If you are like a lot of people, 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 realize how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most houses in Buffalo. They blend into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner preferred copper or wood … building materials that are definitely meant to stand out! Most are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of rain gutters is to provide a path of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they are in good condition, your gutters will direct runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, will protect 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 house and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too easy to fix to be the reason for any major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is simple and safe. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s a pretty good indication that your gutters have some type of damage.
Once you find a possible gutter issue, you can decide if it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying by yourself or if it’s a project you should hire a gutter service for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not directing the rain runoff away from your home the way they should be. Pooling water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. And, it will make the areas surrounding your home constantly wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or the sides of your home. Mold and mildew indicate that there is too much moisture around that area – a possible problem with the rain gutters could be to blame. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are more 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 doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight on it. This is a scenario where the advice and knowledge of a professional in Buffalo would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll have to wait until it’s actually raining to discover this type of 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 out. Either way, you want to have it checked right away.
Based on the design of your home’s basement, your leak could be caused by any number of things. The pooling issue we mentioned before could definitely result in a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will only block out so much water. That’s why it is so necessary to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters empty directly onto the ground in most cases, 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 isn’t supposed to. This rain water can destroy plants either by force or by overwatering. It will also displace flower bed building materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are a visible sign that there is a lot of moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if pooling water has evaporated or dissipated. You usually see water marks right beneath the rain gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a typically a sign that rain water is pouring down the outside of the gutters and not 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, they definitely have damage. After a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your house to identify any possible damage to the roof, outer walls, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to any standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some simple tips Better Buffalo Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least one time a year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you maintain your gutters, the fewer problems you’ll have with them.
The optimal time to clean out gutters is during the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Many homeowners clean their gutters themselves, but there are professional gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to handle the mess or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of damage can often be visible from the outside of the gutters. Just a quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the issues we discussed above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection following each season to confirm that your gutters are functioning the right way.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Fixing 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 easily be replaced very affordably and quickly.
However, 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.