Gutters serve an important purpose by keeping water from damaging the siding, roof, and foundation of your home. But it’s easy to forget about their maintenance. Regular cleaning will help your gutters to last longer, but eventually, you may need to repair or replace them. There are a few ways you can tell when it’s time to talk to a professional for help.
1. Flaking Paint or Pieces of Rust
The paint used on gutters is designed to withstand extreme weather, but only for so long. Peeling or flaking paint along with orange colored flecks indicate rust. That usually means water isn’t draining properly from the gutter. Water is more likely to cause damage the longer it sits in the gutter. As the rust spreads, it can cause cracks and splits.
2. Noticeable Cracks and Splits
Even a tiny crack, if left unchecked, can cause big problems. Water can seep into the smallest of cracks and further damage the gutter. Rust begins to form and breakdowns the gutter. Once the crack gets large enough, water can leak into the fascia boards or shingles on your roof. It can also allow water to leak onto the ground where it can damage the foundation.
3. Pooling Water and/or Mildew Near the Foundation
A damaged foundation can be hard and expensive to fix. If you notice pools of water near or against your foundation, your gutters are not performing their job. Noticeable mildew around the foundation can indicate the same problem. Check for clogs before you jump to replace all the gutters, but if pools of water are ongoing problem after you’ve cleared debris, you most likely need to replace your gutters.
4. Watermarks or Damage Near the Gutters
Check directly underneath your gutters for watermarks or water damage. This should be done on a dry, sunny day so you can clearly see any damage. Watermarks may mean nothing more than a clog, but it could also indicate leaky gutters. Soffits and fascia boards are most susceptible to damage with this kind of gutter problem.
5. Obvious Sagging or Pulling Away from the House
Gutters should be flush with your house with absolutely no sagging. This kind of damage is easy to spot because you don’t need a ladder to see it. Water that hasn’t drained usually causes sagging. The extra weight of the water pulls the gutters away from the house. You should consult a professional if you have problems with sagging because your gutter system may not be designed correctly for your house, or there could be a significant blockage that isn’t obvious, even with a ladder.
Proper Maintenance is the Best Prevention
Replacing a gutter system can be pricey. If you’ve purchased an older home, carefully check the gutters as they are often overlooked. With proper maintenance, you can extend the life of your gutters and protect the value of your home. As you clean your gutters regularly and fully inspect them a few times a year, you’ll catch damage early when it’s easier to repair.