Gutters are way up on the roof and the foundation is way down on the ground. What could one possibly have to do with the other? But if not maintained or overlooked, gutters can cause major structural damage to your home’s exterior. The good news is that most gutter problems can be prevented with regular inspections and home maintenance. Here are some common gutter problems you need to prevent.
Leaking Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters leak for a number of reasons, including worn sealant, improper installation, and clogs in the gutter channel. Popular places for leaks to occur in a gutter system are:
- at the corners (gutter miter) where gutter sections meet
- at the ends of a gutter section (end cap)
- at the rear of the gutter where loosened fasteners (nails, hangers, braces, etc.) allow water to overflow
- at the elbow joint of the downspout
To prevent leaking gutters, inspect joints and seams for wear and reseal them to stop further deterioration. Keep the gutter channel free of clogs by cleaning the gutters regularly. Inspect hardware to ensure nails, hangers, etc. remain firmly in place and show no signs of damage or rust.
Water spilling over the tops of the gutters can do a lot of damage to a home’s exterior siding, interior walls, the soffit, and fascia panels. Overflowing gutters are also the fifth most common reason for flooded basements.
To prevent gutters from overflowing, make sure the gutters are thoroughly cleaned at least twice a year and frequently inspected especially after heavy wind or rain storms. When the gutter system is relatively free of debris and overflowing is still an issue, have the gutters inspected for incorrect slope. Insufficient pitch can impede water flow to the downspouts, causing it to back up in the gutter channel.
Sagging gutters are typically the result of a poorly maintained gutter system. They can become so weighed down with the amount of collected debris and/or standing water that the gutters begin to pull away from the fascia.
To prevent sagging gutters, clean out the gutter channel, fix loosened fasteners, and replace any gutter sections that became misshapen due to sagging. If the gutters continue to sag because of standing water even when they are properly maintained, consider consulting with a gutter installation professional. They will be able to advise if you need to upgrade from 5” to 6” gutters, or if just replacing the downpipes with larger downspouts will address the problem of an undersized gutter system.