If you are like most homeowners, your rain gutters aren’t something you really think about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is very simple.
It’s not until your rain gutters aren’t doing their job that you understand how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most roofs in St Paul. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … materials that are meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are crafted from durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of rain gutters is to provide a route of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof. When they are in good shape, your rain gutters will direct runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the concrete and pavement 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 house and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to repair to be the cause of major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s a good clue that your rain gutters have some type of damage.
Once you find a gutter problem, you can decide if it’s something you feel comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s a project you should hire a gutter service to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting water is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the water runoff away from your house the way they should be. Standing water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. And, it will leave the areas around your home constantly 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 on the sides of your house. Mold and mildew indicate there is too much moisture in that area – a potential issue with the rain gutters could be to blame. Remember that mildew and mold are more likely to grow on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it might just be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a time when the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in St Paul would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s actually raining to discover 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. In either case, you want to have it looked at right away.
Depending on the construction of your basement, your leak might be due to any number of things. The standing water problem we mentioned before could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls will only keep out so much water. That’s why it is so important to keep your gutters in good condition!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters empty directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this water flow to help it disperse into the ground. However, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This pooling rain water can destroy plants by force or by overwatering. It will also displace flower bed materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are the first sign that there is excessive moisture on a surface. Water marks are sometimes left behind even if pooling water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You usually find water marks under the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically a sign that rain 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 simplest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they obviously have damage. After a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your home to assess any damage to the roof, outer walls, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to your standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few simple tips St. Paul Gutter Solutions recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least one time each year. You can lengthen the time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you maintain your gutters, the less issues you’ll experience with them.
The optimal time to clean gutters is during the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Many homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are many professional gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to handle the mess or the risk.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of gutter damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. A quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the signs we discussed above.
We’d suggest that you complete an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to confirm that your gutters are functioning the right way.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Taking care of 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 easily be replaced very affordably and quickly.
But, if you let the problem go on for too long, you might end up making repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.