If you are like most people, your rain gutters are not something you often think about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your 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 homes in Charleston. 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 gutters is to provide a route of least resistance for rain to get off your roof. When they are in good condition, your gutters will lead runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the foundation and basement from leaking water, and the rain gutters themselves from rust.
When gutters are damaged, it can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your house and surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to repair to be the cause of major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is easy and safe. If you see any of the following signs, it’s a pretty good clue that your rain gutters have some type of damage.
Once you notice a gutter issue, you can decide if it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying by yourself or if it’s something you’d rather hire a gutter specialist for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water near your home is a good 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 leave the areas surrounding your home consistently 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 exterior of your home. Mold and mildew indicate there is excessive moisture in that area – a potential problem with the rain gutters could be the cause. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are more likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it may just be because that area gets very little direct sunlight on it. This is a scenario where the advice and expertise of a professional in Charleston would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s actually 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 full of debris and needs to be cleaned out. In either case, you need to have it checked ASAP.
Based on the construction of your home’s basement, your leak might be caused by any number of things. The standing water issue we discussed earlier could definitely cause 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 working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters pour directly onto the ground in most cases, and landscaping should be designed to work with this flow of water to help it submerge into the ground. However, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it isn’t supposed to. This water can destroy 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 sometimes left behind even if pooling water has evaporated or dissipated. You will usually see water marks right under the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a usually a sign that rain water is streaming down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The last sign of gutter damage is the simplest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they obviously have damage. After a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your house to identify any damage to the roof, outer walls, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to any routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a couple of simple tips Charleston Gutter Solutions recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least once a 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 rain gutters, the fewer issues you’ll experience with them.
The recommended time to clean out gutters is during the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners clean their gutters themselves, 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.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of gutter damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. A quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the signs we wrote about above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection after each season to be sure that your gutters are working correctly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Taking care of 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 and quickly.
However, if you let the problem go on for too long, you could end up making repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.