What Do a House’s Gutters Say About the Property?

There’s a long checklist of things to look for when you’re searching for your next home. Making sure the roof is in good condition is one of the most important, but it’s also the easiest to overlook because many of the potential problems are out of sight. But when you walk up to a property, one thing you can easily check for is the condition of the house’s gutters. Not only are they a crucial element for keeping your property in good condition, the state of the gutters can tell you a lot about the property.

What can you learn about a house from its gutters?

Gutters come in a lot of shapes and sizes. If you see newly installed gutters, that might be a perk. But it could also be a sign of a quick installation job because the property’s previous gutters were broken down or didn’t have any gutters in the first place. Check the soil around the foundation for signs of shifting, trenches dug out by falling water, or any signs of foundation problems.

If the house has gutters that have a bit of wear and tear, that’s almost better than new gutters. It means they’ve been on the house for a while and that the foundation has probably been relatively protected from the potentially unstable soil. Check for rust spots, clogs, and weak supports, and use any negatives during your negotiations. Haggling down a house’s price because of old gutters and then replacing them can save you hundreds of dollars over looking for a house with new gutters already installed.

If the house doesn’t have any gutters at all, the house might still be okay. You’ll certainly want to bring it up during any price negotiations. You should also check the foundation and roof interior, though these are two steps you’ll want to take regardless of the conditions of the gutters. Missing gutters may be a sign of an in-progress project the homeowners gave up on, so look for holes near the fascia where supports should be. Also check the eaves inside the attic. If the house had ice dams that clogged and cracked old gutters, you’ll be able to see the water damage from the inside.

Why should installing or replacing gutters be your first step in a new house?

If you investigated the conditions behind a house’s gutters and decided the house was worth buying, make sure you don’t put off making improvements. Heavy rainfall can start to erode away valuable soil and cause problems. Even if it seems like gutters should be at the bottom of your renovation or move-in list, find a contractor and get them installed because:

Rainfall can unevenly shift the soil and your foundation.

Most foundation problems aren’t caused in a single day, but they can develop faster than most people think. If rain can fall down your roof and start digging into the soil a foot or less away from your foundation, the slab can be put under too much strain and crack. Not only does this make your house dangerous over time, foundation problems are rarely covered by house insurance and are expensive to fix. A damaged foundation also means your basement is far more susceptible to flooding.

Water can even wear away your driveway.

If your roof slopes down over your garage, sheets of water will hit a narrow band on your driveway. This will start to erode away the concrete, and it can start to crack or tilt. Eventually, enough concrete will wear away so there’s a small dip near your garage door, and that means water can seep into your garage.

The best way to protect your new house is by directing the water away from it. Go to First Impression Exteriors for the right gutters and downspouts to keep water away from your foundation line and driveway.