Gutters are important because – despite being simple and inexpensive – they protect valuable home assets, such as the roof, foundation and windows. Taking care of and cleaning gutters is an easy way to prevent your home from major damages.
And it’s much simpler than you might think.
Identifying a leak in your gutters early can protect the entire home. Below, we’ve provided a few indicators that you can be on the lookout for (without calling a roofer) to see if you have a gutter leaking.
How to Identify a Leaking Gutter
There are several signs that point to leaking gutters, even if you don’t see water dripping. You can do an inspection from the ground to decide if the signs of a gutter leak are present.
Here are some things to look for:
Obvious Flaws – When gutters begin to pull away from the house, it causes stress on the fasteners. Cracks can be the result of poor installation, poor quality materials, damage or general wear and tear. Cracks in the gutter or seeing any section of them pulling away from the roofing may not be causing a leak yet, but these things will ultimately result in issues. Having these defects fixed is affordable than replacing gutters or any of the possible damages a leak can lead to.
Pooling Water – If water is puddling around your home, it’s a possible sign that a gutter leak is present. You should also check pipes, water spigots and any other water source that is close to your home, just in case.
Pooling water around your house can be especially bad for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and can cause your windows to leak.
Dripping – One of the most visible signs of gutter leaks is a drip, or several of them.
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 will occur if a fastener has become loose (see the next item below).
Visible Fasteners – Finding nails and screws wiggling 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 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 could also be important to seal the hole so no more water can escape from around the screw or the nail, even after it is tightened again. You can purchase this sealant, or let a gutter repair company put it on.
Water Stains or Rust – Water leaves behind evidence, especially when it is constantly or frequently present. Darker water stains will appear because dirt and other debris adhere to the moist surface better than on a dry one.
Rust is the product of 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 repaired, but if your gutters are rusty, they will definitely have to be repaired or be replaced.
Unexplained Home Damage – If there hasn’t recently been a severe storm, and you haven’t had a limb fall on top of your roof, but you’re starting to see paint flaking, cracking in the foundation around the downspouts or walkways, decaying wood on your patio or deck, or moldy window sills, you might have leaking gutters.
These are all indications that water has been leaking from somewhere it shouldn’t be. They also go hand in hand with aging building materials, so all of these factors need to be considered when inspecting gutters for leaks.
Other gutter issues…
Not all gutter issues lead to home repairs. If you see these gutter issues, a gutter leak may not be the problem.
Rain Overflow – This issue is usually an easy fix. It’s likely not a leak, but a clog that should be removed. You can do this yourself or hire a Knoxville gutter cleaning company – or even a general handyman – to clean them out.
Animal Nests – A small bird, squirrel, chipmunk can build a nest in your rain gutters or in your downspout, which will also cause overflow. Once the nest has been there for a little while, you will start to see some of the above signs of leaks – 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 strong roots that can destroy aluminum gutters before you even know it.
Professional Gutter Repair
Any of these easy-to-see signs indicate there are problems with your rain 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 when a professional gutter service in Knoxville can be of great help. They can determine if gutter replacement is required or if you can get by with repairs to extend the life of your gutters. Sometimes, basic gutter cleaning is all that’s needed.
Homeowners can decide to do basic gutter care, such as gutter cleaning, themselves. Although it can be time consuming and dangerous, they are willing to complete the chore 1-2 times each year to save some money.
However, anything beyond basic gutter cleaning is best left to the professionals.
Start by finding a gutter specialist with good customer reviews like Knoxville Gutters Plus. Then let us do an inspection to accurately diagnose the issue. We offer free inspections for new customers.
If there are any repairs to be made, or if we believe that it’s time to install new gutters, you can trust us to get the job done. Our gutter repair service will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!