If you are like a lot of homeowners, your gutters are not something you really worry about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is very simple.
It’s not until your gutters aren’t doing their job that you understand how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most houses in Spokane Valley. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … building materials that are designed to stand out! Most are crafted from durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to create a path of minimal resistance for rain to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they’re in good shape, 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 leaks, and the gutters themselves from rust.
When they are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your house and surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too easy to repair to be the cause of major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is easy and safe. If you identify any of the following signs, it’s a pretty good clue that your gutters have some type of damage.
Once you find a possible gutter problem, you can decide if it’s something you are comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s something you should hire a gutter service to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting water is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the water 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 surrounding 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 exterior of your house. Mold and mildew mean there is too much moisture around that area – a possible issue with the gutters could be the cause. Keep in mind that mildew and mold are more likely to grow on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it may be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a situation when the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Spokane Valley would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll have to wait until it’s actually raining to find this gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that you have gutter damage. It could just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and should be cleaned. In either case, you need to have it checked right away.
Based on the construction of your home’s basement, your leak could be due to any number of things. The pooling issue we discussed 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 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. But, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This standing rain water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It will also displace flower bed materials like rock or mulch.
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 usually see water marks right beneath the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication that water is streaming 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 find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they obviously have damage. After a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your house to assess any 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 few easy ways Spokane Valley Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least once a year. You can extend the time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. Like with anything else, the better you care for 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 good cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners clean their gutters themselves, but there are local gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to handle the work or the risk.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of gutter damage can often be visible from the outside of the gutters. A quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the problems we mentioned above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection following each season to ensure that your gutters are working correctly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Taking care of an issue 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 easily 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 area of landscaping.