Gutters are so important because – while they are simple and relatively inexpensive – they protect more valuable home assets, such as the roof, foundation and windows. Maintaining and cleaning gutters is an easy way to help prevent your house from major damages.
And it’s really a lot simpler than you might think.
Spotting a leak in your gutters early can protect your entire home. Here, we’ve provided a few signs that you can look for (without calling a roofer) to determine if your gutters may be leaking.
How to Identify Leaking Gutters
There are a lot of warning signs that indicate a gutter leak, even if you don’t physically see water dripping. You can do an inspection from the safety of your lawn to decide if the signs of a gutter leak are there.
Here’s what to look for:
Obvious Flaws – When the gutters pull away from the house, it causes stress on the connectors. Cracks can be the result of faulty installation, low quality materials, damage or age. Cracks in the gutter channel or seeing any section of them pulling away from the roofing might not cause a leak yet, but will certainly result in problems. Getting these defects repaired is affordable than gutter replacement or any of the potential damages a leak can cause.
Pooling – If rain is pooling around your house, it’s a possible sign that a gutter leak is present. You should also check underground pipes, water spigots and any other water source that is close to your house, just to be sure.
Pooling water by your house can be really harmful for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and can cause windows to leak.
Dripping – One of the most visible signs of a leaking gutter is a drip, or several of them.
A drip from your gutter indicates a clog, but if it’s coming from the bottom and it isn’t a big overflow, there is an unseen leak somewhere. These tiny leaks can happen if a fastener has gotten loose (see the next item below).
Visible Fasteners – Seeing nails and screws working their way out of the gutters means a leak will begin soon, if it hasn’t already. The area where the nail or screw fits starts to become a new area where water can escape if the fastener starts to fall out.
Sometimes the answer is as easy as refastening them, but it might also be important to seal the hole so no more water can escape from the edge of the screw or nail, even after it is tightened again. You can purchase this sealant, or let a gutter repair company put it on.
Water Stains or Rust – Water leaves evidence behind, especially when it is consistently or frequently present. Dark water stains will appear because dirt and other organic debris adhere to the wet surface better than it would a drier one.
Rust is the result of constant moisture, and the more severe sign you’ll notice after you see water stains. Most water stains on gutters can be cleaned and the gutters can be fixed, but if the gutters are rusty, they will definitely have to be repaired or be replaced.
Unexplained Home Damage – If there hasn’t been a storm, and you haven’t had a limb fall on your roof, but you’re starting to notice paint flaking, cracking in the foundation around the downspouts or walkways, rotting wood on your patio or deck, or mold on your window sills, you may have a gutter leak.
These are all signs that water has been leaking from somewhere it shouldn’t be. They also go hand in hand with older building materials, so all of these factors need to be considered when inspecting gutters for leaks.
Other gutter issues…
Not all gutter issues lead to major repairs. If you see these common gutter issues, a leak might not be the issue.
Rain Overflow – This one is a pretty easy fix. It’s probably not a gutter leak, but a clog that should be cleaned out. You can do this yourself or hire a Lancaster gutter cleaning service – even a general handyman – to clean out the gutters.
Animal Nests – A bird, squirrel, chipmunk can quickly build a nest in your gutters or in your downspout, which can cause overflow. Once the nest has been there for a little while, you will start to see some of the above signs of a leak in a gutter – like rust or puddling – if you don’t get rid of it.
Trees & Plants – A tree can easily take root in your gutter with small amounts of debris present. While it may be small now, a tree sapling will sprout really strong roots that can destroy aluminum gutters before you know it.
Professional Gutter Repair
Any of these easy-to-see signs mean there are issues with your gutter that need to be addressed right away. By checking all of your gutters and downspouts, you can tell if there’s a reason for concern.
This is where a gutter service in Lancaster can be of great help. They can distinguish if gutter replacement is necessary or if you can get by with repairs to extend the life of your gutters. Sometimes, gutter cleaning is the only thing that’s needed.
Some homeowners decide to do basic gutter care, such as gutter cleaning, on their own. Although it it can be time consuming and dangerous, they are eager to take on the chore 1-2 times a year to save a little money.
However, anything beyond gutter cleaning should be left to the professionals.
Start by hiring a gutter service with excellent customer reviews like Lancaster Gutter Service. Then let us do an inspection to correctly diagnose the issue. We offer free inspections for new customers.
If there are repairs to be made, or if we feel that it’s time for gutter replacement, you can count on us to get the job done right. Our gutter repair service will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!