If you’re like a lot of people, your rain gutters aren’t something you often worry about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their functionality is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your rain gutters aren’t doing their job that you understand just how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most roofs in Schenectady. They blend into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … building materials that are definitely designed to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of rain gutters is to create a route of least resistance for rain to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they are in good condition, your gutters will direct runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the foundation and basement from leaking water, and the gutters themselves from rust.
When they 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 easy to fix to be the reason for major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you see any of the following issues, it’s a pretty good indication that your rain gutters have some type of damage.
Once you find a possible 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 call a gutter repairman to handle.
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 should be. 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
Mold or mildew 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 too much moisture in that area – a potential problem with the rain gutters could be the cause. Remember that mildew and mold are more likely to appear on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are appearing, it might just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight on it. This is a time where the advice and knowledge of a professional in Schenectady would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s raining to notice this type of gutter issue. 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 out. In either case, you want to have it looked at right away.
Based on the construction of your home’s basement, the leaking might be due to any number of things. The pooling issue we mentioned before could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls will only block out so much water. That’s why it is so necessary to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters empty directly onto the ground in most cases, and landscaping should be designed to work with this flow of water to help it disperse into the ground. However, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This 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 pooling 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 usually 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 in the middle, they definitely have damage. Following a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your house to identify any possible damage to the roof, exterior, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to your standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some simple ways All Pro Gutters recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least once a year. You can extend the amount of time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you care for your rain gutters, the less problems you’ll experience with them.
The optimal time to clean gutters is in the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners choose to clean their gutters themselves, but there are many local gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to deal with the mess or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of 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 do an exterior home inspection following 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 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 needing repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.