Your rain gutters are the second line of defense after your roof for preventing water from entering your home. It is therefore important to keep them functioning to their fullest capacity. Many homeowners don't even think to look up at their rain gutters until a problem occurs.
However, water damage will often have already occurred by the time visible symptoms present themselves. It's best to be proactive and take care of your rain gutters proactively so they can take care of you and your family.
Potential Causes of Gutter Failure
There are multiple conditions that may cause rain gutters to fail to remove water from your roof, allowing water to accumulate and eventually enter your home.
Gutters receive all of the rainwater runoff from your roof and direct it away away from your home. Unfortunately, they also gather dirt, leaves, and other materials, which will eventually clog the gutters and downspouts if they accumulate beyond the gutters' capacity to accommodate them.
A clogged gutter will become heavier as water is retained through blocked downspouts. The weight of the gutter will then begin to stress the fascia board to which it is connected, causing the gutter to gradually pull away from the exterior wall.
Subsequent rains will cause the gutters to overflow, allowing water to access the exterior wall. This can eventually lead to degradation of the wall and create a pathway for water to enter the home.
Improperly Pitched Gutters
Gutters must be pitched, or slanted, in a downward slope in the direction of the downspouts through which the water will travel to the ground. A gutter that is pitched incorrectly will cause water to pool at the end of the gutter that is farthest from the downspout.
This interferes with the efficacy of the gutter in removing water and also causes the affected end of the gutter to become heavier. This can lead to the same issues as clogged gutters.
Inefficient Downspout Placement
The positioning of the downspouts may also cause gutters to back up and retain water. The number of downspouts must be sufficient to handle the amount of runoff generated by the surface areas of the roof, and they must be installed with proper spacing for maximum efficiency.
There are various signs of potential gutter issues. You may notice water pouring over the edge of your gutters during a heavy downpour of rain, or large growths of icicles hanging from the gutters in the colder winter season. There may even be small plants growing in gutters with significant amounts of accumulated dirt and leaves.
Rain water that enters your home can cause significant structural damage as well as the growth of mold, which can cause serious health issues for the very young, elderly, or occupants with compromised immune system.
Contact a professional gutter service like Hogan Roofing at the first indications of trouble with your gutters to avoid more hazardous problems for your home and family in the future.