Gutters protect a home from water damage at the foundation by directing water away from the base of the house, preventing it from pooling. Pooled water can cause mold and mildew. It can also cause cracks in the foundation, which compromises the structural integrity of a home. Even if gutters are installed, they may not have been installed correctly. A poorly installed gutter system can be worse than no system at all. There are three main things a homeowner should look for to verify that the gutters on their home are installed correctly.
The type of gutters installed should be chosen carefully. Industry professionals should be consulted to help choose the right material for the job. The pitch, size of a roof and shingle size all go into determining the right gutter system for a home. If the gutter system is too small or does not drain quickly enough, water will pour over the sides of the gutters, rendering them useless. Styles aren't limited to certain sizes either. A homeowner should be able to find a gutter system to his or her tastes in a variety of sizes. Research is a homeowners best friend.
Gutters appear to be hung on the house in a perfectly straight line. This is an illusion, however. All gutters should be installed so that they are pitched slightly towards the downspout. This allows water that drains into the gutter to continue draining towards the ground and away from the house. Gutters that are improperly pitched allow debris to collect in between downspouts. This causes clogs and water overflow. Gutters should be installed to keep water flowing in a downward direction. Gutters pitched incorrectly will require more maintenance. Fixing this problem can be as easy as installing an additional downspout. Consulting with a gutter specialist will help determine the right course.
Improper gutter placement is the third most common problem in home gutter installations. Gutters must be a few inches below the roof line. If the edge of the roof rests in the water in the gutter during storms, water will wick up into the shingles, causing them to swell, throwing the shingles on top out of alignment. This causes leaks. Worse, the water that should have been carried away by the gutter is now trapped within the lowest layer of shingles and can cause the underlying roof system to grow mold or rot.
If a homeowner notices any of these problems, a professional should be consulted. The sooner these problems are addressed, the better. A quality, properly installed gutter system should last for many years and add ongoing protection to a home.