If you are like many people, your gutters are not something you often worry about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your gutters aren’t doing their job that you realize just how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most roofs in Chicago. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … materials that are designed to stand out! Most are crafted from durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of gutters is to create a route of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof quickly. When they’re in good shape, your gutters will direct runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the foundation and basement from leaks, 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 surrounding property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to repair to be the reason for any major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is easy and safe. If you identify any of the following signs, it’s a pretty strong clue that your gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you identify a gutter issue, you can decide if it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying on your own or if it’s a project you should call a gutter service 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 should be. Pooling water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. And, it will make the areas surrounding your home constantly wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or on the sides of your home. Mold and mildew indicate that there is excessive moisture around that area – a potential problem with the rain gutters could be to blame. Remember that mold and mildew are more likely to appear on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are appearing, it might be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a time where the advice and expertise of a professional in Chicago would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s actually raining to look for this type of gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean your gutters are damaged. It might just be that the gutter is full of debris and needs to be cleaned. Either way, you need to have it checked right away.
Based on the construction of your basement, your leak could be caused by any number of things. The pooling issue we discussed before could definitely result in a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls can only block out so much water. That’s why it is so necessary to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters pour directly onto the ground in most cases, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this flow of water to help it disperse into the ground. But, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This pooling water can destroy plants by force or by overwatering. It will also displace flower bed building materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are the first sign that there is a lot of 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 right beneath the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically a sign 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 simplest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they definitely have damage. Following a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your house to identify any possible damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to any standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some easy ways Chicago Gutters Plus recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time each year. You can extend the amount of time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out regularly. As with anything else, the better you care for your gutters, the fewer problems you’ll experience with them.
The recommended time to clean gutters is during the spring, but to be cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. Many homeowners choose to clean their gutters themselves, but there are many professional gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to deal with the work or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of gutter damage can often 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 wrote about above.
We’d recommend that you do an exterior home inspection following each season to ensure that your gutters are functioning the right way.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Fixing 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.
However, if you let the issue go on for too long, you might end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.