Gutters are important because – although they are simple and inexpensive – they protect more valuable home components, such as the roof, foundation and windows. Maintaining and cleaning gutters is an easy way to protect your house from damages.
And it’s really a lot easier than you might think.
Identifying a gutter leak early can protect the entire house. Below, we’ve listed a few indicators that you can look for (without hiring a roof specialist) to see if your gutters are leaking.
How to Identify a Gutter Leak
There are a number of warning signs that suggest a gutter leak, even if you don’t physically see water dripping. You can do an inspection from the safety of your lawn to decide if the signs of a leaking gutter are there.
Here are some things to keep an eye out for:
Obvious Flaws – When gutters begin to pull away from the house, it stresses the connections. Cracks can be the result of poor 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 home might not cause a leak just yet, but these things will ultimately lead to issues. Having these defects repaired is more affordable than replacing gutters or any of the possible damages a leak can cause.
Pooling Water – If water is pooling around your home, it’s a possible sign that a gutter leak is present. You should also check underground pipes, water spigots and any other water source that is near your house, just to be sure.
Pooling water near your house can be very bad for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and can cause windows to leak.
Dripping – One of the most obvious signs of a leaking gutter is a drip, or several of them.
A drip coming from your rain gutter indicates a clog, but if it’s coming from the bottom of the gutter and it isn’t overflowing, there is a hidden leak somewhere. These small leaks can happen if a fastener has gotten loose (see the next item on our list).
Visible Fasteners – Seeing nails and screws working their way out of the rain gutters means a leak is going to start soon, if it hasn’t already. The hole where the nail or screw fits becomes a new area where water can get out if the fastener works its way out.
Sometimes the answer is as easy as tightening them, but it can also be necessary to seal the hole so no more water can escape from around the screw or the nail, even after it is back in place. You can buy this type of sealant, or let a gutter repair company apply it.
Water Stains or Rust – Water leaves evidence behind, especially if it is consistently or frequently there. Dark water stains appear because dirt and other materials adhere to the wet surface better than on a dry one.
Rust is the product of constant moisture, and the more severe sign you’ll see after water stains. water stains on gutters can be cleaned and the gutters fixed, but if gutters are rusty, they definitely need 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, rotting wood on your patio or deck, or mold on your window sills, you may have a gutter leak.
These are all signs that water has been leaking from a place it shouldn’t. They also go hand in hand with older building materials, so all of these factors should be taken into account when inspecting gutters for leaks.
Other gutter issues…
Not all gutter issues lead to major repairs. If you see these common gutter issues, a gutter leak may not be the problem.
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 Birmingham gutter cleaning service – even a general handyman – to clean out the gutters.
Animal Nests – A bird, squirrel, chipmunk or other pest can quickly build a nest in your rain gutters or in your downspout, which will 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 pooling – if you don’t get rid of it.
Trees & Plants – A tree can easily take root in your gutter with small amounts of debris present. While it may be small now, a sapling will sprout strong roots that can destroy aluminum gutters before you even 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 reason for concern.
This is where a gutter service in Birmingham can be helpful. They can determine whether gutter replacement is required or if you can get by with repairs to lengthen the life of your gutters. Sometimes, gutter cleaning is all that’s needed.
Homeowners can choose to do basic gutter care and maintenance, like gutter cleaning, themselves. Although it is time consuming and sometimes dangerous, they are ready to complete the project 1-2 times each year to save a little money.
However, anything beyond gutter cleaning should be left to the professionals.
Start by finding a gutter specialist with excellent customer reviews like Birmingham Gutter Service. Then let us do an inspection to accurately determine the problem. We provide free inspections for new customers.
If there are repairs to be made, or if we feel 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!