If you are like many homeowners, your rain gutters are not something you really think about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but besides that, their functionality is very simple.
It’s not until your rain gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you understand how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most homes in Albany. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner preferred copper or wood … building materials that are definitely designed to stand out! Most are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of rain gutters is to create a path of least resistance for rain to get off your roof. When they’re in good shape, your gutters will lead runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaks, and the rain gutters themselves from rust.
When gutters are damaged, it can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your house and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to repair to be the reason for any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you notice any of the following issues, it’s a strong indication that your gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you identify a possible gutter issue, you can decide if it’s something you are comfortable fixing or remedying on your own or if it’s something you should hire a gutter company for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water 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. Pooling water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. And, it will leave the areas around your house perpetually wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the sides of your home. Mold and mildew indicate there is excessive moisture in that area – a possible problem with the rain gutters could be to blame. Remember that mildew and mold are more likely to appear on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where they’re growing, it may just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight on it. This is a situation where the advice and knowledge of a professional in Albany would be helpful.
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 you have gutter damage. It might just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and needs to be cleaned out. In either case, you want to have it checked right away.
Depending on the design of your home’s basement, your leak could be caused by any number of things. The standing water problem we discussed earlier could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls will only keep out so much water. That’s why it is so important to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters pour directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this water flow to help it submerge into the ground. However, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This pooling water can destroy plants either by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are the first sign that there is excessive 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 final sign of gutter damage is by far the easiest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they have damage. After a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your house to assess any damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to any standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a couple of simple ways ABC Albany Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least once each year. You can lengthen the time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out regularly. As with anything else, the better you care for your gutters, the fewer problems you’ll experience with them.
The recommended time to clean out gutters is during the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Many homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are local gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to handle the work or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of gutter damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. Just a quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the signs we mentioned above.
We’d suggest 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. Fixing a problem before it becomes too bad can save you 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 could end up making repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.