If you’re like most homeowners, your gutters aren’t something you often think about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is very simple.
It’s not until rain 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 homes in Salt Lake City. 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 crafted from durable but 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. When they are in good shape, your rain gutters will lead runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, will protect 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 gutters are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to repair to be the cause of major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is easy and safe. If you identify any of the following issues, it’s a strong clue that your rain gutters have some type of damage.
As soon as you notice a possible gutter issue, you can decide if it’s something you are comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s a project you should call a gutter specialist for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the water runoff away from your home the way they are supposed to. Standing water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. And, it will make the areas surrounding your house consistently wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or on the exterior of your house. Mold and mildew indicate that there is too much moisture around that area – a potential issue with the gutters could be to blame. Keep in mind that mildew and mold are likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it may just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight on it. This is a situation where the advice and knowledge of a professional in Salt Lake City would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s actually raining to find this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that you have gutter damage. It could just be that the gutter is full of debris and should be cleaned. In either case, you want to have it checked right away.
Depending on the construction of your basement, the leaking could be caused by any number of things. The standing water problem we mentioned before could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls can only block out so much water. That’s why it is necessary to keep your gutters in good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters empty directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be designed to work with this flow of water to help it submerge into the ground. However, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This water can destroy plants either by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed building materials like rock or mulch.
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. You usually see water marks under the gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a usually an indication that water is streaming down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The last sign of gutter damage is by far the simplest to spot. 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 assess any possible damage to the roof, outer walls, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to any standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some easy ways SLC Gutter Solutions recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time a year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out. Like with anything else, the better you care for your gutters, the less issues you’ll have with them.
The best time to clean gutters is in the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Many 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 damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. Just a quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the problems we discussed above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection following each season to ensure that your gutters are working correctly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Taking care of an issue 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 easily be replaced very affordably and quickly.
However, if you let the issue go on too long, you could end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.