Gutters play an important role in protecting your home from the elements. They work by directing water away from your house, keeping water from leaking inside through the foundation, windows, doors, or the exterior walls of your house. Cleaning them out regularly can help to make them last longer.

However, eventually your gutters will need to be replaced. If you wait too long to replace your gutters, there could be much more expensive damage to your house as well. So what are the signs you should look for?

Cracks in the Gutters

If the gutters have any cracks, holes, or splits in them, that’s a sign it’s time to replace your gutters. Cracks in your gutters render the gutters relatively worthless when it rains. Water will leak through those cracks or holes and drip directly onto the foundations below. Even if the cracks are small, water will gradually enlarge them.

Water or Mildew Near the Foundations

If you see water pooling near your foundations, then the gutters aren’t directing the water away from the house as they should. Even if there’s no water, mildew and mold are signs of dampness and also indicate the presence of water. Check your gutters. There may be just a clog that needs to be cleared out, but there may be cracks or other damage that means the gutters need to be replaced.

Flooding in the Basement

If your basement floods during wet weather, you should definitely replace your gutters. Water may be getting into the basement in the first place because the gutters aren’t properly directing the water away from your foundations. Even if it’s not the only reason for the flood, it’s a good idea to eliminate the gutters as a factor if you’re already paying to repair damage to your basement.

The Gutters are Rusting

Gutters are often made of metal, which can rust. If you notice rust or orange flecks (the beginning stages of rust) on your gutters, then it’s time to look into replacing your gutters. Your gutters won’t be able to protect your house as well, so if rust is widespread, it’s time to think about replacing them.

Rusted gutters with holes and cracks on an old house

Exterior Wall Paint Is Peeling

If the paint on your exterior walls is peeling, then that indicates the presence of water. Your gutters may not be directing the water away from your house as they should. You should also look for any water damage around the gutters. It’s easier to see water damage and peeling paint on a dry, sunny day.

The Gutters Are Sagging

If your gutters are sagging, they’re not going to be able to keep as much water in. Water will spill out the sides of the gutters rather than flowing through them to the downspout to be directed away from the house.

Water overflowing a sagging gutter in a rainstorm

Eroded Landscaping

Even if you don’t see water pooling near your foundations, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. If your landscaping is eroded, then it’s most likely from water that’s too close to your house. It may be leaking or dripping from your gutters. You put a lot of effort and money into your landscaping, so it’s worth it to replace your gutters so they don’t ruin all of your hard work.

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