In our most recent blog, we talked about the many reasons you shouldn’t ignore your gutter problems. After all, improperly-maintained gutters can cause problems like washing away the dirt from a house’s foundation or dumping water directly into a basement light well. Pooling water can also invite problems, providing mold with adequate moisture to take hold and giving mosquitoes a place to breed. And let’s not forget about the dangers that disintegrating gutters can introduce to your yard as brackets, nails, and gutter spikes fall and get chewed up by the mower.
But what we didn’t address was exactly what you should be looking for so that you can know exactly when it’s time for gutter work. Here are 10 things to look for that tell you when it’s time for gutter replacement…or at the very least gutter repair.
One of the most obvious things to look for when it comes to gutter repair is if the water is overflowing from any place other than the downspouts. The most simple reason for this is clogged gutters; tree leaves or other detritus has built up and aren’t allowing water to flow down the downspout as it should.
If you’ve recently cleaned your gutters and there are still problems with water building up, then it’s likely that it’s time for gutter replacement. The most common reason is that the gutters have bowed toward the center, meaning that they’re no longer properly sloped. Water from the right and water from the left is collecting in the center, meaning that the overflow is slamming down directly onto the ground.
Check Your Dirt
We already told you that water coming down in the wrong place can wash away the dirt from a foundation. So while you might not be out in the middle of a downpour to check see what your gutters are doing, you’ll certainly be able to see the aftereffect.
The easiest thing to do is look at the ground to see if there is abnormal wear in the dirt or grass direct directly underneath the gutters. These often form a line that’s a couple of feet long as the water collects in the gutter and drops it along the same place over and over again. It’s also possible that a bent gutter could form its own “spout” and pour all of that water out onto a single location, creating a hole.
What we’re saying is, if there’s any change in the landscaping near your house, simply look up. It could be the gutters that are causing the problem.
Okay, we’ve been down to the ground, now let’s head back up to the gutters themselves. As we mentioned, water that’s backing up is collecting water from the entire roof and pooling it in the gutter instead of sending it down the downspout. While gutters are strong, they’re not mean to hold that much water. Water weighs about eight pounds per gallon, and when that much weight pools in one place it’s possible for aluminum gutters to become misshapen and bent. If you look up at your gutter and see anything that doesn’t look straight, there’s a good chance that it’s time for a gutter repair specialist.
There are some houses you’ll drive past that are in obvious need of gutter replacement. There will be gaps between the gutter lengths that are an inch wide or more, making it very obvious that they’re going to need new gutters soon or risk that problems that arise when you ignore basic gutter repair.
But the gaps aren’t always so obvious, especially in gutters that are attached to second stories. If that’s the case, you might want to get our you binoculars and inspect your gutters from the ground. If you see something but aren’t sure if it’s a problem or not, head out with an umbrella during the next rain and give it a look (alternately, get out the hose and spray water on the roof to see how it flows). If you see water coming from between the sections of the gutter, it’s time for some gutter repair or replacement.
Aluminum is one of the most amazing metals on the planet. It’s lightweight, malleable, and relatively strong, making it perfect for gutters. And while it doesn’t exist freely in nature, (it’s always bonded to something else), there’s more aluminum on Earth than any other metal.
Still, problems can occur, usually because of damage from being struck. Sometimes a tree branch will fall during a storm; the homeowner might clean up the branch but not realize that there was damage to the gutters on the way down. Other times a ladder can put a crack or tear in a gutter, and if the person was adjusting the feet of the ladder at the time they might not even realize there was damage to the gutter. If you see any gaps, make sure to call for gutter repair before the problem gets worse.
One of the easiest ways to discover if you have problems with your gutter is by checking the paint on your house. Gutters that aren’t property attached will leak water in places where they shouldn’t. If this happened once, it wouldn’t be a problem. But as it occurs time and time again, the minerals in the rainwater can stain the siding, causing long vertical streaks of discolored paint.
If you’re walking through your yard and keep finding nails or unexplained brackets of metal, there’s a good chance that these are coming from a failing gutter. It’s likely that part of the wood has rotted away, giving the gutters nothing to hold onto. It’s definitely time to give a gutter repair expert a call.
Or Just Call An Expert
Maybe you’re not sure if it’s your gutters or your roof causing the strange water runoff you’ve been getting. Or perhaps you’re not sure if your gutters are supposed to be doing “that,” whatever that is. You don’t have to make the call if you simply contact a gutter repair and installation expert. They’ll take a thorough look at your gutters inside and out, answer your questions, and let you know what kind of life the gutters on your house still have in them. Click that link to get in touch with the gutter experts at Bluebird Construction!