’ll have 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 professional gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to deal with the work or the risk.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. Just 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 after each season to confirm 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 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 for too long, you might end up making repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.