If you’re like many homeowners, your rain gutters are not something you really worry about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your 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 Berkeley. They blend into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … materials that are meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The purpose of rain gutters is to provide a path of least resistance for rain to get off your roof as fast as possible. When they are in good shape, your rain gutters will route runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaks, and the gutters themselves from rust.
When they are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too simple to fix to be the reason for any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you see any of the following signs, it’s a good indication that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
As soon as you notice a gutter issue, you can decide if 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 near your home is a sure sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the water runoff away from your house the way they are designed to. Pooling water can lead to mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. And, it will make the areas around your home perpetually wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or the exterior of your house. Mold and mildew mean that there is too much moisture around that area – a potential issue with the gutters could be the cause. Remember that mold and mildew are likely to appear on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it might just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a scenario when the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Berkeley would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s raining to look for 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 out. In either case, you need to have it checked ASAP.
Depending on the construction of your home’s basement, the leaking could be due to any number of things. The standing water issue we mentioned 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 important 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 flow of water to help it submerge into the ground. But, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it isn’t supposed to. This standing water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It might also displace flower bed materials like mulch or rock.
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. You will usually find water marks right under the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically a sign that water is pouring down the outside of the gutters and not staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The last sign of gutter damage is by far the easiest 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 home to assess any damage to the roof, exterior, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to any standard home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a couple of easy tips Berkeley Gutter Service recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters 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 rain gutters, the fewer problems you’ll experience with them.
The optimal time to clean out gutters is in the spring, but to be cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. Most homeowners choose to clean their gutters on their own, but there are many professional gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to deal with the work or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. Just a fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the signs we discussed above.
We’d recommend that you complete an exterior home inspection following each season to ensure 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 easily be replaced very affordably and quickly.
But, if you let the problem go on too long, you might end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing expensive vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.