If you’re like many homeowners, your rain gutters are not something you often worry about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your gutters aren’t doing their job that you realize how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most houses in Mobile. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … building materials that are designed to stand out! Most are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to provide a route of least resistance for rain to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they are in good condition, your gutters will route runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the foundation and basement from leaking water, and the rain gutters themselves from rust.
When gutters are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too easy to repair to be the cause of any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is simple and safe. If you identify any of the following issues, it’s a pretty good indication that your gutters have some type of damage.
Once you notice a gutter issue, you can decide whether it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying by yourself or if it’s something you’d rather trust a gutter repairman for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water near your home is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the water runoff away from your house the way they should be. Pooling water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will make the areas surrounding your house perpetually soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the sides of your house. Mold and mildew mean there is too much moisture around that area – a possible issue with the gutters could be the cause. Remember that mildew and mold are more likely to appear on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it might just be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a time where the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Mobile would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s raining to notice this gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean you have gutter damage. It could just be that the gutter is full of debris and should be cleaned out. In either case, you want to have it checked ASAP.
Based on the design of your home’s basement, your leak might be caused by any number of things. The standing water problem we discussed before could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will only block out so much water. That’s why it is so important to keep your gutters in good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters empty directly onto the groundin most cases, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this flow of water to help it submerge into the ground. But, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it isn’t supposed to. This pooling water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It will also displace flower bed building materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are a visible sign that there is too much moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated. You will usually find water marks right beneath the rain gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a usually a sign that water is pouring down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The final sign of gutter damage is the easiest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they definitely have damage. After a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your home to identify any 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 a few simple ways Mobile Gutter Service recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least one time a year. You can extend the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out regularly. As with anything else, the better you maintain your rain gutters, the less problems you’ll have with them.
The best time to clean out gutters is in the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners choose to clean their gutters themselves, but there are professional gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to handle 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 suggest that you do an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to be sure that your gutters are functioning correctly.
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.
But, if you let the problem go on too long, you might end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.