Do Your Gutters Need Help?

As a homeowner, you want to be on top of your spring home maintenance checklist. Most of us are aware of the importance of gutter cleaning especially in the lower mainland where Vancouver gutters can be overworked. It doesn’t help that a gutter system can go unnoticed until it starts to overflow, damaging roof shingles and siding. Do your gutters need help: Fortunately, there are telltale signs homeowners can look out for.

Inspirational Gutter Facts

Most gutter problems are preventable.

Gutter materials such as aluminum, vinyl, and copper are relatively easy to maintain.

Properly maintained gutters last:

  • Vinyl gutters – 15 to 20 years
  • Aluminum gutters – 20 to 25 years
  • Copper gutters – 50 to 100 years

Most Obvious Signs of Damage

Obvious signs of damage that can be detected by the naked eye include:

  • Gutters have cracks, holes, or rust spots
  • Gutter sections sag or pull away from the fascia
  • Aluminum gutters are bent or dented
  • Visible gaps at the back of the gutter and the fascia; where gutter sections connect to the downspouts; and where one section is joined to another (gutter seams)
  • There are nails, screws, and brackets on the ground
  • Raised nail heads or nails sticking out of the gutters

Not So Obvious Signs

While signs might be subtle, there are still detectable symptoms that your gutters might need your attention. Less obvious signs of a damaged gutter system are:

  • There are nails, brackets, and screws scattered on the ground
  • Gutters constantly overflow
  • Water doesn’t completely drain (standing water) from the gutter system
  • Water leaks from gutter seams
  • Plant life grows in the gutters
  • Animals, birds, or insects are nesting in the eavestrough

Home Exterior Indicators

Your home’s exterior might be warning you that all is not right with the gutters. The following are signs that often indicate problems with the guttering:

  • Water pools underneath downspouts
  • Water collects parallel to the foundation
  • Paint peels on siding and window and door trim
  • Wood panels and trim begin to rot
  • Water stains, marks, mold or mildew appear on siding, exterior walls, or doors
  • The basement regularly floods during heavy rain storms
  • There is mold or mildew growth on basement walls
  • Lawns or flowerbeds display obvious signs of soil erosion
  • Driveways and other hard landscaping elements become cracked or eroded

When It’s Raining

There are some gutter problems that don’t reveal themselves until it rains. At least twice a year, plan to inspect the gutters while it’s raining.

If rainwater overshoots the gutters, especially in the corners of the gutter system, it could indicate that sections are clogged.

When water drips between the fascia and the back of the gutter, you might need to install drip edge flashing to protect the roof shingles from deterioration.

Stand by the downspouts (each one in turn). Listen to the water flowing through the gutter system and out of the downpipes. Gurgling is good – clunking could be the sound of water trying to maneuver its way around a blockage.