If you’re like many homeowners, your gutters aren’t something you often think about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is incredibly 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 unnoticed on most homes in Richmond. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner decided on copper or wood … materials that are definitely designed to stand out! Most 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 and snow to get off your roof quickly. 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 leaking water, and the rain gutters themselves from rust.
When gutters are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to repair to be the cause of any major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is simple and safe. If you see any of the following issues, it’s a pretty good clue that your gutters have some type of damage.
As soon as you identify a gutter issue, you can decide whether it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying on your own or if it’s something you’d rather hire a gutter repairman to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the water runoff away from your house the way they are designed to. Pooling water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas surrounding your home perpetually soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or the exterior of your home. Mold and mildew indicate that there is a lot of moisture in that area – a potential issue with the gutters could be to blame. Keep in mind that mildew and mold are likely to grow on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where they’re appearing, it may just be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a scenario where the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Richmond would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s raining to discover this gutter issue. 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. In either case, you need to have it looked at ASAP.
Based on the construction of your basement, the leaking might be due to any number of things. The pooling issue we mentioned before could definitely result in a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls can only keep out so much water. That’s why it is important to keep your gutters in good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters pour directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this flow of water to help it disperse into the ground. But, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This standing rain water can kill plants either by force or by overwatering. It might also displace flower bed materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are a visible 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 usually see water marks beneath the gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a typically a sign that rain water is pouring 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, they have damage. After a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your home to assess any possible damage to the roof shingles, outer walls, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to any standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a couple of simple ways WeClean Richmond Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least once each year. You can extend the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out regularly. As with anything else, the better you maintain your rain gutters, the less problems you’ll have with them.
The recommended time to clean gutters is during the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners clean their gutters themselves, but there are many professional gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to handle the mess or the risk.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. A fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the signs we discussed above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection following 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 easily be replaced very affordably.
However, if you let the problem go on too long, you could end up making repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.