If you are like many people, your rain gutters are not something you really worry about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their functionality is incredibly simple.
It’s not until gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you understand how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most roofs in Bellingham. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … building materials that are designed to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of rain gutters is to provide a path of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they’re in good condition, your rain gutters will lead runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the foundation 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 property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too easy to fix to be the cause of any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is simple and safe. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s a pretty strong indication that your rain gutters have some type of damage.
Once you notice a possible gutter problem, you can decide if it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying on your own or if it’s something you should trust a gutter specialist for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the rain runoff away from your house the way they should be. Standing water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will make the areas surrounding 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 the exterior of your house. Mold and mildew indicate there is a lot of moisture in that area – a possible issue with the gutters could be the cause. Remember that mildew and mold are more likely to grow on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it may be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a scenario when the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Bellingham would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll need to wait until it’s raining to discover this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that your gutters are damaged. It might just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and should be cleaned. In either case, you need to have it looked at right away.
Based on the design of your basement, the leaking might be due to any number of things. The standing water problem we discussed earlier could definitely result in a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls will 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 most of the time, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this water flow to help it submerge into the ground. But, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it isn’t supposed to. This standing water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It might also displace flower bed building materials like rock or mulch.
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 usually find water marks under the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication that water is pouring 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 definitely have damage. After a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your house to identify any possible damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to your standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some easy ways All Clean Auburn Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out 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 care for your gutters, the less problems you’ll have with them.
The optimal time to clean gutters is in the spring, but to be cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners choose to clean their gutters on their own, but there are many local gutter cleaning companies that offer 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. Just a fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the issues we mentioned above.
We’d recommend 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. 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 easily be replaced very affordably and quickly.
However, if you let the problem go on for too long, you might end up making repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.