Gutters are really important because – while they are simple and inexpensive – they protect valuable home components, such as the roof, foundation and windows. Maintaining and cleaning rain gutters is an easy way to help prevent your home from major damages.
And it’s a lot simpler than you might think.
Identifying a gutter leak early can protect the entire home. In this blog post, we’ve listed a few signs that you can be on the lookout for (without hiring a roof specialist) to see if there is a leak in your gutters.
How to Identify a Leaking Gutter
There are many signs that suggest a gutter leak, even if you don’t actually see water dripping. You can do a visual inspection from the safety of your lawn to determine if the signs of a gutter leak are present.
Here are some things to look for:
Visible Flaws – When the gutters pull away from the house, it causes stress on the fasteners. Cracks can be caused by faulty installation, poor quality materials, storm damage or general wear and tear. Cracks in the gutter channel or seeing any part of them pulling away from the house might not be causing a leak just yet, but will ultimately cause problems. Having these defects repaired is affordable than installing new gutters or any of the damages a leak can cause.
Pooling – If rain is pooling around your home, it’s a possible sign that a gutter leak is probably present. But you should also check underground pipes, water spigots and any other water source that is near your house, just to be sure.
Pooling water by your home can be really bad for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and could cause your windows to leak.
Dripping – One of the more noticeable signs of a leaking gutter is a drip, or several drips.
A drip from your rain gutter could indicate a clog, but if it’s coming from the bottom and it isn’t a big overflow, there is a hidden leak somewhere. These minor leaks can happen if a fastener has become loose (see the next item on our list).
Visible Fasteners – Finding nails and screws working their way out of the gutters likely means a leak will start soon, if it hasn’t already. The area where the nail or screw fits becomes a new area where water can escape if the fastener starts to fall out.
Sometimes the solution is as simple as refastening them, but it might also be necessary to seal the hole so no water can leak from the edge of the screw or the nail, even after it is back in place. You can buy this type of sealant, or let a gutter repair company put it on.
Water Stains or Rust – Moisture leaves behind evidence, especially if it is constantly or frequently present. Darker water stains appear because dirt and other materials adhere to the wet surface better than it would a dry one.
Rust is the product of nearly constant moisture, and the more extreme sign you’ll notice after water stains. water stains can be cleaned and the gutters can be repaired, but if your gutters are rusty, they definitely have to be repaired or replaced.
Unexplained Home Damage – If there hasn’t been a storm, and you haven’t had a tree limb fall on top of your roof, but you’re starting to notice paint flaking, cracking in the foundation or walkways, decaying wood on your porch or deck, or moldy window sills, you could have leaking gutters.
These are all signs that water has been leaking from a place it shouldn’t. They also are related to aging building materials, so all factors need to be taken into account when inspecting gutters for leaks.
Other gutter issues…
Not every gutter issue leads to major repairs. If you see these common gutter issues, a gutter leak might not be the problem.
Rain Overflow – This issue is a pretty easy fix. It’s likely not a leak, but a clog that should be removed. You can do this yourself or hire a Buffalo Grove gutter cleaning company – or even a general handyman – to clean them out.
Animal Nests – A small bird, squirrel, chipmunk or other pest can build a nest in your gutters or downspout, which can also cause overflow. Once the nest has been there for a little while, you will start seeing some of the above signs of a leak in a gutter – like rust or pooling – if you don’t get rid of the nest.
Trees & Plants – A tree can easily take root in your gutter with little debris present. While it may be small now, a tree sapling will sprout really strong roots that can destroy aluminum gutters before you know it.
Professional Gutter Repair
Any of these visible signs mean there are issues with your gutter that must be addressed immediately. By checking all of your gutters and downspouts, you can see if there’s a cause for concern.
This is where a gutter service in Buffalo Grove can be of great help. They can distinguish if gutter replacement is necessary or if you can get by with repairs to lengthen the life of your home’s gutters. Sometimes, gutter cleaning is the only thing that’s needed.
Some homeowners choose to do basic gutter care, like gutter cleaning, on their own. Although it it can be time consuming and somewhat dangerous, they are eager to take on the project a couple of times each year to save a little money.
However, any job beyond gutter cleaning is best left to the professionals.
Start by hiring a gutter service with excellent customer reviews like Buffalo Grove Gutters. Then let us do a full inspection to accurately determine the problem. We provide free inspections for new customers.
If there are gutter repairs to be made, or if we feel that it’s time for gutter replacement, you can count on us to get the job done. Our gutter repair service will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!