If gutters start to sag or become warped they can make the exterior of your home appear unsightly. But they don’t just look bad. They can cause problems not only to the gutters, but also to the roof, soffit, fascia, and siding, and end up costing a lot of money to repair. Here’s how warped or sagging gutters impact your home.
Damage to the Foundation
A gutter system collects water from the roof and channels it to the downspouts where it flows out of the drainage pipes to where it can be safely deposited away from the foundation. However, when gutters are warped, they become misshapen, restricting the amount of rainwater a gutter section can handle. In a heavy rainfall or if the situation persists and the warped gutters aren’t repaired, the water has to go somewhere. If the rainwater can’t reach the downspouts, it will typically go over the sides.
A gutter system that overflows can also be due to sagging gutters. As gutter sections pull away from the fascia, gutter sections misalign, allowing water to escape over the top of the gutter. Constantly overflowing rainwater from sagging gutters or warped gutters can seep into the ground around a foundation. If the gutter system is not repaired or replaced, over time soil erosion causes shifting. When cracks begin to form, this will further weaken the foundation. As the shifting continues, the cracks become larger, compromising the structural integrity of the house.
Flooding in the Basement
Standing water on the ground because of warped or sagging gutters constantly overflowing can damage the foundation and be responsible for basement flooding. However, the foundation doesn’t have to be noticeably cracked to let water in. Accumulated groundwater can seep into a basement through windows and loose or damaged siding panels.
Roof begins to Leak
Because sagging or warped gutters don’t allow rainwater to flow unimpeded through the gutters, leaves, twigs, and other organic materials form clogs. Debris accumulation can force water trying to exit a gutter system to either back up into the eaves or to remain on the roof. Pooling or ponding, the term for when standing water occurs on a roof, keeps roofing tiles damp. When roof shingles become damaged because of excessive exposure to standing water, the roof can start to leak.
Damage to the Siding
Warped gutters or sagging gutters that constantly overflow can damage siding in several ways. Particularly when siding is older than seven years, rainwater might get in behind loose or damaged siding panels, making them vulnerable to wood rot. Water, combined with accumulated dirt and grime, can wear away the siding’s finish, letting in moisture and air, two necessary components of mold, algae, moss, and lichens growth. Organisms living on the siding help retain water, which in turn can seep into exterior walls where it might eventually enter your home.
Sagging and warped gutters that unload water down siding or up into the eaves, soffit, and fascia encourage mold growth. Even the slightest amount of moisture, combined with the right conditions, can be the beginning of extensive mold damage.
The role landscaping plays in protecting your home from foundation and structural damage is often overlooked by homeowners. Warped gutters or sagging gutters that don’t direct rainwater efficiently to the downspouts typically wash away soil and grass, flood flowerbeds, and soak the roots of plants and trees. As mentioned above, soil erosion exposes the foundation to the elements, making it vulnerable to shifting, splitting, and cracking.
To prevent gutters from warping or sagging, keep the gutters properly maintained. As each season changes, inspect the gutters for loose hardware, damaged sections, leaking seams, and evidence of mold growth. When repairs are required, especially ones that might be somewhat complicated or labour-intensive, consider hiring a professional gutter installer to fix the gutter system.