Not-So-Obvious Signs Of Leaking Gutters
As a homeowner, you shouldn't wait until your gutters are actually leaking to take action. If you pay keen attention to the gutters, you will pick up on some telltale signs of an impending leak before they actually start leaking. Here are some of the signs to watch out for:
Most gutters are made from metal, which means they are prone to rust. Over time, the rusted area weakens and may even develop holes. Rust can also lead to leaks by weakening the seams and allowing water to seep through. Therefore, whenever you notice a rusty gutter, have it fixed (by replacing the rusted area or using roofing cement to patch up the holes) before it starts leaking. Prevent your gutters from rusting by keeping them clean; debris in the gutters encourages moisture accumulation, which accelerates rust formation.
When your gutters start sagging, they pull away from the house and lose their shapes. This interferes with the normal flow of water within the gutters. For example, sagging may cause water to start flowing over the sides of the gutter instead of flowing along the gutter. Sagging may also encourage water to stand instead of flowing as intended, which increases the risk of rust and leaks as described above. Lastly, sagging gutters may also weaken at the seams and start leaking. Prevent sagging gutters by preventing debris accumulation and using strong and properly-spaced fasteners.
Anything that blocks the gutters will soon cause them to leak. Common causes of gutter blockages include debris from the roof, windblown debris, damaged and dislodged wire strainer (the strainer is meant to trap debris in the water), toys thrown by kids, and many other things. The blockages cause water leaks in different ways. For example, they may cause water to stand in the gutters, which will lead to rusting and leakages. The debris may also block the path of flowing water, causing it to fall over the sides instead of flowing into the downspouts. In some cases, the weight of the debris may pull the gutters away from the house and cause leakages as described above. Fortunately, preventing blockages is as simple as regularly cleaning the gutters and removing the obstructions.
As you can see, you don't have to wait for your gutters to start leaking to take action; the signs are there to help you prevent the leaks from happening. Don't despair, however, if your gutters are already leaking; consult a roofing contractor for a professional fix.