Day after day, year after year, your gutters and downspouts are always on call to channel damaging storm water away from the home. “Even if your gutters have provided you with decades of faithful, trouble-free service, every installation has an expiration date,” said Christopher Wittmann, CR, exterior product specialist with Callen Construction in Muskego. “If you’re not certain whether or not the time for replacement has come, look out for these telltale signs of failure to give you some insight.”
Look to see if there are cracks or splits of any kind. While small cracks in your gutters may not seem like a major concern at first, they will eventually turn into larger cracks, and it may happen sooner than you think. If you allow these cracks to remain, water will not only damage your gutters further, but it will also damage the fascia boards behind the gutters, the shingles above the gutter, and the foundation below.
Another warning sign is peeling paint on or around your gutters and or flecks of orange.
“The paint on your gutter is designed to withstand the typical wear and tear throughout the seasons. Unless your gutters are extremely old, peeling paint or orange flecks from the beginning stages of rust indicate that water is present on a continuous basis,” explained Christopher. This could mean that the gutter is not removing the water properly, or that cracks or other damage may be present.
Be on the look out for pools of water or signs of mildew around your home’s foundation. Gutters are designed with the purpose of keeping water flowing away from your home’s foundation. Pools of water or mildew can indicate that the gutters are not working as intended. This could be caused by something as simple as a clog, or as complex as a defect in the gutter system. Water can easily cause foundation damage, leading to costly, time-consuming repairs.
“Check your gutters at least once a year, preferably on a day that’s relatively sunny and free from rain, for water damage or watermarks directly beneath the gutters,” advised Christopher. “Water damage or marks underneath the gutter indicate that leaking or overflowing water is escaping the gutter. This type of water intrusion can damage your soffit and fascia board.”
One of the easiest ways to tell if your gutters require repairs or replacement is if you notice sagging or the gutters are beginning to pull away from the house. “This can indicate that the gutters are full of water and are pulling away from the house due to the weight,” he said “A full gutter means the gutter system may not be appropriate for the home, it’s draining improperly, or debris is causing blockage. Sagging gutters could require significant cost and can be a hassle to repair.
“Remember, gutters are an important part of your home. They direct water away from your home’s exterior walls, windows, doors, and foundation, preventing water from making its way inside. Be proactive when you look for these revealing cues, so you can address any concerns before they become major problems,” Christopher said.