If you are like a lot of people, your rain gutters aren’t something you often think about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your gutters aren’t doing their job that you understand just how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most houses in Lexington. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … building materials that are definitely meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to provide a path of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they’re in good shape, your gutters will route runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the foundation and basement from leaking water, 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! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you identify any of the following issues, it’s a pretty good clue that your gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you find a possible gutter problem, you can decide if it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s a project you should call a gutter service for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting water near your home is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the water runoff away from your house the way they are supposed to. Standing 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 perpetually wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the exterior of your home. Mold and mildew mean there is excessive moisture around that area – a possible problem with the rain gutters could be to blame. Remember that mildew and mold are more likely to grow on the north side of a home 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 situation when the advice and knowledge of a professional in Lexington would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s actually raining to notice this gutter issue. 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. Either way, you want to have it checked right away.
Depending on the construction of your home’s basement, the leaking could be caused by any number of things. The pooling issue we mentioned earlier could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls can only keep out so much water. That’s why it is so important to keep your gutters in good shape!
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 disperse into the ground. However, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This standing 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 too much moisture on a surface. Water marks are sometimes left behind even if pooling water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You usually find water marks beneath the gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication that water is streaming 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 easiest to find. 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 damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to any routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few simple ways LikeNew Lexington Gutters recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time each year. You can lengthen the time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you maintain your gutters, the less problems you’ll experience with them.
The recommended time to clean out gutters is during the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners choose to 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.
Check your gutters often. Signs of gutter damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. Just a fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the signs we discussed above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to ensure that your gutters are working properly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Taking care of 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 for too long, you could end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.