If you’re like many people, your rain gutters aren’t something you really think about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is very simple.
It’s not until rain gutters aren’t doing their job that you understand just how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most roofs in Grand Rapids. They blend into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … building materials that are definitely meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are crafted from durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of rain gutters is to create a path of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof quickly. When they are in good condition, your gutters will lead runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaks, and the rain gutters themselves from wear and rust.
When they are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your house and surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too easy to fix to be the cause of major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you identify any of the following signs, it’s a pretty strong indication that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you notice a 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’d rather call a gutter company to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting 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. Standing water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas surrounding your home constantly soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or on the sides of your home. Mold and mildew indicate there is excessive moisture around that area – a possible issue with the gutters could be the cause. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are likely to appear on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are appearing, it might just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a situation when the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Grand Rapids would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll need to wait until it’s actually raining to notice this gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean your gutters are damaged. It might just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and should be cleaned out. In either case, you need to have it checked right away.
Depending on the construction of your basement, the leaking might be due to any number of things. The standing water problem we mentioned earlier could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will only block out so much water. That’s why it is necessary to keep your gutters in good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters pour directly onto the ground in most cases, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this flow of water to help it disperse into the ground. But, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool where it isn’t supposed to. This standing water can destroy plants either by force or by overwatering. It might also displace flower bed building materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are the first sign that there is excessive moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated. You usually find water marks under the rain gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication that water is streaming down the outside of the gutters and not staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The last sign of gutter damage is by far the simplest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they have damage. After a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your home to identify any possible damage to the roof, outer walls, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to your routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few simple ways Grand Rapids Gutters recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least once a year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out regularly. As with anything else, the better you maintain your gutters, the less problems you’ll have with them.
The recommended time to clean gutters is during the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners choose to clean their gutters on their own, but there are professional gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to handle the mess or the risk.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of damage can 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 mentioned above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection after each season to ensure that your gutters are working properly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Taking care of a problem 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 and quickly.
However, if you let the problem go on for too long, you might end up making repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.