If you’re like many homeowners, your rain gutters aren’t something you really think about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until 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 Federal Way. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … materials that are designed to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to provide a path of least resistance for rain to get off your roof. When they are in good shape, your gutters will lead runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaking water, and the rain 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 fix to be the cause of any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you see any of the following issues, it’s a good indication that your rain gutters have some type of damage.
Once you identify a possible gutter issue, you can decide whether it’s something you are comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s a project you’d rather call a gutter specialist to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water near your home is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not directing the rain runoff away from your home the way they should be. Pooling water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. And, it will make the areas around your house perpetually wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or the exterior of your home. Mold and mildew mean there is a lot of moisture in that area – a possible issue with the gutters could be the cause. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are likely to appear on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it might be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a time when the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Federal Way would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s actually raining to find this gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean your gutters are damaged. It could just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and needs to be cleaned out. Either way, you want to have it checked right away.
Depending on the design of your basement, the leaking might be caused by any number of things. The pooling problem we mentioned earlier could definitely result in 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 good shape!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
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. But, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This pooling rain water can kill plants either 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 a lot of 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 right beneath the 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 by far the easiest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, 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, exterior, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to any standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some easy ways Federal Way Gutters recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least once a year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out regularly. Like with anything else, the better you care for your rain gutters, the fewer problems you’ll experience with them.
The optimal 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 professional gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to deal with the work or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. A fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the problems we mentioned above.
We’d recommend that you do an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to be sure 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 a lot of 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.
But, if you let the issue go on too long, you could end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.