If you’re like most homeowners, your gutters are not something you often think about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their functionality is very simple.
It’s not until gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you understand how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most houses in Kansas City. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … building materials that are meant to stand out! Most are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of rain gutters is to provide a path of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof. When they’re in good shape, your rain gutters will route runoff away from the home’s 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 surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to repair to be the cause of any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s a strong indication that your gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you notice a possible gutter issue, you can decide if it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying on your own or if it’s a project you should call a gutter service to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water near your home is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not directing the rain runoff away from your home the way they are designed to. Pooling water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. Plus, it will make the areas surrounding your house consistently soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or the exterior of your home. Mold and mildew indicate there is excessive moisture in that area – a potential issue with the gutters could be to blame. Remember that mold and mildew are likely to appear on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where they’re growing, it might be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a situation when the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Kansas City would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s raining to look for this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean you have gutter damage. It might just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and should be cleaned out. In either case, you want to have it looked at right away.
Depending on the construction of your home’s basement, your leak could be caused by any number of things. The pooling problem we discussed 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 important to keep your gutters in good shape!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters empty directly onto the ground in most cases, and landscaping should be designed to work with this water flow 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 rain water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It might also displace flower bed building 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 pooling water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You usually see water marks right under the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a usually an indication that rain water is running down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The last sign of gutter damage is the easiest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they have damage. After a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your house to identify any 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 couple of simple ways KC Gutter Cleaning recommends to help 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 care for your gutters, the less issues you’ll have with them.
The recommended time to clean out gutters is in the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. Many homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are many professional 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 be visible from the outside of the gutters. A quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the signs we wrote about above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection after each season to confirm that your gutters are functioning the right way.
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.
However, if you let the issue go on too long, you could end up making repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.