If you’re like many 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 what they’re supposed to that you realize just how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most homes in Atlanta. They fade into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner preferred copper or wood … materials that are definitely designed to stand out! Most are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to create a route of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they’re in good shape, your rain gutters will route runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the foundation and basement from leaking water, and the gutters themselves from rust.
When they are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your house and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to repair to be the reason for major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is easy and safe. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s a pretty good clue that your gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you notice a possible gutter problem, you can decide whether it’s something you are comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s something you’d rather hire a gutter company for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water near your home is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the rain runoff away from your home the way they should be. Pooling water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. And, it will leave the areas around your house constantly wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or the exterior of your house. Mold and mildew indicate there is too much moisture in that area – a potential issue with the rain gutters could be the cause. Remember that mildew and mold are more likely to appear on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where they’re appearing, it may be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight on it. This is a scenario where the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Atlanta would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s actually raining to look for this type of gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that you have gutter damage. It might just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and should be cleaned. Either way, you need to have it checked ASAP.
Depending on the construction of your basement, your leak might be caused by any number of things. The standing water problem we mentioned earlier could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls will only keep out so much water. That’s why it is important to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters empty directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be designed to work with this water flow to help it disperse into the ground. However, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This standing water can destroy plants either by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are the first sign that there is too much moisture on a surface. Water marks are sometimes left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You will usually see water marks right under the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication that water is streaming down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The final sign of gutter damage is the simplest 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 possible 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 few easy ways ATL Gutters, Inc. recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time each year. You can lengthen the time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out regularly. Like with anything else, the better you care for your rain gutters, the less problems you’ll experience with them.
The optimal time to clean out gutters is in the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners 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 work or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. Just a fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the issues we mentioned above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection after each season to confirm that your gutters are working correctly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Fixing 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 and quickly.
But, if you let the issue go on too long, you could end up making repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.