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Some parts of your home can fade into the background as part of the overall picture. As long as everything is in good working order, it’s easy to overlook your shutters, porch steps or gutters. But when something goes wrong, those parts of your home are thrown into focus—and not in a positive way. Determine whether it’s time to replace your home’s gutters with these seven easy-to-spot signs.
It may already be time for you to consider replacement even if none of the signs below are apparent. We recommend giving your gutters a good look at least once a year for seasonal damage if there is no clear indication of a problem. Beyond that, with regular care and maintenance, your gutters should last about 20 years before replacement becomes necessary.
If you’re unsure how long it’s been since your gutters were replaced or have noticed any of the following signs, there’s a good chance that replacement is your best option.
Any visible cracks in your gutters mean water and debris are escaping, rendering your gutters pretty pointless. There may be more cracks you aren’t seeing, though. Large cracks will be visible even on dry days, but you’ll be able to see smaller ones as well if you take a good look at your gutters when it’s raining.
At the point where two sections of gutters meet, the seams should hold up strong. However, due to age or wear and tear, seams may experience stress, leading to cracks and gutter separation. Both of these outcomes are less than ideal for inside and outside your home, so if your gutters aren’t quite aligned, it’s time to consider replacement.
If your exterior siding is painted and you notice paint bubbles or peeling around or under your gutters, that’s a sign your gutters have failed. This is an immediate sign for replacement—water damage to that level indicates a significant leak.
A step beyond peeling paint, rot below your gutters is a warning sign that needs to be heeded as soon as possible. When gutters have failed for long enough with significant leaks, your home’s exterior elements like window or door frames or drywall can rot, meaning you’ll need to replace more than just your gutters.
When gutters are put in, careful thought is given to where the excess water and debris will divert away from your home. If mildew is setting in near or in your gutters, that means the water isn’t draining properly. Mildew is more than an aesthetic concern: It can also cause health problems over time. Gutter replacement is essential if your gutters are having mildew problems.
When gutters sag or pull away from your house, that’s a sign there’s too much weight being handled by the gutters. When this occurs, it means your gutters aren’t draining properly. If it’s gotten to the point that the gutters are moving away from your home, it’s likely replacement will be needed to ensure your home is protected from water damage.
Just as improperly maintained gutters can lead to poor drainage, rust in gutters can lead to leaks and eventually holes. Rust occurs when water has pooled inside the gutters for a significant period of time. Light rust can be cleared away easily, but heavy rust that leads to holes is past the point of repair.