Gutter systems are sometimes an afterthought when it comes to critical home systems. But gutters have an important job that protects your home in many ways: collect and divert water from the roof, side, and foundation of your home. When your gutters begin to fail, the consequences can be expensive. Roof leaks, mold/mildew in your siding and frame, and potential foundation issues are often traced back to failing gutters and/or downspouts.
When well-maintained and cleaned regularly, gutters can last decades. But even the best gutter systems don’t last forever. Here are the signs it may be time to replace your home’s gutter system.
- Failing and buckling seams – historically many gutters were installed by joining two or more separate pieces at a seam join that would be sealed and waterproofed. Those seams are a common point of failure, especially if the gutters become heavy with tree debris and water. Nowadays we install seamless aluminum gutters which helps prevent seam issues from happening to your gutters in the future.
- Cracked gutters – older gutters can develop cracks in the sides or bottom, which renders the gutter essentially useless. In some cases a crack can be repaired, but if multiple gutter cracks are present the entire system may need to be replaced.
- Peeling paint – when your gutters fail, the rain water is left to trickle down the side of your home and can cause peeling or bubbling paint. If you see this, look to the closest gutter to see if it may be the root cause.
- Exterior rot – like the peeling paint problem, rain that is allowed to slowly trickle over the entire house can cause rot to exterior wood (like door jambs and window sills).
- Underground mildew – When the water from failing gutters finds its way into the basement, it can create mildew and mold within the foundation and window wells that lead to costly repairs.
The reason you normally see downspouts extended about six feet away from your home is to funnel the water away from the areas it can cause damage. When the system isn’t working, you may end up with the problems above.
The importance of regular maintenance and cleaning can’t be missed either. These same issues can be caused by clogged or unmaintained gutters, which is why we suggest having your gutters cleaned twice per year (Spring and Fall). Gutter protection systems may also be a good solution for your home depending on the amount of debris and location of trees around your property.