If you are like most people, your rain gutters aren’t something you often think about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your 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 virtually unnoticed on most roofs in Birmingham. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner decided on copper or wood … building materials that are definitely meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to create a route of least resistance for rain to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they are in good condition, your 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 leaking water, and the gutters themselves from wear and rust.
When gutters are damaged, it can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too easy to repair to be the cause of any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is simple and safe. If you see any of the following signs, it’s a strong clue that your gutters have some type of damage.
As soon as you find a gutter issue, you can decide if it’s something you are comfortable fixing or remedying on your own or if it’s a project you should hire a gutter specialist to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water near your home is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the water runoff away from your home the way they are supposed to. 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 home consistently wet 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 mean there is too much moisture around that area – a potential problem with the rain gutters could be the cause. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it may be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a situation when the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Birmingham would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s actually raining to notice this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean your gutters are damaged. It could just be that the gutter is full of debris and should be cleaned. Either way, you want to have it looked at right away.
Based on the construction of your home’s basement, your leak might be due to any number of things. The standing water issue we mentioned earlier could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and even 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
Gutters empty directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be designed to work with this water flow to help it submerge into the ground. But, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it isn’t supposed to. This pooling rain water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It will also displace flower bed building materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are a visible sign that there is excessive moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if pooling water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You usually see water marks beneath the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication 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 by far the easiest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they have damage. After a storm, it’s a smart 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 routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some simple tips Birmingham Gutter Service recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time each year. You can extend the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. Like with anything else, the better you care for your gutters, the fewer issues you’ll have with them.
The optimal time to clean gutters is in the spring, but to be cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. Many homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are many professional gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to deal with 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 signs we discussed above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to ensure that your gutters are working properly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Fixing 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 be replaced very affordably.
But, if you let the issue go on for too long, you could end up making repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.