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As a homeowner, you probably know that you’ll need to replace your roof every 30 years or so.

But what about your gutters? You might think of them as an extension of your roof, but they’re a separate system that lasts an average of 20 years.

This means you could need new gutters long before your roof ever springs a leak.

How do you know when to replace gutters? Here are 5 signs yours are in need of repair or replacement.

1. Splitting or Cracking

The most obvious sign of gutter damage is splitting or cracking. Even a small crack can render your home’s drainage system useless. Water and debris will seep through, potentially causing problems in your walls or foundation.

One small crack may not be a major emergency, but it will evolve and worsen over time. You may be able to repair minor damage, but large splits or cracks are a definite sign you need new gutters.

2. Mildew or Water Damage

Downspouts end away from your home’s foundation for a reason—to prevent water damage.

Accumulating moisture can damage your home’s walls, foundation, and basement. Over time, this can lead to mold and mildew, which is not only expensive to get rid of but also hazardous to your health.

Check your foundation for signs of:

  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Puddles
  • Discoloration
  • Algae growth

If you find any of these culprits, a faulty gutter system is probably to blame.

3. Peeling Paint

Another sign of hidden water damage is any changes to your home’s exterior paint.

Looks for areas of peeling, cracking, or bubbling around the siding of your house. If you find an area where the paint is compromised, inspect the nearest gutters for signs of damage.

If your gutters are painted, the same rules apply. Peeling or bubbling along your gutter could signal an underlying problem even if there’s no discernable crack (yet).

4. Visible Sagging

Gutters that aren’t functioning correctly may begin to sag, buckle, and pull away from the house.

As water and other debris collect, the stress of the weight is more than the gutters can handle. The heavier it gets, the harder it is for the gutters to stay in the correct position.

Pay special attention to the seams where two horizontal pieces connect, as these areas are especially prone to sagging.

5. Rust or Orange Discoloration

A final indication you need new gutters is if you spot rust or other orange areas on your home’s exterior.

Galvanized steel gutters have a protective coating that can wear off over time. If this happens, it can result in orange coloring along the gutters or the siding.

The decision to repair or replace your gutters is up to you, but the important thing is not to delay. Don’t let a minor problem today become a larger problem tomorrow!

Does Your Home Need New Gutters?

So, how do your gutters measure up?

Jot down the 5 items on this list and take it with you for reference. Pick a dry, sunny day to make a thorough inspection of your home’s exterior.

If you see one or more of these signs, new gutters are in your future.

Don’t wait for the situation to get worse! Give us a call at 410-799-1600 or click here to learn more about our roofing services.