Gutters play an important role in protecting your house from water damage by directing rain and melting snow away from the exterior walls and foundation.
While you know that it is important to keep your gutters clear of debris such as leaves, it is easy to overlook other aspects of their maintenance. Over time, gutters are subjected to the same harsh weather elements as your roof, which means that you should keep an eye out for these warning signs that they may need repairs.
Consider the Age
Proper maintenance helps your gutters last longer. However, the majority of gutter systems eventually need to be replaced as they reach the end of their lifespan. The type of materials used to manufacture your gutter has a lot to do with how long you can expect them to last.
Aluminum gutters are the most common type installed on homes today, and these last about twenty years with care. Copper gutter systems can last even longer, with an average lifespan of about fifty years. Keep in mind that most systems will still need some repairs before they reach the need for gutter replacement.
Observe the Water Flow
Gutter systems should be checked when they are wet as well as dry so that you can see how well they work during an active rainstorm. Watch how the water flows through the gutter system. Ideally, you should not see water flowing over the edges or pooling in one area.
If you notice something is not right with the water flow, then take note of what is happening. For example, water overflowing from the edges could indicate a clog or a problem with the alignment of the gutters. These problems must be corrected to prevent water damage.
Check the Seams
Some gutter systems are put together using seams that must fit together accurately to prevent leaks. Sealant may also be placed on these seams to further reduce the chance of leaks, and this sometimes needs to be replaced. When the gutters are dry check the seams to see if there are any gaps that could be causing leaks.
Houses with many trees in the yard tend to experience more clogs in the gutters, but you should still only need to clean your gutters every couple of months. If your gutters clog more often than that, then arrange for a professional inspection to determine the problem.
In some instances, an improperly installed downspout can lead to clogs, and correcting the issue allows the water to flow properly again. Alternatively, you could benefit from installing gutter guards that prevent large pieces of debris from falling into the system.
Watch for Sagging or Hanging Gutters
Gutters sometimes sag when the heavy weight caused by large chunks of ice or debris becomes more than the system can bear. Alternatively, wind can blow the gutter system apart, or an improperly placed ladder could cause a portion to be knocked down.
When the gutters are sagging or hanging out of alignment, there is a greater chance of the water pooling in the system. Therefore, you may need to have your gutters rehung or the system replaced altogether.
Look for Damage to the House
Water that splashes over the backside of the gutters often leaves rust marks or darkened water stains down the exterior walls. You may also notice early signs of water damage such as peeling paint or loosened siding from gutters that allow water to flow improperly.
Seagate Roofing And Waterproofing Co. provides gutter maintenance and replacement services that help preserve the structural integrity of your house.