Gutters are essential in channeling rainwater away from your building and down the downspouts to prevent water damage to your home’s foundation, walls, and interior components. Unfortunately, many homeowners often overlook the gutter system throughout the year until they begin to overflow during or after a storm. Overflowing gutters can lead to displaced and messy landscaping and pools of water where they shouldn’t be.
But clogging isn’t always the root cause of gutter overflowing —you may need to look a little closer. Thankfully, fixing gutter overflows is not a complex mystery. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it makes sense to hire a skilled roofing contractor to inspect your gutters, find the root cause of the overflow, and fix it before the water ruins your home’s architectural integrity.
What Can Overflowing Gutters Do to Your House?
If your gutters frequently overflow every time it rains, you’ll want to know why and what to do about them. If something prevents gutters from functioning correctly, the rainwater will simply spill over the sides of your gutters, triggering a whole list of problems. Generally, overflowing gutters can cause the following issues to your house:
- Damaged or discolored siding
- Cracked, shifted, or buckled foundations
- Leaks in joints and windows
- Rotted fascia boards on the eaves
- Eroded or destroyed landscaping
- Cracked sidewalks or pavements
- Flooded basements
Now, on to the three common reasons your gutters could be overflowing.
1. Clogged Gutters
The first thing which comes to mind is your gutters are clogged with leaves, sticks, shingle granules, broken tree limbs, or other debris. Or maybe a ball, plastic bag, or other toy has been caught in the gutter. If the gutter system is not cleaned regularly, these things can find their way into the gutters and cause clogs. Consider cleaning at least twice a year — in the spring and fall.
2. Incorrect Pitching
Gutters could also leak if they are pitched incorrectly. When gutters are leveled appropriately, they slope towards the downspout the same way your shower is pitched toward the drain! This problem is mainly caused by incorrect installation but can also occur over time. As gutters pull away from the house or sag, the pitch changes. They will then fill with water and pull away from the roofline more.
Always have your gutters installed by a professional roofer to ensure correct pitch. If the gutters are pulling away from the roofline, they could cause an overflow, especially during heavy storms. Lack of pitch can also cause the water to gather in one spot instead of flowing toward an exit.
3. Low-hanging Gutters
The gutters may be hanging too low or without a proper gap between the house and the gutters. This will cause the water runoff to overshoot the gutters. In other scenarios, the gutters may be too narrow to handle the volume of rainwater coming off your roof. In such a case, you may need to replace them with 6-inch gutters.
How to Fix Gutter Overflow
If you’ve inspected your roof and found clogged gutters, incorrect pitching, low-hanging gutters, or too small gutters, here are some ways a gutter specialist can help fix the problem:
Clean the Gutters
Your roofing contractor can clean your gutters in the following ways:
- Use a leaf blower with a nozzle attachment to push out the debris with forced air, saving time and leaving less mess than using a hose.
- Blow out the leaves and dirt using a power hose. This method also helps clean any backed-up dirt inside and outside your gutters.
- If you don’t want to blow out the debris onto your yard, your contractor may grab a ladder, bucket, and gloves and go the old-fashioned route of removing the debris.
- After cleaning out the mess, your contractor will wash the gutters and downspouts with a garden hose, flushing out the remaining dirt.
Install Splash and Mesh Guards
If your roof is steeply pitched, the rainwater may run quite fast and splash over the gutters. Your roofer can mitigate this by installing an appropriate L-shaped splash guard to prevent rainwater overrun during storms. They could also install mesh screens above your gutters to catch leaves, twigs, tree limbs, and other debris from clogging your gutters. That way, only rainwater will get through the gutters, making them easier to clean.
Correct Gutter Installation
Just like every other home remodeling project, you want to do things right the first time to avoid problems down the line. If your gutters were incorrectly installed or have pulled away from your house due to old age, you may want to have a professional roofer replace them. A skilled roofer will help you size your gutters appropriately and install them correctly, ensuring a clog-free experience even during heavy downpours.
Ultimately, you’ll want to keep up with regular gutter maintenance to keep them working correctly for several years. Consider scheduling two gutter cleanings per year to cover the bases for gutter maintenance. Besides cleaning out debris and making your gutters look tip-top, regular maintenance helps watch for any signs of deterioration.
If you can catch the issue before it gets expensive (or before the next storm hits), you can save yourself a headache in the future. However, it could be time for a complete replacement if your gutters are extensively worn out or damaged. Feel free to contact Bill West Roofing for all your gutter and roofing needs in Kansas City.