If you’re like a lot of homeowners, your rain gutters are not something you really worry about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but besides that, their functionality is very simple.
It’s not until 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 virtually unnoticed on most houses in Spokane. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner decided on copper or wood … materials that are definitely meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are crafted from durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of 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 gutters will direct 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 leaking water, and the rain gutters themselves from wear and rust.
When gutters are damaged, it can lead to 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 cause of major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is simple and safe. If you see any of the following signs, it’s a pretty strong indication that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you find a gutter problem, you can decide if it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying on your own or if it’s something you’d rather call a gutter service to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the water runoff away from your house the way they are supposed to. Standing water can lead to mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas surrounding your home constantly wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or on the sides of your home. Mold and mildew indicate there is a lot of moisture around that area – a potential problem with the gutters could be to blame. Remember that mold and mildew are more likely to appear on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are appearing, it may be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a time when the advice and expertise of a professional in Spokane would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s actually raining to find this 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. Either way, you want to have it looked at right away.
Depending on the design of your home’s basement, the leaking could be due to any number of things. The pooling issue we mentioned earlier could definitely result in a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls will only keep out so much water. That’s why it is important to keep your gutters in good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters empty directly onto the ground most of the time, 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 in areas where it shouldn’t. This pooling rain water can kill 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 excessive moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You will usually see water marks right under the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically a sign that water is streaming 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 easiest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they have damage. After a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your house to assess any damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to any standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some simple tips Spokane Gutters Plus recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least once each year. You can extend the time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you maintain your rain gutters, the less problems you’ll experience with them.
The best time to clean gutters is during the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Many homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are professional gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to handle the work or the risk.
Check 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 – will reveal any of the problems we wrote about above.
We’d suggest that you complete an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to confirm that your gutters are functioning correctly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Fixing an issue 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 and quickly.
However, if you let the issue go on too long, you could end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.