Gutters are very important because – despite being simple and inexpensive – they protect valuable home investments, like the roof, foundation and windows. Taking care of and cleaning gutters is an easy way to help protect your house from damages.
And it’s really a lot easier than you probably think.
Spotting a leak in your gutters early can protect an entire house. Here, we’ve listed a few indicators that you can look for (without hiring a roof specialist) to see if there is a leak in your gutters.
How to Identify a Leaking Gutter
There are a number of warning signs that point to a gutter leak, even if you don’t notice water dripping. You can do an inspection from the safety of your ground to determine if the signs of a gutter leak are present.
Here are some things to keep an eye out for:
Visible Flaws – When gutters begin to pull away from the home, it stresses the fasteners. Cracks can be the result of faulty installation, poor quality materials, storm damage or general wear and tear. Cracks in the gutter or seeing any part of them pulling away from the roofing may not be causing a leak yet, but will definitely cause problems. Having these defects repaired is affordable than replacing gutters or any of the damages a leak can cause.
Pooling – If rain is pooling around your house, it’s a possible sign that a gutter leak is present. You should also check pipes, water spigots and any water source that is close to your house, just to be sure.
Pooling water by your home can be really bad for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and can cause your windows to leak.
Drips – One of the most obvious signs of gutter leaks is a drip, or several drips.
A drip from your rain gutter is likely a clog, but if it’s coming from the bottom of the gutter and it isn’t a big overflow, there is a hidden leak somewhere. These minor leaks can occur if a fastener has gotten loose (see the next item on our list).
Visible Fasteners – Finding nails and screws wiggling their way out of the gutters likely means a leak will begin soon, if it hasn’t already. The hole where the nail or screw fits starts to become a new area where water can get out if the fastener works its way out.
Sometimes the solution is as easy as refastening them, but it could also be necessary to seal the hole so no water can escape from around the screw or the nail, even after it is tightened again. You can buy this sealant, or let a gutter repair company put it on.
Water Stains or Rust – Moisture leaves evidence behind, especially when it is constantly or frequently there. Dark water stains appear because dirt and other organic materials stick to the wet surface better than it would a dry one.
Rust is the result of nearly constant moisture, and the more severe sign you’ll see after water stains. Most water stains can be cleaned and the gutters can be repaired, but if the gutters are rusty, they definitely have to be repaired or replaced.
Unexplained Home Damage – If there hasn’t recently been a storm, and you haven’t had a tree limb fall on your roof, but you’re beginning to notice paint flaking, cracking in the foundation around the downspouts or walkways, decaying wood on your porch or deck, or mold on your window sills, you might have leaking gutters.
These are all indications that water has been leaking from somewhere it shouldn’t. They also go hand in hand with older building materials, so all factors need to be considered when inspecting gutters for leaks.
Other gutter issues…
Not all gutter issues lead to major repairs. If you see these gutter issues, a gutter leak might not be the issue.
Rain Overflow – This one is typically an easy fix. It’s probably not a gutter leak, but a clog that needs to be cleaned out. You can do this yourself or hire a Grand Rapids gutter cleaning service – or even a general handyman – to clean out the gutters.
Animal Nests – A small bird, squirrel, chipmunk or other pest can quickly build a nest in your gutters or downspout, which can also cause overflow. Once the nest has been there for a little while, you will start seeing some of the above signs of a leak in a gutter – like rust or puddling – if you don’t get rid of the nest.
Trees & Plants – A tree can take root in your gutter with little debris present. While it may be little now, a tree sapling will sprout strong roots that can damage aluminum gutters before you know it.
Professional Gutter Repair
Any of these easy-to-see signs indicate there are problems with your gutter that have to be addressed immediately. By quickly checking all of your gutters and downspouts, you can see if there’s a cause for concern.
This is where a professional gutter service in Grand Rapids can be of great help. They can determine whether gutter replacement is required or if you can get by with repairs to lengthen the life of your home’s gutters. Sometimes, basic gutter cleaning is the only thing that’s needed.
Some homeowners decide to do simple gutter care and maintenance, such as gutter cleaning, themselves. Although it it can be time consuming and dangerous, they are ready to take on the chore 1-2 times each year to save some money.
However, anything beyond basic gutter cleaning is best left to the professionals.
Start by hiring a gutter service with excellent customer reviews like Grand Rapids Gutters. Then let us do an inspection to accurately diagnose the problem. We provide free inspections for new customers.
If there are gutter repairs to be made, or if we believe that it’s time for gutter replacement, you can count on us to get the job done. Our gutter repair service can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!