If you’re like a lot of people, your rain gutters are not something you often think about. They need regular gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their functionality is incredibly simple.
It’s not until gutters aren’t doing their job that you understand just how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go unnoticed on most houses in Memphis. They fade into the home’s exterior unless the homeowner has opted for copper or wood … building materials that are meant to stand out! Most home exteriors are crafted from durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of rain gutters is to provide a route of least resistance for rain to get off your roof. When they are in good shape, your gutters will direct runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaking water, and the gutters themselves from rust.
When they 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 fix 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 strong clue that your rain gutters have some type of damage.
As soon as you notice a possible gutter problem, you can decide whether it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying on your own or if it’s something you’d rather trust a gutter repairman 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 rain runoff away from your house the way they are designed to. Pooling water can result in mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will leave the areas around your home consistently soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a sign of gutter damage, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or the sides of your home. Mold and mildew indicate there is excessive moisture around that area – a potential issue with the rain gutters could be the cause. Remember that mold and mildew are likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are growing, it may just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a scenario where the advice and knowledge of a gutter specialist in Memphis would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s raining to notice this gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that you have gutter damage. It might just be that the gutter is full of debris and needs to be cleaned out. Either way, you need to have it checked ASAP.
Based on the construction of your basement, the leaking could be caused by any number of things. The pooling issue we mentioned earlier could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and even 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 most of the time, and landscaping should be designed to work with this water flow to help it disperse into the ground. But, a gutter leak or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool where it isn’t supposed to. This pooling water can kill plants either by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed building 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 standing water has evaporated or dissipated into the ground. You will usually see water marks right beneath the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically an indication 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 the simplest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked in the middle, they definitely have damage. After a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your house to identify any damage to the roof shingles, outer walls, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to your routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are some easy tips Memphis Gutters & More! recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least once each year. You can extend the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out. Like with anything else, the better you maintain your rain 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 cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners choose to 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 work or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. A quick inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the issues we discussed above.
We’d suggest that you complete an exterior home inspection following each season to confirm that your gutters are functioning 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 easily be replaced very affordably.
However, if you let the problem go on for too long, you might end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.