Dealing With Clogged Gutters? Here’s everything you need to know

When the heavens open and the inevitable torrents come falling, gutters become the secondary protectors of your home, not only assisting the roof in collecting rain, but also directing these droplets on where to go.

I have compiled in this article, answers to your pressing questions about what you need to know to properly maintain and prolong the lifespan of your gutter.

Why does My Gutter Overflow?

When a gutter overflows, the first idea that might come to your mind is that of dead leaves that must have accumulated over the seasons without taking the time to remove them.

However, while this is a common cause of overflow gutters, it is not the only one.

Gutters Are Not The Correct Size

One of the main problems that cause roof water collection channels to overflow is because of something as simple as not being of adequate size. In other words, not all the gutters or all the downspouts have the same diameter.

So when installing gutters, your professional who does the work will have to mathematically decide on which diameter is most suitable for the roof.

To decide on a particular diameter for the rain gutters, you must take into account two aspects that will greatly affect the installation:

  • First, you have to know the deck surface from which the water will be drained. Since logically, the higher it is, the greater the amount of water that must be collected in the pipes.
  • On the other hand, it is essential to know the climate of the area as well as the liters per square meter that tend to fall at different times of the year.

In this way, the gutter professional will be able to cross both data and choose the size that is capable of managing rainwater in times of more rainfall. Therefore preventing the channels from overflowing.

A Bad Slope of the Storm Drainage System

Another factor that can cause an overflow of rainwater in your collection system is the bad inclination of the installation.

This will undoubtedly need a complete gutter repair: having to remove the ducts and putting all the elements back in place.

If the gutter is not sufficiently inclined, the water cannot drain towards the chute. Your gutter might then twist under the weight of the water and pour over the edge of the house.

In truth, this problem is rare, but it can occur if the person who carried out the installation of the system is not a professional or does not have experience.

Such mistakes are not frequent because anyone with knowledge in the sector of rain gutters knows that installations of this type must be done with a certain inclination towards the place where the corresponding downspout is located.

This makes it easier for the water to flow and drain without any problem.

However, if the inclination of the installation has been given to the opposite side, and the level of the roof has not been measured or has not been taken into account at all, this problem may appear.

Hence the importance of you always employing qualified personnel with extensive experience who can guarantee a correct installation of the gutters and downspouts.

How Do Gutters Get Clogged?

Another factor that could cause an overflow is a clog in the ducts.

It is quite common for water to overflow from some gutters due to an obstruction in the canal system.

That is, there is an unwanted accumulation of waste that does not let the water flow to the outside, which causes it to stagnate in the ducts and overflow if they get more water.

Objects like balls and balloons, toys (how they got there, we do not know), tools left on the roof, debris, nests can get stuck; but also, and this happens more often than you might think, dead animals such as birds or squirrels.

In this case, the solution is relatively simple but will require the intervention of a specialist in storm drainage systems.

The solution to this will see you have to perform a professional gutter cleaning to remove whatever is causing the clog and leave the ducts clean and free of debris.

Thus allowing them to function normally again.

Remember that to try to avoid obstructions there are accessories that you can place in your rain gutters such as grates or leaf guards (more on this below).

This will allow the collection of water from the roofs, but do not let the leaves of the trees or other elements fall into the interior of the ducts.

What Happens If Your Gutters Are Clogged?

Gutters often tend to fill with leaves and debris if they are not fitted with an effective gutter guard or cleaned frequently. Debris, therefore, accumulates there and causes obstructions.

When it rains, your water drainage will not function effectively if the gutter is blocked. Several signs can indicate that the water is not circulating well, not flowing at all inside the gutters, or that it is being poorly evacuated by the downspouts.

The following few signs may indicate the presence of clogs in your gutter:

Water overflows over the rim of the gutter

When it rains and the gutter is clogged, there is a good chance that it will eventually overflow if the water cannot flow effectively down the downspouts.

In this case, it is easy to notice that the gutter is clogged due to the overflowing water.

Water leaks from joints and elbows

When water collects in the gutter and cannot escape, it often tends to find its way into places with a small gap.

Leaks can then occur in joints, elbows, or other spaces which may be poorly sealed. You can thus see, during rainfall, that there is a leak which points to a clog problem.

The water is not evacuated by the downspouts

Often, obstructions interfere with the effectiveness of downspouts. Thus, during showers, we can easily see if the water is draining from them as it should.

Signs that the gutter is clogged when it’s not raining

Are you always away, or don’t you have time to monitor your gutter but still suspect a clogging problem?

Even when there are no showers, there are clear signs that the gutters are clogged and that they are having difficulty draining rainwater.

Several clues can lead to believe that the gutters are clogged, which contributes to the deterioration of their condition.

Damaged flower beds and eroded soil below gutters

Flower beds located under gutters that overflow due to obstructions end up being damaged. The soil in flower beds or under grass can also be eroded. This sign often indicates that the gutter above is clogged.

Paint peeling off the fascia board

When the gutter is blocked, water often tends to rise towards the roof. The paint on the fascia board then becomes damaged. It is therefore a sign of a clogged gutter and also a warning sign of water infiltration into the roof if the gutter is not cleaned.

Wet, dirty, or damaged coating below the gutters

When the gutters regularly overflow due to obstructions, the coating can end up suffering the consequences, because the water that falls from the gutters along the walls of the house dirties and damages it.

Gutters detached from the fascia board

With the weight of stagnant water in the gutter and the water rising to the fascia board and slowly rotting it, the gutter can eventually come loose from its anchor.

You can then notice, mainly in the case of gutters fixed with nails, that they are detached from the fascia board

What Damage Can A Leaking Gutter Cause?

  1. A leaking gutter can prevent significant water damage to the roof, siding, exterior cladding, floors, and foundations.
  2. Permanent exposure to extreme weather conditions can cause holes, cracks, water leaks, and corrosion to appear. These degradations prevent their proper functioning.
  3. Rust build-up can eat away at steel, while aluminum or copper gutters can be broken by tree branches or heavy precipitation.
  4. It can also cause deterioration of fittings and cause leaks and drips. Once damaged, gutters begin to sag, resulting in overflows.

Can A Clogged Gutter Cause A Roof Leak?

When the water that drains from your roof no longer drains normally, it finds another path. Water can start to flow on your walls and damage your facade in depth.

It can also attempt to enter the attic directly and flood your insulation: then water infiltration is guaranteed.

Do Gutter Screens Work?

Experts have not been able to unanimously determine that a butter screen is a panacea to solving the problem of clogging.

Its benefit is, however, without a doubt, clear to see. Significantly larger objects like animals, leaves, and tools that would otherwise have obstructed your drainage are protected by a gutter screen.

Will A Rain Chain Work Without A Gutter?

Although rain chains can entirely replace downspouts, they are not so effective without gutters, as this will heavily depend on the kind of roof in use.

by Brian Moore

Brian is an enthusiastic and experienced gardener, which in time led him to the world of home improvement. He began by learning all about landscaping. Soon he wanted to maximize outdoor spaces in new, exciting ways; for example, by installing gazebos and fire pits. What began as a hobby soon became a side hustle, and eventually, it became his full-time job!