The purpose of installing gutters and downspouts is to direct rainwater and melting snow away from your home’s foundation. Keeping these areas clean may initially seem like a hassle, but maintaining a free-flowing system will avert potential water problems, including basement floods and roof leaks.
Gutters that are regularly and properly maintained can last anywhere between 20 and 40 years, depending on the materials used, but it’s still important to know the signs that indicate it’s time to replace them.
- Cracks or rust spots appear. Cracks and rust spots are indicators that water is not draining properly through your gutters, and improper drainage will cause water to pool around the foundation of your home. While some cracks may be caulked, if there are several cracks or large holes from rust spots, you should consider replacement 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 gutters are not dealt with quickly, the growth of mold or mildew or the spread of rotting wood can cause extensive damage to your home. Keep an eye out for peeling paint or water marks on your in your home, as these are sure signs that water is getting in.
- 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 the system as soon as possible.
- Water is pooling in your gutters. Your gutters are designed to channel water around your roof and away from your home, but if water remains stagnant in them, then they are not functioning properly. This also means that when it rains, water may overflow and seep into the ground around your home, risking damage to your home’s foundation and a flooded basement.
- Seams are coming apart. Most gutter systems are sectional, 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 may not always be the answer or may increase your problems if done poorly. If the seams are still breaking loose, it’s time to get your gutters replaced and consider installing seamless gutters.
When it comes time to choose new gutters, you’ll have a variety of material options, including aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, stainless steel, and vinyl. Galvanized steel and aluminum are the most popular materials, although aluminum has the edge because it never rusts. Vinyl gutters also have their advantages because they are easy to cut and assemble, but they can also become brittle in colder temperatures and over time.
While gutters may be a small addition to your home, 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 or other issues, give Century Home Improvements a call for your maintenance and replacement needs.