If you’re like most homeowners, your rain gutters aren’t something you really worry about. They need routine gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their functionality is very 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 Portland. They fade into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner preferred copper or wood … materials that are definitely designed to stand out! Most are crafted from durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of gutters is to create a route of minimal resistance for rain to get off your roof quickly. When they are in good condition, your rain gutters will route runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the foundation and basement from leaking water, and the gutters themselves from wear and rust.
When they 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 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 good clue that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you notice a possible 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 repairman to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing 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 lead to mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas surrounding your home consistently wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or the sides of your house. Mold and mildew indicate that there is a lot of moisture in that area – a potential issue with the rain gutters could be the cause. Keep in mind 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 appearing, it might just be because that area gets very little direct sunlight on it. This is a situation where the advice and expertise of a professional in Portland would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s actually raining to find this type of 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. In either case, you want to have it looked at ASAP.
Based on the construction of your home’s basement, your leak could be caused by any number of things. The pooling issue we mentioned before could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will only keep out so much water. That’s why it is so necessary to keep your gutters in good condition!
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. However, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it isn’t supposed to. This pooling rain water can destroy plants either 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 directly behind the downspouts. This is a usually an indication that rain water is pouring 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 find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they definitely have damage. After a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your house to assess any damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to your routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few simple ways Portland Gutter Solutions recommends to prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least one time a year. You can lengthen the time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out. Like with anything else, the better you care for your rain gutters, the less problems you’ll have with them.
The optimal time to clean out gutters is during 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 on their own, but there are local 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 issues we wrote about above.
We’d suggest that you complete an exterior home inspection following each season to be sure that your gutters are working properly.
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 and quickly.
However, 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.