Rain Gutters are so important because – despite being simple and relatively inexpensive – they protect valuable home components, such as the roof, foundation and windows. Caring for and cleaning rain gutters is an easy way to protect your home from damages.
And it’s much simpler than you probably think.
Spotting a leaking gutter early can protect an entire house. Here, we’ve listed a few signs that you can be on the lookout for (without hiring a roof specialist) to determine if your gutters may be leaking.
How to Identify a Leaking Gutter
There are many signs that indicate a gutter leak, even if you don’t physically notice water dripping. You can do a visual inspection from the safety of your lawn to decide if the signs of a leaking gutter are there.
Here are some things to keep an eye out for:
Obvious Flaws – When gutters start to pull away from the roof, it causes stress on the fasteners. Cracks can be caused by poor installation, poor quality materials, damage or general wear and tear. Cracks in the gutter channel or seeing any section of them pulling away from the house may not be causing a leak just yet, but will ultimately lead to issues. Having these defects fixed is much more affordable than installing new gutters or any of the damages a leak can lead to.
Pooling Water – If water is puddling around your home, it’s a sign that a gutter leak is probably present. But you should also check pipes, water spigots and any water source that is near your house, just in case.
Pooling water by your house can be very damaging for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and might cause windows to leak.
Dripping – One of the most visible signs of a leaking gutter is a drip, or several drips.
A drip from your gutter could indicate a clog, but if it’s coming from the bottom of the gutter and it isn’t overflowing, there is a hidden leak somewhere. These small leaks will occur if a fastener has gotten loose (see the next item below).
Visible Fasteners – Seeing nails and screws working their way out of the rain gutters means a leak will begin soon, if it hasn’t already. The hole where the nail or screw fits starts to become a new area where water can escape if the fastener starts to fall out.
Sometimes the solution is as simple as tightening them, but it can also be important to cover the hole so no water can escape from around the screw or the nail, even after it is tightened again. You can buy this type of sealant, or let a gutter repair company put it on.
Water Stains or Rust – Moisture leaves behind evidence, especially if it is constantly or frequently there. Darker water stains appear because dirt and other organic debris adhere to the moist surface better than it would a drier one.
Rust is the result of nearly constant moisture, and the more severe sign you’ll notice after you see water stains. water stains can be cleaned away and the gutters repaired, but if gutters are rusty, they definitely have to be repaired or be replaced.
Unexplained Home Damage – If there hasn’t been a storm, and you haven’t had a limb fall on top of your roof, but you’re starting to notice paint flaking, cracking in the foundation around the downspouts or walkways, rotting wood on your porch or deck, or moldy window sills, you might have leaking gutters.
These are all indications that water has been leaking from somewhere it shouldn’t. They also are related to older building materials, so all of these factors should be factored in when inspecting gutters for leaks.
Other gutter issues…
Not all gutter issues lead to major repairs. If you see these gutter issues, a leak may not be the issue.
Rain Overflow – This one is usually an easy fix. It’s probably not a gutter leak, but a clog that needs to be cleaned out. You can do this or hire a Palatine gutter cleaning service – or even a general handyman – to clean out the gutters.
Animal Nests – A small bird, squirrel, chipmunk or other pest can quickly build a nest in your rain gutters or in your downspout, which will cause overflow. Once the nest has been there awhile, you will start seeing some of the above signs of leaks – like rust or puddling – if you don’t get rid of the nest.
Trees & Plants – A tree can take root in your gutter with minimal debris present. While it may be little now, a tree sapling will sprout strong roots that can damage aluminum gutters before you even know it.
Professional Gutter Repair
Any of these visible signs mean there are issues with your rain gutter that need to be addressed immediately. By quickly checking all of your gutters and downspouts, you can tell if there’s a cause for concern.
This is where a professional gutter service in Palatine can be helpful. They can distinguish whether gutter replacement is required or if you can get by with repairs to extend the life of your gutters. Sometimes, gutter cleaning is the only thing that’s needed.
Some homeowners decide to do simple gutter care and maintenance, like gutter cleaning, on their own. Although it is time consuming and somewhat dangerous, they are eager to take on the project 1-2 times each year to save some money.
However, anything beyond gutter cleaning should be left to the professionals.
Start by calling a gutter specialist with excellent customer reviews like Palatine Gutter Cleaning. Then let us do an inspection to accurately diagnose the problem. We offer free inspections for potential customers.
If there are any repairs to be made, or if we think that it’s time for gutter replacement, you can count on us to get the job done right. Our gutter repair service will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!