If you’re like a lot of people, your rain gutters aren’t something you really think about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but otherwise, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your gutters aren’t doing their job that you understand how important they are for your home!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most homes in Palatine. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … materials that are meant to stand out! Most are crafted from durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of gutters is to provide a path of minimal resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof quickly. When they are in good condition, your gutters will route runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, protecting your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the concrete and pavement and basement from leaks, 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 easy to fix to be the cause of any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is easy and safe. If you identify any of the following signs, it’s a pretty strong indication that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you find a gutter problem, you can decide if it’s something you are comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s a project you should trust a gutter repairman to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Pooling water near your home is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not sending the rain runoff away from your home the way they are designed to. Standing water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for pesky mosquitoes. Plus, it will make the areas around your home perpetually 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 on the sides of your house. Mold and mildew mean that there is excessive moisture in that area – a possible problem with the gutters could be the cause. Keep in mind that mildew and mold are likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where these substances are appearing, it might just be because that area gets very little direct sunlight. This is a time where the advice and knowledge of a professional in Palatine would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You’ll need to wait until it’s actually raining to look for this type of gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean you have gutter damage. It might just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and should be cleaned. Either way, you need to have it looked at right away.
Based on the construction of your basement, the leaking could be caused by any number of things. The standing water problem we discussed earlier could definitely cause a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls can only keep out so much water. That’s why it is necessary to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Rain gutters empty directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this flow of water to help it submerge into the ground. However, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will cause rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This water can destroy plants either by force or by overwatering. It will also displace flower bed materials like mulch or rock.
Water marks are a visible sign that there is excessive 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 right under the gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a typically a sign that rain water is streaming 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 have damage. After a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your house to identify any damage to the roof shingles, exterior, and gutters. These inspections are in addition to any routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a few easy ways Palatine Gutter Cleaning recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters out at least one time a year. You can extend the amount of time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out. As with anything else, the better you maintain your gutters, the fewer issues you’ll experience 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 clean their gutters on their own, but there are professional gutter cleaning companies that offer this service so you don’t have to handle the work or the risk.
Check your gutters often. Signs of damage can be visible from the outside of the gutters. A fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the signs we discussed above.
We’d recommend that you do an exterior home inspection following each season to confirm that your gutters are functioning 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.
However, if you let the issue go on too long, you might end up needing repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire area of landscaping.