How often should you replace your home's gutters?

Man installing gutter on house

Gutters are not just nice to have. They are imperative to the structural integrity of your house. They help to steer water away from the exterior of your home to prevent any type of water damage. On average, aluminum and steel gutters last an average of 20 years. Vinyl can last up to 25 years. Copper can last up to 50 years. If you care for your gutters regularly, they can last longer. 

How do I know if my gutters need to be replaced?

Gutter damage signs vary based on the material the gutters are made from. Materials like vinyl often develop cracks due to exposure to heat or cold.

Aluminum and steel seamed gutters tend to separate at the seams. Open seams leak, collect leaves and debris and can clog. You should replace gutters with open seams.

You should also watch your siding and landscaping. If you see a lot of dirt or algae running down your siding, your gutters are leaking and need replacement. Similarly, large pits in your garden beds mean the gutters are leaking.

Signs of Bad Gutters

  1. Cracks on the Surface of Gutters

If you see cracks on the surface of the gutters, replace them quickly. Delaying their replacement will cause the cracks to grow into fractures, leading to leakage from the gutters, which can cause more significant problems and further damage the drainage system.

  1. Rusted Gutters 

Rust can appear on certain types of gutters. This is typically due to excessive rainfalls or gutter clogging. Rust is a good indicator that it is time to install new gutters. If you don't replace your gutters, the rusted metal will shatter and cause more significant problems.

  1. Gutter Overflow

Gutters that overflow despite the downspout spitting out water is a sign that they are likely too narrow for your home and should be replaced with a larger one. This could also mean poorly installed, poorly designed, or improperly sloped gutters.

  1. Screws and Nails on the ground

The screws and nails holding the gutters in place can wear down, become loose, and fall to the ground. If you start finding screws and nails around your house near the gutters, your gutters are damaged and need to be replaced.

  1. Peeling Paint on Gutters

One of the apparent signs of water leakage is peeling paint. You should immediately act when you see paint peeling on the gutter's surface.

  1. Basement Moisture

Flooding and moisture in your basement might not seem like a consequence of faulty gutters, but it might be the case. Damage to gutters and downspouts can cause water leakage, and that leakage can seep into the basement or the foundations of the house. In this case, it is better to immediately fix the problem by replacing the gutters instead of repairing the basement and foundations, which is very costly and time-consuming. 

How to Maintain Your Gutters

Keeping your gutters clean is the best way to maintain and extend their life. You or a contractor can install guards to keep leaves and debris out of your gutters. You should call a professional if your gutters clog or if you notice holes, cracks, or separating seams. If you address the problems early, you may be able to repair them to extend the life of your gutters.

Gutters deteriorate faster if they become clogged. This weighs the gutter and stresses the material and fasteners, pulling away from your home. It also holds moisture against the gutter, increasing the corrosion rate.

You should make sure your gutters are pitched correctly. They should be pitched slightly towards the downspout. If you think your gutters may be improperly pitched, a gutter specialist can address the problem before it leads to clogs and the need for replacement.

Take good care of your gutters, which will help protect your home. But know when it's time to replace them for the best protection.