If you’re like many people, your gutters aren’t something you often think about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your rain 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 Lake Oswego. They fade into the exterior unless the homeowner chose copper or wood … materials that are definitely designed to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable yet lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of gutters is to create a path of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof quickly. When they’re in good shape, your rain gutters will direct runoff away from the home’s foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mildew and mold, the foundation and basement from leaking water, and the rain gutters themselves from rust.
When gutters are damaged, it can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your house and surrounding 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 identify any of the following signs, it’s a pretty good indication that your rain gutters have some type of damage.
As soon as you notice a gutter issue, you can decide whether it’s something you feel comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s a project you should hire a gutter service to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not routing the rain runoff away from your home the way they are designed to. Pooling water can cause mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. And, it will leave the areas around your home perpetually soggy and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Either one of these is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the gutters or the sides of your house. Mold and mildew mean there is excessive moisture in that area – a possible problem with the gutters could be to blame. Keep in mind that mildew and mold are likely to grow on the north side of a home anyway, so if that’s where they’re growing, it may be because that area gets very little direct sunlight on it. This is a scenario where the advice and knowledge of a professional in Lake Oswego would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s actually raining to look for this type of gutter problem. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that you have gutter damage. It might just be that the gutter is full of debris and should be cleaned. Either way, you want to have it checked right away.
Based on the construction of your basement, the leaking might be due to any number of things. The standing water issue we discussed before could definitely lead to a basement leak. Egress windows and even cinder block walls will 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 pour directly onto the ground in most cases, and landscaping should be designed to work with this flow of water to help it disperse into the ground. However, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will cause 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 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 see water marks right under the gutters or 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 the simplest to find. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they have damage. Following a storm, it’s a good idea to walk around your home 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 couple of simple tips Lake Oswego Gutter Service recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least once a year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by having them cleaned out regularly. As with anything else, the better you maintain your gutters, the less issues you’ll have with them.
The recommended time to clean out gutters is in the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a good cleaning in the fall, too. Many homeowners clean their gutters on their own, but there are 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 gutter damage can often be visible from the outside of the gutters. A fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – should reveal any of the issues we mentioned above.
We’d recommend that you do an exterior home inspection after each season to ensure that your gutters are functioning 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.
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 area of landscaping.