Gutters filled with wet leaves and debris while it's raining outside

Gutters provide a clean-looking edge around your roofline, but their purpose is more than decorative. Their importance is easy to overlook --- if they are functioning properly. But when a gutter is blocked or leaking, you'll quickly notice its significance in keeping your home intact and free of water damage.

Graves Brothers Home Improvement has put together a list of six indicators that something may be wrong with your gutters. Keep your eye out for these signs and check your gutters regularly to ensure they are doing their job properly.

What Do Gutters Do?

They seem simple, but gutters are actually a very critical component of your home. Gutters guide rain and melted snow/ice away from your house. By keeping water away from your home's foundation, you reduce the risk of basement leaks and structural problems.

It is estimated that a 1,000 square-foot roof sees over 620 gallons of runoff during a storm that drops one inch of rain. Your roof and gutter system work together to keep that water out of your house where it can cause wood rot, mold, leaks, stains, and structural damage.

During the winter, clogged gutters can lead to ice dams. Ice dams have the potential to do a lot of damage to your home. They can destroy your roof and cause interior damage due to water entering your home.

Signs Your Gutters Are Failing

1. There's a Bad Odor

When leaves and other natural debris fill your gutters, it decays, leaving you with a nasty smell. These rotten leaves may lead to birds, mice, squirrels, and other unwanted pests nesting in your gutters, causing further blockage and adding to the odor with their waste.

2. Water Spilling Over

A sure sign of a clogged gutter is your very own waterfall. An obstruction in the gutter forces water over the side that can puddle and leak into your basement.

3. Sagging

Gutters are designed to handle flowing water. When the weight of debris, shingle granules, pine needles, leaves, and nests is added, your gutters can bend, sag, and even pull away from your home. Any amount of bending and sagging will reduce the efficiency of the gutters, even if they are cleared of debris.

4. Siding Stains

Stains on your home's siding may be a sign of standing water in your gutters. Stagnant water can cause damage to the fascia boards behind the gutters as well as the shingles on your roof.

5. Plant Growth

Along with leaves and twigs, seeds can end up in your gutter system. With enough dirt and debris accumulation, these seeds can begin to sprout. Have you ever looked at someone's gutter and seen what appears to be a garden growing? That is a sure sign that it's time for a cleaning.

6. You Can't Remember When You Last Cleaned

Your gutters should be cleaned at least once every season to ensure the system is working properly. If you can't remember when you did it last, it's probably time to pull out the ladder.

Protect Your Gutters --- and Your Home

One way to be sure your gutters are clear and functioning correctly is to install a protection system. We use the Leaf Relief system, which we can apply over your existing gutters or with new gutters. These gutter guards are superior to DIY screen guards, don't require cleaning, and carry a 25-year warranty.

Are you ready to make your gutters maintenance-free? Call Graves Brothers Home Improvement at 585-288-3390 today!