If you are like many people, your gutters are not something you often think about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but besides that, their functionality is incredibly simple.
It’s not until rain gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you understand how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most homes in Salem. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … materials that are meant to stand out! Most are crafted from durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of gutters is to create a path of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof quickly. When they are in good condition, your rain gutters will lead runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaking water, and the rain 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 fix to be the cause of any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you see any of the following issues, it’s a pretty good clue that your rain gutters have some type of damage.
As soon as you identify a possible gutter problem, you can decide whether it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s something you’d rather call a gutter repairman to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not directing the rain runoff away from your house the way they are designed to. Standing water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. And, it will leave the areas surrounding your house constantly wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the exterior of your home. Mold and mildew indicate there is a lot of moisture around that area – a potential problem with the rain gutters could be the cause. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are more likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where they’re appearing, it might be because that area gets very little direct sunlight on it. This is a situation where the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Salem would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s actually raining to notice this type of gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean you have gutter damage. It might just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and needs to be cleaned. Either way, you want to have it checked right away.
Depending on the construction of your home’s basement, your leak might be due to any number of things. The standing water issue we mentioned earlier could definitely result in a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls can only block out so much water. That’s why it is so important to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters empty directly onto the ground in most cases, 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 water can destroy plants either by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed building materials like mulch or rock.
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. You will usually find water marks right under the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication that rain water is running down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The final sign of gutter damage is by far the simplest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they definitely have damage. Following a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your house to identify any damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to your standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few easy ways Salem Gutter Specialists recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least one time each year. You can extend the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out regularly. Like with anything else, the better you care for your gutters, the less issues you’ll have with them.
The best time to clean gutters is during the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners choose to 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 gutter damage can often 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 wrote about above.
We’d suggest that you complete an exterior home inspection at the end of 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.
But, if you let the problem go on for too long, you might end up making repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.