Signs of Gutter Failure that shouldn’t be Ignored

Gutters are important in protecting your home from water damage. Properly functioning gutters prevent expensive problems with your roof, foundation, and landscaping including soil erosion. Many gutter problems are preventable with regular home maintenance. But gutter problems often fly under a homeowner’s radar – until something goes wrong. Here are some signs of gutter failure that shouldn’t be ignored.

Gutters pull away from the fascia.

The gutters should be firmly attached to the fascia, the boards covering the rafter ends of the roof. When they start to pull away, a gap between the fascia and the back of the gutter is created, letting water in behind the gutters. The rainwater can seep into areas it shouldn’t or run down siding, causing damage. When gutters pull away from the fascia the most common reason is because they are clogged with debris.

Solution: Regular gutter cleaning will remove debris combined with standing water that adds weight to the gutters causing hardware to loosen and the gutters pull away from fascia boards. Check to see if any brackets and nails need replacing.

Water overflows the gutter channel.

Water overflowing the top of the gutters at the front is often a sign of clogged gutters. When debris builds up in the gutter channel to the extent that water can no longer flow around it to get to the downspouts, its only option is to flow over the gutter lip. Overflowing gutters can be responsible for a number of gutter problems including soil erosion, stained siding, and a flooded basement.

Solution: Start with the gutter outlets – check for blockages and remove any debris. Inspect the gutter channel for any buildup. Also check the downspouts for clogs and remove them. If clogs in the gutters and downspouts aren’t the reason, consult with gutter contractor to see if you need to upgrade from 5-inch gutters to a 6-inch gutter system or you need to replace the current downpipes with larger downspouts.

Gutters are cracked.

Over time due to natural wear and tear, a gutter system can develop cracks. Even the smallest of cracks or holes can impact the functionality and efficiency of your gutters. When not repaired cracks and holes become large enough to allow water to escape causing damage to your home’s exterior and to interior walls.

Solution: Repair small cracks with the appropriate sealant. When you are making too many repairs in the same place or the cracks and holes are too large, the gutter section should be replaced. Replace the gutter system if the damage is widespread.

Mold makes an appearance.

Fungi spores love to take root in damp, dark places. When mold makes an appearance on interior walls or on the siding of your house it’s typically an indication that water from the gutters has infiltrated someplace where it doesn’t evaporate easily. Mold is a living organism – health issues aside, mold or mildew can damage soffit, fascia, siding, and interior walls and ceilings.

Solution: Mix one part bleach to three parts water and a small amount of mild liquid detergent. Apply it to the affected area with a soft bristle brush. Take standard safety precautions (goggles, gloves, etc). When mold growth is extensive or is hard to reach hire a professional to remove it for you.