Typical Gutter Problems, Smart Solutions & Useful Gutter Information


Most common gutter problems

Avoid Gutter involvement accidents.

Cleaning Gutters is Dangerous Work - Working from ladders or on the roof is dangerous. In the U.S, approx. 200,000 people are treated for ladder related injuries each year. Gutter protection helps maintain clean, flowing gutters and can reduce time spent on ladders and the associated risks.

Clogged gutters.

This is the most common problem of all. Left untended, gutters and downspouts get so clogged with debris that they're rendered useless. The excess weight of leaves, twigs, and standing water can also make them sag and pull away from the fascia. Clean them at least once a year, and twice a year if you have a lot of trees nearby. You can clean your own gutters if you're comfortable on a ladder, don't mind getting wet and dirty, and don't have an extremely tall house. After you've cleared the muck, flush them with a garden hose to make sure they're flowing properly. If you'd prefer, you can hire someone to do the job for you for between $45 and $250, depending on the size of your house. Doing nothing will likely result in expensive damage and repairs. Clogged Gutters are responsible for costly damage to homes, such as: rotting fascia boards, water damage to interior walls and ceilings, surface erosion around the home, wet basements, cracked foundations. As a result we suggest using a gutter protection system ( gutter guard).

Sagging gutters and gutters pulling away from the house

This is usually a problem with the hangers, the hardware that secures the gutters to the fascia. They might have deteriorated over time, the fasteners may have backed out of the wood, or they're spaced too far apart to support the weight of full gutters. The cost to fix it yourself is cheap; hangers generally cost $5 or less apiece, and the fasteners run about $1 each.

Leaks and holes

Leaky gutter joints can be sealed by caulking the joint from the inside with gutter sealant, A tube costs about $5. Very small holes can be filled with gutter sealant. Larger holes will require a patch. If you can't find a gutter patching kit at the hardware store, you can make a patch from metal flashing.

Improperly pitched gutters

Gutters need to be pitched toward the downspouts for the water to flow properly. You want at least a quarter inch of slope for every 10 feet. Get on a ladder after a rainstorm and look in the gutter; if there's standing water, it's not pitched properly. To correct this yourself, you'll need to measure from the peak to the downspout. Snap a chalk line between the two and find the spots where the gutter is out of alignment. You might be able to push it up into place by bending the hanger. If that doesn't solve the problem, you might need to take a section down and rehang it. If you have seamless gutters, call the company that installed them to correct the problem.

Improperly pitched gutters

Even the most expensive and elaborate gutter system won't perform well unless it is properly maintained. Two of the most common rain-gutter problems are clogging and failure to drain collected water far enough from the home's foundation. Many do-it-yourselfers use wire strainers or leaf traps in downspouts in an effort to prevent clogging. While such traps will keep downspouts clean, the traps themselves can quickly clog up with leaves and debris, preventing water from draining into the downspouts and causing overflowing of the gutters. Downspouts need to extend several feet from the house, or they'll dump right into the basement. Gutter extensions attached to the bottom of the downspout will discharge water well beyond the foundation. They're inexpensive and easy to install. Other option is to extend the downspout four or five feet and screwed on

Missing gutters

If your house has no gutters at all, consider investing in a system. Most residential gutters are aluminum, which is lightweight and durable. The cost depends on the material. Aluminum, vinyl, galvanized steel, and copper also are available options. Aluminum gutters range from about $5.50 to $9.50 per linear foot installed. On a 2,000-square-foot house with about 180 linear feet of gutters, that's roughly $1000 to $1,700.

Common gutter problems and your roof

Roofers get to see many of the common problems caused by inadequate gutter systems. Most homeowners aren't at fault for many of the problems. Homeowners often acquire their homes already with faulty gutters or they have gutter systems installed by unskilled contractors. Many problems start with new home construction. Typical contractors are in such a hurry to make money that they don't care about your gutter functioning properly. Suddenly you have a system collecting water instead of diverting it.

The most common symptom

I see is water backed up in the end of a gutter. Gutters hanged without being leveled in the right direction is a common culprit. A gutter will work somewhat initially, but after a few winters of snow and ice your gutter will sag and with any moderate precipitation your gutter will overflow.

Another common problem

I see is loose gutter spikes and hangers. Most gutter spikes were only hammered into the faceboard, allowing the faceboard to bear the weight of water, snow and ice. A guality aluminum gutter hanged with spike and ferrule should have at least some spikes in the rafters. Hangers will also serve you best when using quality screws and hitting rafter ends for added stability.

The most easily fixed problem

that occurs is uncleaned and clogged gutters and spouting. Somehow the most interesting things end up in gutters. Kids toys to dead birds among leaves and branches are common place. Take the time to clean your gutters and down spouts! Use a garden hose or strong leaf blower to remove debris. For extreme clogging problems, a plumbers snake may work. These are just some of the main problems your gutters can have or will acquire over the years. Take the time and do an annual inspection of your gutter system. If you avoid these common mistakes you can help stop any potential roofing problems caused by poor gutters and installation.