There are some home-exterior concerns that can be put aside for attention when convenience and budget allow. There are others that need to be dealt with immediately, especially when the season is changing. Gutters are one of them. Your gutter system is the above-ground gatekeeper of your home. It protects your landscape, your exterior walls, your foundation, your interior, and the inhabitants within. Knowing what to look for in regards to the health of your gutters is an invaluable skill that every homeowner should have. You need to know if your system will hold up when the next heavy rain falls. Take note of the following seven signs and then head outside and inspect your gutters.
7 Telltale Signs That Your Home Needs a New Gutter System
1. Existing Leaks Requiring More Than Small Patches for Repair
The first thing you’ll consider are cracks or holes that cause your gutters to leak. The existence of a leak in itself is not enough to scrap your entire gutter system. It’s certainly worth seeing if the leak/s can be repaired. Sound application of plastic cement, for instance, can effectively plug a small hole in your gutters. However, if there are larger cracks or fissures that require more than a dab of well-placed sealant, the situation will worsen with each passing storm. Even if you add a layer of flashing (aluminum or vinyl) over the crack, it’s nothing more than a short term fix. Take it as a sign that it is time for new gutters.
2. Pooling Water at the Base of Your Home
Walk around the grounds of your home after a storm, preferably when there has been a few days of rain. If you notice pools of water near the foundation, there is likely a significant leak or a point of overflow in your gutters. Don’t neglect to look for the same near your downspouts. While downspouts expel water near them, this should not occur within inches of your foundation. Pooling behind or beside downspouts is concerning and the necessity of a new system is likely.
3. Discoloration, Peeling and/or Rot Directly Under Gutters
Inspect your home exterior directly under the entire run of your gutter system. If you notice discoloration, peeling, or rot on the fascia board (where applicable) or any other surface found under your gutters there is cause for concern. If damage is apparent on more than a few feet then it may be time for new gutters.
4. Sagging and Uneven Gutter Line
Step back and have a good look at your gutters from all sides of your home. If a section sags or appears to pull away from the edge of the roof you need to investigate further. Climb up a ladder to the suspected zone. In most cases irreparable damage will be obvious. That being said, even a less obvious sag can equal a bigger underlying problem. Use a level to check your gutters and if you find that the system is uneven at numerous points it is time to consider a new installation.
5. Issues at the Gutter to Downspout Connection
When gutters or downspouts have been replaced separately, or when the initial installation was not done professionally, there is potential for a mismatch between the gutters and the downspouts. If the points where they join are off by even a few millimeters the system can fail, shift during storms, and ultimately result in spillage. One of the two (gutters or downspouts) will need to be replaced to ensure an exact fit.
6. Evidence That Corrosion Has Already Set In
Look for peeling paint and small orange specks on your steel gutters. The former may hint at a worsening concern. The latter hints at a more immediate one. Corrosion, is essentially the biggest killer of metal gutters. There are four main causes of it but no matter the origin, its existence is detrimental to the health of your gutters. If it has spread beyond a few small points, and has become more obvious (beyond a few small orange specks) then you will need to replace your system.
7. Mildew in the Basement
If mildew is evident in your basement this may be a sign that spillage from your gutters has seeped through near your exterior foundation. Mildew is not only unsightly and smelly, it can impact the health of those within the home. Follow the path of mildew growth and chances are that you’ll find it is connected to inadequate gutters.
If your comprehensive inspection has uncovered the need for a new installation and you reside in the Lower Mainland of BC we encourage you to contact us right away for an estimate.