If you are like a lot of homeowners, your rain gutters are not something you often worry about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but besides that, their functionality is very simple.
It’s not until 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 unnoticed on most houses in Oakland. They blend into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … building materials that are designed to stand out! Most home exteriors are crafted from durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of gutters is to create a route of minimal resistance for rain to get off your roof. When they’re in good condition, your gutters will route runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the foundation and basement from leaking water, and the rain gutters themselves from rust.
When gutters are damaged, it can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to repair to be the cause of major home repairs! Keeping an eye on your gutters is simple and safe. If you see any of the following issues, it’s a good clue that your gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you identify a gutter problem, you can decide whether it’s something you are comfortable repairing or remedying by yourself or if it’s a project you’d rather trust a gutter repairman to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Sitting water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not directing the water runoff away from your house the way they should be. Standing water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and creates the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. And, it will leave the areas surrounding your house 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 home. Mold and mildew indicate there is too much moisture around that area – a potential issue 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 house anyway, so if that’s where these substances are appearing, it might be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight on it. This is a situation when the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Oakland would be a great help.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will need to wait until it’s raining to discover this type of gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that your gutters are damaged. It could just be that the gutter is full of debris and needs to be cleaned. In either case, you want to have it looked at right away.
Based on the design of your home’s basement, the leaking could be due to any number of things. The standing water problem we discussed before could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls will only block out so much water. That’s why it is so important 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 water flow to help it submerge into the ground. But, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This pooling rain water can destroy plants by force or by overwatering. It might also displace flower bed materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are a visible sign that there is a lot of moisture on a surface. Water marks are 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 usually an indication that water is streaming down the outside of the gutters and not staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The final sign of gutter damage is the easiest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they have damage. After a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your home to identify any possible damage to the roof shingles, outer walls, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to any standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few simple tips Oakland Gutter Service recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least once each year. You can lengthen the time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out regularly. Like with anything else, the better you care for your gutters, the less issues you’ll have with them.
The optimal time to clean gutters is in the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners choose to clean their gutters themselves, but there are 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 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 problems we wrote about above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection following each season to confirm that your gutters are working correctly.
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 be replaced very affordably.
However, if you let the issue go on too long, you could end up making repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.