There are some house repairs that you can put off. That small hole in the wall of the living room from mis-hanging a picture? It probably won’t cause you many problems. The ceiling fan that sways back and forth a little too much? It can probably be ignored for a bit longer.
But there are other problems with your home that you should take care of right away. Most people know that roof repair should be taken care of immediately in order to prevent leaking. Siding repair is not only an eyesore but can let in rain and insects.
Gutter repair falls into the latter category and should be taken care of right away, though most people put it off for far too long. The problems associated with gutter repair might not be as obvious as missing shingles or holes in the exterior of a home, but they can end up causing problems that are best avoided. Let’s take a look at why you should get that gutter repair (or even new gutter installation) taken care of as soon as possible.
Let’s start with the primary reason that gutters exist in the first place. Gutters are meant to take water from one place and move it to another. Without gutters, water from the roof will head down the shingles, fall straight down, and begin to wear away at the ground beneath. If you’ve ever seen an old barn without gutters, you realize just how easily the water splashing down can alter the landscape and wash the dirt away from the foundation of a building.
That’s what can happen on a house, too. The water splashes down in the same place over and over, perhaps hours at a time, and begins to affect the soil. First it damages the grass, then washes away the dirt, and before long you can see more of the foundation than you should be seeing.
Having gutters that are in need of repair can actually be worse than having no gutters at all. Instead of all of the soil around the house getting the same amount of erosion, damaged gutters can actually focus all of that rainwater in one particular place. Instead of sending it to the downspouts and away from the house, a damaged gutter can send it onto one small location on the ground. In a single thunderstorm that damaged gutter can wash away a lot of soil from a home’s foundation.
Pooling and Mosquitoes
When a gutter isn’t aligned properly in order to move the water toward the downspouts, pooling can occur. Pooling can create a range of problems; we already talked about the first one above if pooling leads to overflow in the wrong place and ends up washing away soil.
Another problem with pooling is that it keeps the water in the gutter longer than it should be there. While you might not think that’s a big deal, it’s important to remember that standing water makes a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. That’s bad for you and bad for the community, so getting proper gutter repair can actually help fight against the West Nile virus.
Here’s a mean one-two punch that old gutters can play on you. When water stands too long in the gutters, it’s not just mosquito larvae that you need to be worried about. Mold can also grow well in gutters, especially in places where the shingles offer shade over the gutters.
That’s the one part of the one-two punch. What the other? That mold can get washed down the downspout later, and as it churns it becomes airborne. When you open up the windows and doors after the storm and enjoy the cooler air, you’re also letting in mold spores into your home…all thanks to a problem that could have been fixed with a little gutter repair.
Icicles are a staple of winter in many parts of the country. They can be really pretty to look at and are fun to break off. We know that Tennessee doesn’t get a lot of snow, but every so often we’re going to get something big like the blizzard of 1993.
Icicles are fine in certain circumstance, but seeing them hanging from your gutters almost always means that there’s something wrong with them! Well-maintained gutters aren’t supposed to get icicles, and, in fact, they’re supposed to actively defend against them. You really don’t want them hanging from your garage door or your porch; while they might look festive, they could damage a vehicle or, even worse, harm someone.
If your gutters keep deteriorating while they’re still attached to the house, those pieces that are falling off have to go somewhere. Spike, straps, hangers, and even end caps can fall to the ground and create dangerous scrape and puncture dangers for kids and pets alike. It’s best to get new gutter installation if the gutters are falling apart that much. Too much debris can also cause blockage of the gutters; once again the water can be misdirected and overflow in the wrong spots.
The Worst of the Worst
Let’s say your walking around your house one day and notice that something just doesn’t look right with your gutters. Then there a big storm that drops many inches of water in an hour. People forget that water weighs a lot (about eight pounds per gallon) and gutter are meant to move water, not to hold it. When that gutter tears away from the house, you’re going to wish you’d invested in a bit of gutter repair before the storm hit.
What’s the worst that can happen? If enough spikes give way and enough fasteners come off, you’re going to end up with gutters hanging off your home at weird angles. Just hope that someone isn’t under them when they fall.
As you can see, simple gutter repair can avoid many problems that can show up as gutters age. But how do you know that you need gutter repair? There are actually many different signs for you to look for, and we’ll go over them in the next blog. Until then, give us a call to prevent any of the above from occurring.