If you are like a lot of homeowners, your gutters aren’t something you often worry about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but besides that, their functionality is very simple.
It’s not until your gutters aren’t doing their job that you realize just how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most homes in Huntsville. They fade into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … building materials that are meant to stand out! Most are crafted from durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of gutters is to create a route of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they are in good condition, your gutters will lead runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the foundation and basement from leaking water, and the gutters themselves from 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 simple to repair 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 signs, it’s a strong indication that your gutters have some type of damage.
As soon as you identify a possible gutter problem, you can decide whether it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s a project you should call a gutter company to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the rain runoff away from your home the way they are designed to. Standing water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas surrounding your house constantly soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or the exterior of your house. Mold and mildew indicate that there is excessive moisture around that area – a potential problem with the rain gutters could be to blame. Keep in mind that mildew and mold are likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where they’re growing, it might be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a scenario where the advice and expertise of a professional in Huntsville would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll need to wait until it’s actually raining to discover this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean your gutters are damaged. It might just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and needs to be cleaned. In either case, you need to have it checked ASAP.
Depending on the design of your basement, the leaking could 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 will only keep out so much water. That’s why it is so necessary to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters pour directly onto the groundmost of the time, and landscaping should be designed to work with this flow of water to help it disperse into the ground. But, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it isn’t supposed to. This water can destroy plants by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are a visible sign that there is a lot of 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 under the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically a sign 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 find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they obviously have damage. Following a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your house to identify any damage to the roof, exterior, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to your routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some easy ways Huntsville Gutter Service recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time each year. You can extend the time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you care for your rain gutters, the less problems you’ll experience with them.
The best time to clean gutters is during the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners choose to clean their gutters on their own, but there are 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 gutter damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. A fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the problems we discussed above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection following each season to be sure 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 easily be replaced very affordably.
But, 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 section of landscaping.