If you’re like many homeowners, your rain gutters are not something you really worry about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your rain 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 homes in Bowie. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … materials that are definitely meant to stand out! Most are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to create a path of least resistance for rain to get off your roof quickly. When they are in good shape, your rain gutters will route runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaks, and the gutters themselves from rust.
When gutters are damaged, it can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to fix to be the cause of major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is easy and safe. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s a pretty good clue that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you identify a gutter problem, you can decide if it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying by yourself or if it’s something you’d rather call a gutter repairman for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the rain runoff away from your home the way they should be. Standing water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas surrounding your house consistently wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the exterior of your house. Mold and mildew mean there is excessive moisture around that area – a potential problem with the rain 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 might just be because that area gets very little direct sunlight on it. This is a situation when the advice and expertise of a professional in Bowie would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s raining to look for this type of gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that your gutters are damaged. It could just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and should be cleaned. Either way, you want to have it looked at ASAP.
Depending on the construction of your basement, the leaking might be caused by any number of things. The pooling issue we mentioned before could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will only keep out so much water. That’s why it is necessary to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain 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. However, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This standing water can destroy plants either by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are a visible sign that there is too much moisture on a surface. Water marks are sometimes left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated. You usually see water marks right under the rain gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a typically a sign that water is pouring down the outside of the gutters and not staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The final sign of gutter damage is the easiest 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 home to assess any possible damage to the roof, outer walls, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to any routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a couple of easy tips Pure Clean Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time each year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out regularly. Like with anything else, the better you care for your rain gutters, the fewer problems you’ll experience with them.
The optimal time to clean gutters is during the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners choose to clean their gutters themselves, but there are local gutter cleaning companies that offer 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. A fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the signs we mentioned above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to be sure 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 be replaced very affordably.
But, if you let the issue go on too long, you might end up making repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.