Gutters are important because – despite being simple and relatively inexpensive – they protect more valuable home investments, such as the roof, foundation and windows. Maintaining and cleaning gutters is an easy way to prevent your home from major damages.
And it’s a lot easier than you probably think.
Identifying a leak in your gutters early can protect an entire home. In this blog post, we’ve listed a few signs that you can look for (without calling a roofer) to determine if you have a gutter leaking.
How to Identify a Gutter Leak
There are many signs that suggest a leaking gutter, even if you don’t actually see water dripping. You can do an inspection from the lawn to determine if the signs of a leaking gutter are present.
Here are some things to look for:
Visible Flaws – When the gutters pull away from the home, it stresses the connectors. Cracks can be the result of faulty installation, poor quality materials, storm damage or age. Cracks in the gutter channel or seeing any section of them pulling away from the roof may not cause a leak just yet, but these things will ultimately cause issues. Having these defects fixed is a lot more affordable than replacing gutters or any of the damages a leak can lead to.
Pooling Water – If water is pooling around your house, it’s a possible sign that a gutter leak is probably present. You should also check underground pipes, water spigots and any other water source that is near your house, just to be careful.
Pooling water around your home can be harmful for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and could cause windows to leak.
Drips – One of the most obvious 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 of the gutter and it isn’t overflowing, there is an unseen leak somewhere. These tiny leaks can occur if a fastener has gotten loose (see the next item on our list).
Visible Fasteners – Seeing nails and screws wiggling their way out of the rain gutters likely means a leak is going to begin soon, if it hasn’t already. The area where the nail or screw fits in starts to become a new area where water can escape if the fastener starts to fall out.
Sometimes the answer is as easy as tightening them, but it can also be important to seal the hole so no more water can leak from around the screw or nail, even after it is back in place. You can buy this sealant, or let a gutter repair company put it on.
Water Stains or Rust – Moisture leaves behind evidence, especially when it is consistently or frequently present. Darker water stains will appear because dirt and other materials adhere to the wet surface better than it would a dry one.
Rust is the result of nearly constant moisture, and the more extreme sign you’ll see after you see water stains. Most water stains on gutters can be cleaned away and the gutters fixed, but if the gutters are rusty, they definitely need to be repaired or be replaced.
Unexplained Home Damage – If there hasn’t been a severe storm, and you haven’t had a tree limb fall on top of your roof, but you’re starting to see paint flaking, cracking in the foundation or walkways, decaying wood on your porch or deck, or mold on your window sills, you might have a gutter leak.
These are all indications that water has been leaking from a place it shouldn’t be. They also go hand in hand with older building materials, so all factors should be considered when inspecting gutters for leaks.
Other gutter issues…
Not every gutter issue leads to home repairs. If you see these common gutter issues, a gutter leak may not be the problem.
Rain Overflow – This one is a pretty easy fix. It’s likely not a leak, but a clog that needs to be removed. You can do this or hire a Napa gutter cleaning service – even a general handyman – to clean them out.
Animal Nests – A small bird, squirrel, chipmunk or other pest can build a nest in your rain gutters or in your downspout, which can also cause overflow. Once the nest has been there awhile, 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 it.
Trees & Plants – A tree can easily take root in your rain gutter with minimal debris present. While it may be little now, a tree sapling will sprout really strong roots that can damage aluminum gutters before you even know it.
Professional Gutter Repair
Any of these visible signs mean there are problems with your gutter that need to be addressed right away. By quickly checking your gutters and downspouts, you can tell if there’s a cause for concern.
This is where a professional gutter service in Napa can be helpful. They can distinguish whether gutter replacement is necessary or if you can get by with repairs to lengthen the lifetime of your home’s gutters. Sometimes, basic gutter cleaning is all that’s needed.
Some homeowners decide to do simple gutter care and maintenance, like gutter cleaning, themselves. Although it it can be time consuming and sometimes dangerous, they are eager to complete the project 1-2 times a year to save some money.
However, anything beyond gutter cleaning should be left to the professionals.
Start by finding a gutter service with good customer reviews like Nifty Napa Gutters. Then let us do a full inspection to accurately determine the problem. We offer free inspections for new customers.
If there are any repairs to be made, or if we feel that it’s time to install new gutters, you can count on us to get the job done right. Our gutter repair service will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!