If you are like a lot of people, your rain gutters are not something you really think about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is very simple.
It’s not until gutters aren’t doing their job that you understand just how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most houses in Columbus. They blend into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner decided on copper or wood … building materials that are meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of gutters is to provide a route of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof. When they’re in good shape, your rain gutters will lead runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the foundation and basement from leaks, and the gutters themselves from wear and rust.
When they are damaged, it can cause 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! Keeping an eye on your gutters is simple and safe. If you notice 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 if it’s something you feel comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s a project you’d rather call a gutter company for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting water near your home is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the rain runoff away from your house the way they are designed to. Pooling water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will make the areas around your house consistently soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the sides of your house. Mold and mildew indicate that there is too much moisture in that area – a potential issue with the gutters could be the cause. Remember that mold and mildew are likely to grow on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it might just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight on it. This is a scenario where the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Columbus would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll need to wait until it’s raining to look for this gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that your gutters are damaged. It might just be that the gutter is full of debris and should be cleaned out. Either way, you need to have it looked at right away.
Depending on the design of your home’s basement, the leaking might be caused by any number of things. The standing water problem we discussed before could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will only block out so much water. That’s why it is 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 submerge into the ground. But, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This pooling water can kill plants either by force or by overwatering. It will also displace flower bed materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are the first sign that there is excessive moisture on a surface. Water marks are sometimes left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated. You will usually see water marks right beneath the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication that water is running down the outside of the gutters and not staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The final sign of gutter damage is by far the easiest to spot. 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 assess any possible damage to the roof shingles, outer walls, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to your standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few easy ways The Columbus Gutter Company recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time a year. You can extend the time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out regularly. As with anything else, the better you care for your gutters, the fewer problems you’ll experience with them.
The best time to clean gutters is in the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners choose to clean their gutters on their own, but there are many professional 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 often be visible from the outside of the gutters. Just a quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the problems we wrote about above.
We’d recommend that you do an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to be sure that your gutters are functioning the right way.
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.
But, if you let the issue go on too long, you might end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.