Most of us don’t pay a lot of attention to gutters and gutter guards. But paying attention to this seemingly insignificant element of your home’s exterior plays an important role in keeping your home in good repair.
Why do you need to keep your gutters in good repair?
- The wooden fascia beneath your gutters can rot, causing leaks into your home. Damage to flashing and shingles can also cause leaks.
- Water can accumulate around your foundation, or pool in your driveway.
- Soggy areas around your downspouts become a breeding ground for mold.
- Your yard can be invaded by mosquitoes.
- Sagging, cracked, or disjointed gutters look bad. They detract from the beauty of your home.
Here are six signals that you need to consider getting new gutters.
You can see visible breaks (or dripping water) at the seams of your gutters
Gutters line the exterior of your home. They are joined by horizontal seams. When you see cracks in the seams of your gutters, or you notice water leaking from the seams when it rains, it is time to consider replacing your gutters.
The seams connecting sections of your gutters need to be airtight. This kind of damage can lead to costly gutter repair problems.
You find visible cracks in your gutters
If you are not steady on a ladder, you may want to leave this task to a professional, but everyone needs to inspect their gutters for cracks every year or two. Small cracks are not a big deal — as long as you repair them. If you leave small cracks unattended, drips and leaks of rainwater will eventually ruin the fascia behind your gutters and damage your shingles.
You notice signs of water damage around your gutters
Sometimes, the first sign your gutters need repair or replacement is water damage around your gutters. This can show up as peeling paint, rotting wood, or stains in your vinyl siding.
Don’t panic at the first signs of water damage. It may be that all you need to do is to clean out your gutters, removing leaves, pine needles, and other debris. Then you can prevent this problem in the future with a gutter guard. Professionally installed gutter guards are expensive, but you can install PVC gutter protection as a do-it-yourself project.
You see paint peeling from the surface of your gutters
If you have had your gutters for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years or more, you can expect some paint peeling as part of normal wear and tear. But if you start seeing paint peeling at the seams of your gutters, or on the gutters on the side of the house where the most leaves or pine needles fall, the problem is probably standing water.
Standing water causes paint to peel off the sides of your gutters. It can also rot the wood beneath them.
You notice gutters beginning to sag or pull away from your house
This problem isn’t hard to spot. Water is heavy. When gutters get full of water, they sag and bend. Sagging gutters or gutters that pull away from your house demand immediate attention, because they aren’t doing their job and damage to your house is already underway.
Your gutters are rusty
Rust is another sign that your gutters are holding water, like peeling paint. Replacing rusty gutters, however, is more urgent than replacing gutters with peeling paint, because the structural integrity of your gutters has been compromised. It’s OK to paint over small areas of rust, but large stretches of rust are a sign it’s time for the gutter to be replaced.