7 Signs of Gutter Damage on Your Home
If you are like many homeowners, your rain gutters are not something you often think about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their functionality is very simple.
It’s not until your rain gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you understand just how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most houses in Pittsburgh. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … materials that are meant to stand out! Most are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of rain gutters is to provide a route of minimal resistance for rain to get off your roof. When they are in good condition, your rain gutters will direct runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the foundation and basement from leaks, and the gutters themselves from rust.
When they 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 easy to fix to be the cause of major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is simple and safe. If you identify any of the following issues, it’s a pretty strong indication that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you identify a possible gutter issue, you can decide whether it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s something you should call a gutter specialist for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting water near your home is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not directing the water runoff away from your home the way they should be. Pooling water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas around your home perpetually 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 on the sides of your home. Mold and mildew indicate that there is excessive moisture in that area – a possible problem with the gutters could be the cause. Keep in mind that mildew and mold are likely to appear on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where they’re growing, it may be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a scenario where the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Pittsburgh would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll have to wait until it’s actually raining to look for this gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that your gutters are damaged. It could just be that the gutter is full of debris and should be cleaned out. Either way, you want to have it looked at right away.
Based on the design of your basement, the leaking might be due to any number of things. The pooling issue we discussed before could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls can 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 where it shouldn’t. This rain water can destroy plants 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 standing water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You usually find water marks under the gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a usually a sign that water is running down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The final sign of gutter damage is the easiest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they obviously have damage. After a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your house to identify any damage to the roof shingles, outer walls, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to any routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few easy tips Prime Pittsburgh Gutters recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters 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 experience with them.
The recommended time to clean gutters is during the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners choose to clean their gutters themselves, but there are local 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 gutter 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 discussed above.
We’d suggest 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 needing repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.