Behind The Scenes Of Gutter Leaks & Why Size Matters

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the health of your gutters. Unless, of course, leaks happen. Gutters serve one critical purpose: to channel rainwater away from your home’s foundation. The foundation holds up your entire home and should be properly protected from water damage. Your gutter system also protects the exterior of your home. 

What Causes Gutters to Leak

Because gutters play such a vital role in protecting your home against water damage, it’s important to maintain them in proper working conditions. Gutters can often leak due to the following problems:

  1. Clogged and Dirty Gutters – The most common problem with gutters is clogging. Clogged gutters won’t drain properly and start to overflow during rainstorms. Since the water can’t pass through properly, it can begin to cause problems with your home’s foundation. That’s why it’s so important to periodically clean your gutters.
  2. Sagging Gutters – If you allow your gutters to clog up with debris such as leaves and twigs, the weight from this debris can loosen the hangers, causing your gutters to sag. Sometimes the issue may be caused by the hangers being spaced too widely apart. In this case, extra hangers will need to be added so they’re close enough together.
  3. Leaks and Holes – If a stream of water pours down from the middle of your gutters, your gutters may have sprung a leak. Fortunately, leaks and holes can be temporarily fixed by using a gutter sealant to caulk the seams. However, larger holes will need to be professionally patched. 
  4. Wrongly Pitched Gutter Systems – Gutters need to be properly sloped to allow water to flow seamlessly. The pitch should be at least a quarter-inch for every 10 feet of gutter. Standing water in your gutters means they are not pitched correctly. To correct the issue, the hangers will need to be replaced.

Why Gutters Pull Away from the House

Your gutters could be pulling away from your house due to improper installation, damage, or when the gutters are not large enough to channel all the water from your roof. When it comes to something as important as your gutter system, you should avoid cutting corners and work with certified professionals. A reputable installer will use proper tools and follow the manufacturer’s requirements to ensure the material warranties remain valid. 

Gutters often pull away from the fascia due to the excessive weight of water or leaves and other debris trapped in the gutter system. Seamless gutters are an ideal solution to eliminate the issues caused by sectional gutters attached together with fasteners. If the fasteners are not correctly installed, it may result in gutters pulling away. 

Choosing the Right Gutter Size

There are two common types of gutter systems to choose from, depending on the specific needs of your home: five and six-inch gutters. When determining the size of a gutter system, you should consider your area’s rainfall density and the size and pitch of your roof. Living where you get a lot of rain or having a steep roof pitch should opt for the larger 6-inch gutter system. Similarly, a home surrounded by tall trees may need six-inch gutters to accommodate falling leaves without clogging. You’ll need larger downspouts for 6-inch gutters to effectively redirect rainwater away from your home’s foundation.

How Overflowing Gutters Can Ruin your House

Gutters were invented primarily to divert rainwater away from your roof and straight to the ground. However, gutters can clog due to the accumulation of leaves, dirt, droppings, and debris, leading to overflowing gutters. When this happens, the following issues can arise:

  • Decay in Your Roof and Siding – Gutters that are backed up can allow water to start seeping into your roof and fascia boards. Since most fascia boards are made of wood, they can begin to rot due to excessive moisture. Overflowing gutters can also damage your siding, causing further structural damage to your home. 
  • Cracks in Your Concrete – Gutter overflow can cause concrete degradation. When rainwater from clogged gutters flows into a concrete material, it can leak through the tiny crevices, dissolving minerals present in the solid cement paste. Over time, debris can crowd into spaces and create gaps, cracking concrete in your pathways and driveway.
  • Flood in Your Basement – You can expect flooding in your basement when your gutter system fails. Large amounts of water can penetrate the eaves and ceiling, extending all the way to your terrace before draining down your room downstairs. 

Midwest Roofing is a fully licensed and insured roofing company serving Missouri from Columbia to Springfield. Our gutter professionals are highly trained and experienced to perform a variety of gutter services, including full gutter replacement, gutter guard installation, gutter cleaning, and gutter repair and maintenance. Contact us today to get a free estimate!