If you are like most homeowners, your gutters are not something you really think about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but besides that, their functionality is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your rain gutters aren’t doing their job that you realize how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most homes in Lancaster. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner preferred copper or wood … building materials that are meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of rain gutters is to provide a route of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof quickly. When they’re in good shape, your rain gutters will lead runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, 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 home and surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to fix to be the cause of major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s a good indication that your gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you identify a gutter issue, you can decide whether it’s something you feel comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s something you’d rather call a gutter specialist to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water near your home is a sure 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 make the areas around your house consistently 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 exterior of your house. Mold and mildew mean there is a lot of moisture around that area – a potential issue with the rain gutters could be to blame. Remember that mold and mildew are more likely to appear on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where they’re appearing, it may just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight on it. This is a scenario when the advice and knowledge of a professional in Lancaster would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll need to wait until it’s actually raining to look for this gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that your gutters are damaged. It could just be that the gutter is full of debris and needs to be cleaned. Either way, you want to have it looked at right away.
Depending on the design of your home’s basement, the leaking might be due to any number of things. The pooling issue we mentioned before could definitely result in a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls can only block out so much water. That’s why it is important to keep your gutters in good shape!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters pour directly onto the ground in most cases, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this water flow to help it disperse into the ground. However, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This standing rain water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It might also displace flower bed building materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are the first 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. You usually see water marks right under the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a usually a sign that rain water is streaming down the outside of the gutters and not staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The last sign of gutter damage is by far the simplest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they have damage. Following a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your house to assess any possible damage to the roof shingles, outer walls, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to your standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some simple ways Lancaster Gutter Service recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least once each year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you care for your rain gutters, the less issues you’ll have 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. Many homeowners choose to clean their gutters themselves, but there are professional gutter cleaning companies that provide 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 quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the signs we discussed above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection following each season to be sure 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.
However, 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.