The purpose of installing gutters and downspouts is to direct rainwater and melting snow away from your home foundation. Keeping them clean may initially seem like a hassle, but maintaining a good gutter system will avert potential water problems, including everything from basement floods to roof leaks.
Gutters that are regularly (and properly) maintained can last anywhere between 20 and 40 years, depending on the materials used. However, it is important to know the telltale signs that indicate it is time to replace your gutters.
- Cracks or rust spots appear in your rain gutters. Cracks and rust spots are indicators that water is not draining properly through your gutter system. Improper drainage will cause water to pool around the foundations of your home. While some cracks may be caulked, if there are several cracks or large holes from rust spots, you need to look in to replacing your gutter system as soon as possible.
- Mold, mildew, and rot are signs that water is collecting in your house. These signs can occur in your basement, along your siding and shutters, or even in the attic depending on where the water is pooling and leaking through. If your gutter system is not dealt with quickly, the growth of mold or mildew or the spread of rotting wood can cause extensive damage to your house. Keep an eye out for peeling paint or water marks on your house—sure signs that water is damaging your home.
- Gutters are sagging or pulling away from the house. It is possible fasteners have broken off but, more importantly, it may be that the seams they are anchored to are rotting away. The weight of leaves and silt may also be pulling your gutters away from your house, exposing the seams of your house to precipitation and increasing the risk of wood rot and other dangers. If any of these are the case, consider hiring a professional to fix or replace your gutters as soon as possible.
- Water is pooling in your gutters. Your gutters are designed to very specifically channel water around your roof and away from your house, but if water remains stagnant in your gutters, they are not functioning properly. This also means that when it rains, water may overflow from the gutters and seep into the ground around your house, risking damage to your home’s foundation and a flooded basement.
- Gutter seams are coming apart. Most gutter systems are sectional gutters, and over time the seams may start to come apart due to wear and tear or because they have not been properly cleaned of debris. Mending the seams of your gutters may not always be the answer or may increase your problems if done poorly. If the seams of your gutters are still breaking loose, it’s time to get your gutters replaced.
When it comes time to choose new gutters, there is a variety of materials to choose from, including aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, stainless steel, and vinyl. Galvanized steel and aluminum are the most popular types of gutters found on homes, although aluminum has the edge because it never rusts. Vinyl gutters also have their advantages because not only are they easy to cut and assemble, but they can become brittle in colder temperatures and over time.
While gutters may be a small addition to your house, they are a huge part of keeping rain away from your foundation and keeping your home in good working order. When you begin to notice any of these five issues, give Century Home Improvements a call for your gutter maintenance and replacement needs.