If you are like a lot of homeowners, your gutters aren’t something you often worry about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but besides that, their functionality is incredibly simple.
It’s not until gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you understand just how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most roofs in Champaign. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … building materials that are meant to stand out! Most are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to provide a route of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they are in good shape, your gutters will route runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, protecting 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 home and surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too easy to fix to be the reason for major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is easy and safe. If you see any of the following issues, it’s a strong indication that your gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you identify a gutter problem, you can decide whether it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying on your own or if it’s a project you’d rather call a gutter repairman for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the rain runoff away from your house the way they are supposed to. Standing water can lead to mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas around your house perpetually wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or on the sides of your home. Mold and mildew mean that there is too much moisture in that area – a potential problem with the 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 they’re growing, it may be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a time where the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Champaign 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 your gutters are damaged. It might just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and needs to be cleaned. Either way, you need to have it looked at right away.
Depending on the design of your basement, your leak could be due to any number of things. The pooling problem we mentioned earlier could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls can only keep out so much water. That’s why it is so necessary to keep your gutters in good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters empty 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 leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it isn’t supposed to. This water can destroy plants either by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed building materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are the first sign that there is excessive moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated. You usually see water marks beneath the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a usually an indication that rain water is pouring down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The last 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 good idea to walk around your house to identify any possible damage to the roof, 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 tips Champaign Gutters recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out 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 fewer issues 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. Most homeowners clean their gutters themselves, but there are local gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to deal with the mess or the risk.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of damage can often be visible from the outside of the gutters. A fast 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 properly.
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 be replaced very affordably.
But, if you let the issue go on for too long, you could end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.