Water in your Basement? Why Gutters may be the Reason!

There’s few things more frustrating than realizing water has made it’s way into your basement. If you are experiencing this problem, there’s a good chance that your gutters may be the reason.

Gutters are supposed to protect your home from water damage, but funnily enough, they can sometimes be the very reason you get water in your basement.

Let’s look at a few possible reasons why gutters may be the reason your basement is flooded with water.

Why your Gutters are the Reason for Water in your Basement

Your gutters are responsible for taking water that falls on your home and directing it away from the crucial components of your house, such as your foundation, siding, landscaping, and in this case, your basement.

But when problems arise with your gutters and they aren’t properly maintained, your gutters no longer move water away from your home, instead you end up with a wet problem on your hands.

clogged gutters with mud and leaves

1. Clogged Gutters

Clogged gutters are usually the number one problem with your gutters.

Over time, your gutters will fill up with leaves and mud if they are not cleaned out on a regular basis. The buildup of debris can eventually clog your gutters and prevent water from flowing through the gutters and out of the downspouts.

This results in a clog. Fun stuff, right?

When your gutters clog and it rains, the rain fall has nowhere to go and your gutters will eventually overflow.

Overflowing gutters will result in water going in uncontrollable directions and areas. You may end up with water dripping behind your gutters, dripping down your siding, or even making it’s way into your basement.

To prevent your gutters from clogging, it’s a good idea to get them cleaned out twice a year or more, depending on the amount of trees around your house.

Gutter guards can help reduce the amount of maintenance and cleaning required.

It can be helpful to hire a contractor to help with your gutter cleaning project. They can also advise on installing gutter guards.

2. Leaky Gutters

After a long enough time, gutters can start to leak.

This will usually happen at the joints, where each section of gutter is attached to the next. The joints are considered the “weak points” of the gutters and are more susceptible to leaks.

Usually the gutter joints are sealed with gutter glue to prevent leaks, but eventually the glue/sealant will need to be reapplied, or leaks will form.

These leaks will usually start out small, but can eventually get bigger and cause real problems to your home and landscaping. For this reason, leaky gutters should always be fixed as soon as possible.

It could be the reason your basement is flooding with water.

To be sure, it can be a good idea to get your gutters inspected by a professional.

If you want to reduce the amount of leaks your gutters get, look at getting seamless gutters instead of normal (read more about the differences here).

Seamless gutters are one continuous piece instead of being multiple sections put together. This will make them less likely to leak and will require less maintenance over the long run.

It may be worth upgrading to seamless gutters.

gutters overshooting
from Canva

3. Improperly Installed Gutters

If you have just moved into a new home, it’s possible that your gutters were a DIY project for the last owner and they didn’t get installed correctly. Or maybe an inexperienced contractor was hired. Or maybe the developer rushed to finish to your home and did not put the gutters in properly.

Whatever might have caused the issue, it’s possible the gutters may not be installed properly.

If your gutters are pitched/sloped incorrectly, there may not be a way for the water to drain from your gutters, leading to issues such as overflowing water.

Another common issue is that the downspouts were placed in the wrong spot, and that could be dumping water too closely to your basement. Or perhaps there are not enough downspouts and water can’t flow from your gutters fast enough.

If you believe your gutters weren’t installed properly, it could be a good idea to do an audit of your gutters and try to identify any possible issues.

4. Gutters that are too Small

It’s possible the gutters on your home are simply too small.

To choose the right size gutters, you need to account for the rain fall in your area, the pitch of your roof, and the overall surface area as well.

If these three factors were not taken into account when installing gutters, your gutters might not be large enough to handle the rainfall that comes your way.

This will lead to issues like your gutters overflowing and the water ending up in places you don’t want, such as your basement.

If you need bigger gutters, you can look at going from 5-inch gutters to 6-inch gutters. This can increase the amount of water your home handle by 50% or more.

Also, if you have half-round gutters, switch to K-style can also improve the water flow massively as well. Read more about the differences between half-round and k-style gutters here.

5. Damaged Gutters

Wear and tear is normal for your home and gutters. If you live in area with extreme heat or cold, the weather can make your gutters expand and shrink, leading them to shift and move overtime. Loose gutters are a common problem.

The brackets that hang your gutters can begin to fall out as well, leading to your gutters being misaligned.

Another common problem, is in the winter, ice can form on your gutters weighing them down. This can damage your gutters and pull them out of place.

If your gutters are loose or misaligned, water may not flow properly from them, leading to overflowing and flooding. You can often tell if your gutters are misaligned with a simple visual inspection.

You may see the brackets poking out of your gutters or that the gutters are pulling away from the fascia (the wooden board your gutters attach to). A rotting fascia can also be the root cause for why your gutters are loose.

To fix this issue, your gutter hangers will need to be reinstalled into your fascia with the proper gutter slope to promote water flow into your downspouts.

6. Clogged Downspouts

Similar to your gutters, your downspouts can eventually clog. If enough leaves and debris make their way into your downspouts, they will clog and water will no longer drain from your gutters.

If you have clogged downspouts, usually the elbows or curved portions of the downspout are the parts that are clogged. Either at the very top or very bottom. To fix the problem, its pretty simple.

You can either use a plumbing snake to jostle everything loose, or stick a running hose up the downspout, or simply blow it with a leaf blower. These will usually be enough to fix the problem.

Hopefully, that will be enough to fix the clogged downspout and by extension, the water making its way into your basement.

7. Clogged or Broken Underground Drain Pipes

Sometimes your downspouts can hooked up to an underground drain pipe that will direct water far away from your home. These systems are excellent at keeping water away from places like your basement, that is, until they clog.

When these underground pipes clog, they can leak and seep water into your basement. Or if they don’t leak, they will back up the water and cause your gutters to overflow. Either way, the problem should be fixed as soon as possible.

8. Downspouts End too Close to your House

When you have downspouts, you want them drain in a place where the water will exit away from your home and preferably down a slope. This will keep the water from backing up and flooding your home and basement.

Unfortunately, sometimes downspouts can be placed a little too close to your home. These can damage your landscaping, leading to muddy pockets all over your yard, chip away at your foundation, or direct the gutters directly into your basement.

To fix this problem, you can look at adding a downspout extension to funnel the water further away from your home. You can also look at other options such as an underground extension or other downspout alternatives.

9. The Ground Slopes Towards your Home

Even if you have a perfect gutter system, if the ground around your house does not slope away from your house, when it rains, water will always pool up around your home.

You always want the water to drain away from your home.

The ground needs to be sloped so water is taken away, otherwise you’ll have a big problem on your hands the time it rains hard.

If you’re home is placed in a way where this is impossible, look at directing your downspouts underground for a long distance away from your house to avoid flooding.

This can help avoid water getting in your basement.

10. Your Area has a High Water Table

The flooding in your basement can be out of your control, sometimes.

If you and your neighbors all get water in your basement at the same time, it can be a sign that the water table in your area is high.

The water table is the level at which the soil is saturated with water in your area. If you get a lot of rainfall, the water table rises. In a drought, the water table falls.

If the water table is high after a period of heavy rainfall, you may get water in your basement. When this happens, the hydrostatic pressure between your basement and the soil outside becomes very high, pushing water into your basement through the smallest of cracks and openings.

Installing water drains and sump pumps can minimize how much water will stay in your basement.

Scroll to Top