If you are like most homeowners, your rain gutters are not something you really worry about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but besides that, their functionality is very simple.
It’s not until rain gutters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to that you realize how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most roofs in Lansing. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner preferred copper or wood … building materials that are definitely meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are crafted from durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of rain gutters is to provide a path of least 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 home’s foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the foundation and basement from leaks, and the rain gutters themselves from rust.
When they are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your house and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to fix to be the cause of major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is easy and safe. If you see any of the following signs, it’s a good indication that your gutters have some type of damage.
Once you find a possible gutter issue, you can decide whether it’s something you feel comfortable repairing or remedying on your own or if it’s a project you’d rather hire a gutter company for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water near your home is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the rain runoff away from your house the way they are supposed to. Standing water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. And, it will make the areas surrounding your home constantly soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or the exterior of your home. Mold and mildew indicate that there is excessive moisture in that area – a possible problem with the rain gutters could be the cause. Keep in mind that mold and mildew are more likely to appear on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where they’re growing, it may just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight on it. This is a situation where the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Lansing would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll have to wait until it’s actually raining to look for this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that your gutters are damaged. It might just be that the gutter is full of debris and needs to be cleaned out. Either way, you need to have it looked at ASAP.
Depending on the design of your home’s basement, your leak could be caused by any number of things. The pooling problem we discussed earlier could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will only block out so much water. That’s why it is so necessary 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 flow of water to help it submerge into the ground. However, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This standing rain water can destroy plants by force or by overwatering. It will also displace flower bed building materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are the first sign that there is too much moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if pooling water has evaporated or dissipated. You will usually see water marks right under the rain gutters or behind the downspouts. This is a usually an indication that rain water is pouring down the outside of the gutters and not staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The final sign of gutter damage is the simplest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they have damage. After a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your home to assess 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 a couple of simple ways Lansing Gutters Unlimited recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least once each year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. Like with anything else, the better you care for your rain gutters, the fewer issues you’ll experience with them.
The recommended time to clean gutters is in the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are many local gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to handle the mess 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 – will reveal any of the signs we mentioned above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection at the end of each season to confirm that your gutters are functioning correctly.
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 be replaced very affordably.
But, if you let the problem go on too long, you could end up making repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.