Complete Guide to Inspecting Gutters for Structural Damage
An unsung hero that keeps your home in good condition is your gutters. Because they direct water away from your home, your gutters serve a crucial role in preventing mold, mildew, and other water damage that might lead to bigger problems. For example, without gutters, falling water might erode the soil around your home’s foundation and create costly structural issues.
Just like other parts of your home, your gutters can become damaged from any number of reasons, including a Colorado hail storm, pests, mistreatment (e.g., hanging holiday lights incorrectly), and more.
Each year, you should perform an inspection to determine if you have gutter damage. You can do so during your normal gutter cleaning, or you can leave it to the professionals by scheduling a gutter inspection near you.
Understand Why Your Gutters May Be Damaged
Aside from expected issues like a hail storm in Denver or general wear and tear as your gutters age, there are other factors that contribute to the health of your gutters.
First of all, the location of your home contributes a great deal to the lifespan of your gutters. In Colorado, it’s common for a home to endure hail storm damage to the roof that requires specific hail storm restoration. You must also be aware of pooling water and how freezing conditions can damage your gutters and other parts of your home.
Aside from hail and ice, you should also pay attention to other weather events like strong winds, the accumulation of heavy snow (which can weigh on your gutters and pull them away from your roof), and heavy rainfall. If your gutters are clogged with sticks, leaves, mud, or the occasional tennis ball, you risk water pooling in your gutters, which can overflow and create other problems.
Fortunately, there have been significant improvements to gutter materials in recent years. Here are some various types of gutters:
- K-Style: These are common types of gutters for their decorative appearance and how easy they are to work with. However, they can be difficult to clean.
- Half-Round: Just as they sound, half-round gutters are shaped like half a circle and provide a round aesthetic appearance. They are commonly found on old or historic homes.
- Fascia: Fascia gutters are made from a single piece of aluminum that’s custom-made for your home. Because of this custom approach, they can be expensive to install and are not DIY.
- Box-Style: These gutters are most commonly found on industrial or commercial buildings, as they’re purpose-built to handle heavy amounts of water. Instead of being attached to your fascia boards, box-style gutters have a high back section that’s tucked underneath your shingles (meaning they need to be installed professionally during your home’s construction).
The materials most commonly used for gutters are:
- Galvanized Steel
Vinyl and aluminum gutters are by far the most common on homes, but their lifespan of 10 to 20 years isn’t as long as other types. Zinc gutters, for example, have been known to last a whopping 80 years! With that said, there have been improvements to gutter materials, like heavier-gauge aluminum, which can result in a longer lifespan than typical aluminum gutters. Storm damage also impacts the lifespan of your gutters, and our Colorado hail season can dent and damage gutters. After a hail storm, it’s a good idea to have your gutters inspected.
How to Inspect Your Gutters for Structural Damage
There are numerous signs of gutter damage, and here’s how to get started with your inspection.
1. Check Corners & Seams
The corners and seams of your gutter system is the most common place for leaks to appear. Usually this is due to clogging or missing caulking.
2. Look for Dents, Cracks, and Other Damage
Hail storms can wreak havoc on your gutters as well as other parts of your home. If you see dents or cracks anywhere on your gutters or downspouts, you should have them inspected and consider replacement.
3. Watch Where Water Is Pooling
Look around your yard, driveway, patio, etc. to see if you have any pooling water. If it’s accumulating in any spot, it’s likely because your gutters aren’t properly diverting water away from your home.
4. Is Water Overflowing Your Gutters?
While it’s raining, you can take a look at how the water is flowing through your gutters. If it’s falling behind your gutters, it means either your roof’s shingles are too short, or your drip edge is missing. Similarly, if your gutters appear to be overflowing (or not draining well after the rain stops), you most likely have a clog and need to safely clean your gutters.
5. Don’t Forget About Downspouts
Your downspouts are a key component to your gutters working properly. Check them for dents, cracks, clogging and other damage.
Get Help With Your Gutters
Maintaining your gutters is an important part of maintaining your home. A good time to check your gutters for damage is when you perform your routine cleaning process in the fall and spring, and after any storms.
If you need help inspecting your gutters, get in touch with J&K Roofing. Our team is experienced, knowledgeable, and available to help you make sure your gutters and roof are in good shape and functioning properly. We’re certified in all the materials we work with, including those listed in this article, and we stay updated on the latest advancements in roofing and gutter materials.
Click here or give us a call at 303-425-7531.