How often do you think about the condition of your gutters? We bet that you only give them attention when you start having problems. However, just like the roof, the gutter system is critical to a home’s infrastructure.
You can say that gutters are part of your home’s first defense against the elements. They are highly exposed to direct sunlight, rain, strong winds, and heavy snow, which means that they are prone to cracking, warping, and other types of damage.
Essentially, the main function of gutters is to direct rainwater away from the home. They help protect the house from water seepage, keep garden beds safe, and prevent soil erosion.
Carrying out proper maintenance (like gutter cleaning) and checking the condition of your gutters every once in a while help ensure that they are in top shape. You can also watch out for signs that your gutters have gone bad such as water spilling over, stains on sidings, or gutters starting to bend or sag.
In this article, we’ll further go into the symptoms of gutter issues, share with you how you can test your gutters for leaks, and some important things you should know if you’re planning to get a gutter repair.
Signs That Your Gutters Have Gone Bad
As we mentioned above, gutters play an important part when it comes to protecting your home. That is why it’s important to ensure that your gutters are well-maintained, where minor issues should be taken care of immediately before they turn into more expensive repairs.
Before things get worse, here are some signs to look out for telling you that you have gutter issues.
- Gaps or cracks – An obvious sign that you have to call gutter repair services immediately is if you see your gutters having large gaps, cracks, or fractures. Even a tiny crack can result in your gutters ineffectively directing rainwater away from your home, causing even bigger problems.
- Sagging gutters – The purpose of gutters is to handle the water that was collected from the roof and allow it to flow to the downspout. However, when the gutters are blocked by debris, leaves, nests, and build-up, the added weight will cause the gutters to bend and pull away from your home. When this happens, they will be less efficient, and clearing them isn’t enough to solve the problem.
- Overflowing water – Did you notice that the gutters are overflowing despite the downspout also spitting out water? It is possible that the size of the gutters is too small for your home and should be replaced. Another reason why gutters overflow is due to poor installation or design – this is why you should only hire professional gutter services to do the job.
- Presence of mold – When water overflows from your gutters, it could create puddles or leaks into your basement. As you know, when there is moisture, molds will grow. Molds are not just unsightly but can cause health problems, especially if there are individuals in your house that suffer from allergies or asthma.
- Water damage marks – Besides molds, also watch out for discoloration on your home’s exterior, downspouts, or fascia as this is a sign of moisture damage. If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to get your gutters inspected immediately before you suffer any more problems.
- Bad odor – Some signs of bad gutters aren’t as simple as seeing obvious physical damage. Noticing that there’s a bad odor coming from your gutters can be a warning that they are starting to fail.
- Standing water – Standing water on your property is bad news, especially on your gutters. There are many potential issues that standing water causes, like algae growth, mosquito infestation, and rot. Usually, standing water in the gutter is a result of blockage either on the gutter itself or the downspout. If you can’t locate a blockage on these fixtures, a gutter replacement would be the best solution.
- Plant growth -Neglecting your gutters could cause dirt, seeds, leaves, and twigs to accumulate. Over time, plants can begin to sprout and will block the flow of water away from your home. In addition, plants can leave holes and cracks leaving your gutters damaged.
- Peeling paint – It’s not just in your gutters that you have to check. If the paint around it is already peeling (or there is paint bubble), it is a sign that there is water gathering around that area and that it’s time to have your gutters repaired.
- Soil erosion – A symptom of bad gutters that you absolutely want to avoid is soil erosion since could lead to foundation problems. A faulty gutter can cause water to go into your yard causing the soil to erode and expose your home’s foundation to water damage. If the water is absorbed into the foundation over some time, it can shift or break causing severe damage to the structure of your house.
How often should gutters be replaced?
Besides the warning signs above, you should also consider having your gutter checked and eventually replaced if it’s 20 years old. Typically, galvanized steel and aluminum gutters (the most common types) last for two decades, while copper gutters can last up to 50 years.
If you’re planning to get new gutters installed soon, see our guide for different types of gutters.
How do you test gutters for leaks?
As always, prevention is better than cure. While watching out for signs of bad gutters can help you prevent you from needing costly gutter repairs or replacements, another proactive gutter maintenance you can do routinely is to test your gutters for leaks.
The only way that you can properly check if your gutters are working properly is to flush them out with water. Compared to grabbing an umbrella and getting out in the rain to inspect your gutters, it will be easier if you do this when the weather condition is favorable.
Step 1: Remove all leaves and debris from the gutters and downspouts before you conduct a water test.
Step 2: Place a ladder in a spot where the ground is leveled and where you can safely access and inspect the gutters.
Step 3: Get a garden hose and secure it inside the gutter. You can also ask someone to help you keep the hose in place so that it remains inside the gutter.
Step 4: As the water flows into the gutter system, go around your house and inspect if there is water dripping or spilling over from the gutters.
Step 5: Make sure that you also test other areas in your gutters so that you’re sure that you have thoroughly checked your entire system.
Step 6: Make sure to note any problems you will spot and call a local gutter repair expert to inspect and fix your gutters.
As you carry out routine maintenance and inspection you also want to include on your list testing your downspout; here’s how you do it:
Step 1: Position the ladder in the area where you want to test a specific downspout.
Step 2: Place a hose in the opening of the downspout (at gutter level) and turn on the water.
Step 3: Let the water run for a few minutes. Put your ear to the downspout at ground level and listen for water flow.
Can you fix a gutter problem yourself?
If you’re confident climbing up a ladder and reaching your gutters, there are a couple of things you can DIY. Some of these tasks can include removing leaves and debris, re-aligning the gutters, removing rust, or fixing a loose bracket on the downspout. If you have the right tools and experience, these tasks can be straightforward. However, you should limit yourself only to these simple repairs since a simple error can wreak havoc on your home.
If you’re unsure or want to properly address the problem with your gutters, your best option is to hire a professional gutter company. An experienced gutter contractor will be able to get to the root of the issue and provide solutions to avoid further damage.
How much do gutters repairs cost?
While regular gutter maintenance can prevent expensive issues, there will be times that you will need to call a gutter repair service near you to have your gutters fixed.
Homeowners usually pay around $100 to $250 or an average of $150 for gutter repair services. However, note that this amount will depend on what type of problem and what type of gutter material need to be repaired. For example, reattaching a part of a downspout that has become loose will only cost $50, while replacing a rotted fascia board costs up to as much as $2,000. A PVC gutter is the cheapest type to fix ($70 to $200) while repairs on Galvalume gutters can set you back anywhere from $175 to $350.
The height of your house also affects the cost of gutter repair as higher properties will be harder to access and is riskier for workers. In addition, other special equipment is needed for multistory buildings such as scaffolding, additional safety gears, etc., so you should expect to pay a higher rate if you own a larger house.
Need help from the pros?
If you’re looking for professional gutter repair services or contractors to install new gutters, we can help you find ones near you. All you have to do is to enter your zip code, and our GPS technology will narrow down your search to the best and most experienced professionals in your neighborhood.