Gutters are the teeth of the house. When they start to go, everything else does to. (Or is it the feet?) Whatever the terrible analogy, healthy gutters are key to keeping your home healthy. They are designed to keep your home free from water damage. When they start to fail, the leaks can damage the fascia board, siding and, quickly, the foundation itself. Here’s what to look for to diagnose a vulnerable gutter system.  


Paint is peeling and/or there are signs of rust beginning. Gutter paint is designed to withstand moisture, but not continuous moisture or standing water. When the paint begins to peel or you notice red spots on the paint, it’s a sign the water isn’t flowing away naturally and something is wrong.  


Water marks below your gutters. Look at the grass and flower beds after a heavy rain and see if there are any marks in the earth or flattened grass or plants from where water poured directly over/through the gutter rather than being siphoned away appropriately into a downspout. Seeing signs of water where it shouldn’t be, is another indication of a failing gutter system.  


Gutters are sagging. Anytime your gutters are sagging it indicates sitting water or a clogged gutter pulling the gutter away from the house. It might be something as simple as a pile of leaves weighing it down, but you anytime you see this is an indication you need to keep a closer eye on the gutters.  


Cracks in the gutter or downspoutCracks occur most frequently during the winter, from sitting water melting and refreezing.  


In order to prevent problems, you should clean out your gutters every spring and fall at the least. But checking your gutters before a big rainstorm will make sure that there are no accidental leaks or damage that goes unnoticed.


Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21