If you’re like most people, your gutters aren’t something you often think about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is very simple.
It’s not until your rain gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you realize just how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most homes in Mount Prospect. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … building materials that are definitely designed to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of gutters is to create a path of minimal resistance for rain to get off your roof quickly. When they are 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 easy to fix to be the cause of any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you identify any of the following issues, it’s a pretty strong indication that your gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you notice a gutter problem, you can decide whether it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s something you’d rather trust a gutter company for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting water near your home is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the rain runoff away from your house the way they should be. Pooling water can lead to mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas around your house constantly soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the sides of your house. Mold and mildew mean that there is excessive moisture around that area – a possible issue with the rain gutters could be to blame. Remember that mildew and mold are likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where they’re appearing, it may be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a scenario where the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Mount Prospect would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll need to wait until it’s raining to notice this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that your gutters are damaged. It could just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and needs to be cleaned. In either case, you want to have it looked at ASAP.
Based on the design of your home’s basement, the leaking could be due to any number of things. The standing water issue we mentioned earlier could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will only keep out so much water. That’s why it is so necessary to keep your gutters in good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters pour directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be designed to work with this flow of water to help it disperse into the ground. But, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This rain water can destroy plants 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 a lot of moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You usually see water marks right under the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication 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 simplest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they have damage. Following a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your house to identify any possible damage to the roof shingles, outer walls, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to your routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a couple of easy ways Mount Prospect Gutters recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time each year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you care for your gutters, the fewer issues you’ll experience with them.
The optimal time to clean gutters is in the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are many professional gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to deal with the mess or the risk.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of damage can often be visible from the outside of the gutters. A fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the problems we mentioned above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection after 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 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 and quickly.
But, if you let the issue go on for too long, you could end up making repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.