If you are like most people, your rain gutters are not something you often think about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but besides that, their functionality is very simple.
It’s not until rain gutters aren’t doing their job that you realize just how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most roofs in Baltimore. They blend into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner decided on copper or wood … materials that are designed to stand out! Most home exteriors are crafted from durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of rain gutters is to create a path of minimal resistance for rain to get off your roof. When they are in good shape, your rain gutters will lead runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the foundation and basement from leaks, and the rain gutters themselves from wear and rust.
When gutters 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 repair to be the reason for major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is simple and safe. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s a good clue that your gutters have some type of damage.
Once you identify a gutter problem, you can decide whether it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s something you’d rather trust a gutter specialist for.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting water is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the rain 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. Plus, it will leave the areas around your home constantly 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 that there is too much moisture around that area – a possible problem with the gutters could be the cause. Remember that mildew and mold are more likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where they’re growing, it may be because that area gets very little direct sunlight on it. This is a scenario where the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Baltimore would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s raining to notice this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean you have gutter damage. It might just be that the gutter is full of debris and needs to be cleaned. In either case, you want to have it looked at ASAP.
Based on the construction of your basement, your leak could be due to any number of things. The pooling issue we discussed earlier could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls can only keep out so much water. That’s why it is so necessary to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters empty directly onto the ground in most cases, 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 cause rainfall to overflow or pool where it shouldn’t. This pooling water can destroy plants either by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are a visible sign that there is too much moisture on a surface. Water marks are sometimes left behind even if pooling water has evaporated or dissipated. You will usually find water marks under the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a usually an indication that rain water is streaming down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The last sign of gutter damage is by far the simplest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they obviously have damage. Following a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your home to assess any possible 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 few simple tips Better Baltimore Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least once a 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 less problems you’ll experience with them.
The best time to clean gutters is during the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. Many homeowners clean their gutters themselves, but there are many local gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to deal with the mess or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of damage can often be visible from the outside of the gutters. A quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the signs we discussed above.
We’d suggest that you complete an exterior home inspection after each season to be sure that your gutters are working the right way.
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 be replaced very affordably and quickly.
However, if you let the issue go on too long, you could end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.