Water damage to the edge of your roof or the top of your home's siding is often caused by a gutter issue. Fixing any damages and keeping the gutters in good repair can help you avoid major water damage later.

Common Signs of Exterior Water Damage

Taking the time to look up and inspect your gutters and roof line will prevent most issues from becoming a real problem. Signs to watch for include:

  • Visible damage to the gutters—sagging, bending and broken gutters are a sure sign that trouble is brewing.
  • Erosion in the soil or turf below the gutters, along the dripline of the roof—this indicates the gutters aren't routing water to the downspouts properly.
  • Visible paint damage or moisture rot on the fascia boards or soffit of the roof.
  • Mold growing on the fascias or soffits.
  • Water damage or algae stains on the siding, behind the gutters. Moisture shouldn't be draining in this area if the gutters are in good repair.

Gutter Debris

Clogged gutters are the main cause of most water issues at the edge of the roof. Fortunately, you can usually clean them out yourself and avoid further damage.

Fall is the time to scoop leaves and fallen debris from your gutters. Make sure the downspouts are also clear of debris, because a clogged downspout will result in overflowing gutters. The gutters will also require cleaning in spring to remove winter debris.

If cleaning the gutters seems overwhelming, you can have leaf guards installed over the gutters. This keeps the leaves out so the gutters don't clog. You will still need to check periodically to make sure leaves aren't collecting on top of and clogging the guard.

Damaged Gutters—Prevent and Repair

If the gutters are already damaged, they will require repair or replacement. Sagging gutters or gutters that are no longer flush to the roof line do little to route moisture away from the house. Broken or cracked gutters can also pose a major problem.

A gutter repair technician such as Mr. Gutter can inspect the gutters to see if they need repair, or if replacement is a better option. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to first have the roof repaired before you can tend to the gutters.

Manage the Roof Damage

If damage has already occurred to the fascia boards or soffit, replacement may be necessary to get rid of the rot and mold issues. If you only see paint damage, and the wood doesn't feel soft, repainting may be the only repair necessary.

You can remove algae and mold stains by washing your siding and fascia boards with a solution of one part bleach and five parts water. This kills the mold and removes most stains. If you have wood siding, make sure to check for rot and to repaint if necessary.

Your gutters are an important barrier between your home and moisture damage. Take the time to keep them in good repair.