Is Water Dripping Behind your Gutters? Here’s How to Fix It.

Do you notice water dripping behind your gutters?

Pesky water droplets getting behind your gutters can be a big problem if not taken care of in a timely manner. When water makes its way behind your gutters, your home is vulnerable to water damage.

The siding, fascia, foundation, and even the interior ceilings of your home could all be impacted by the water dripping behind your gutters.

Let’s figure out what’s causing this problem and how to fix it.

1. Drip Edge Improperly Installed

hidden gutter hangers

When it comes to water dripping behind the gutters, the likely culprit is the drip edge.

What is a drip edge you may be wondering?

The drip edge is small component attached to the roof that ensures the water enters the gutter. Think of the drip edge a bridge between your roof and your gutters.

It’s job is to make sure water enters the gutters, so if that’s not happening, the drip edge is most likely the problem.

There could be a few reasons your drip edge is not working, so let’s get into that:

  1. Drip edge not installed: Ok, so there is a small possibility you are missing a drip edge. Perhaps the gutters were installed by a previous owner as a DIY project and he simply… forgot. If that’s the case, you will need to install the drip edge.
  2. Drip edge out of place: As your gutters age and the components of the roof or gutters start to sag, it’s possible the drip edge no longer bridges the gap between the roof and gutters. In which case, water will not makes it’s way into the gutters, but will instead fall short. You will want to reset the drip edge so it can work properly.

Inspect the edge of your roof. If there’s no drip edge, installation is necessary. If the drip edge is present but misaligned, repositioning it to bridge the gap between the roof and the gutter is essential. In some cases, professional installation or adjustment may be the best course of action to ensure proper placement and function.

2. Fascia is Rotting

The fascia is the (usually) wooden piece on the edge of your roof that the gutters attach to. With enough exposure to water, the fascia can begin to rot and wear away.

A rotted fascia is an access point for water to make it’s way behind your gutters (and sometimes into your home).

If you notice that the fascia is discolored, sagging, or puffy, it could be a sign of water damage. If you notice signs of rot, you will need to look at replacing that section of your fascia before the damage spreads.

3. Loose Gutter Hangers

If your gutters are slowly falling out of place and water is getting behind them, the gutter brackets could be the root cause.

Gutters are hung from the fascia on your roof with gutter brackets. Over time the gutter brackets can slip out leading to issues such as water dripping behind the gutters, the gutters no longer draining correctly, and more.

There are different types of brackets depending on the type of gutters you have. Most older gutters will use a spike and ferrule bracket, which are basically large nails used to keep your gutters attached. Over time these spikes/nails can begin to slip out and cause problems.

Luckily, these are easy to fix by simply hammering them back in or by switching to a newer bracket style such as hidden hanger.

Inspect gutter hangers and brackets regularly. Tighten any loose ones and replace those that are damaged or inadequate. For older gutter systems with spike and ferrule hangers, consider upgrading to more secure and modern hanger types, like hidden hangers, for better support.

4. Low Pitched Roof

If you have a low pitched roof, or a roof that’s only slightly angled, water dripping behind your gutters is more common.

This is due a phenomenon called capillary action. We’ll get into why this can a big problem.

What is Capillary Action?

Capillary action, is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces even against the forces like gravity. In this case, it would be the small gap behind your gutters and outside your home.

Capillary action can contribute to the problem of water dripping behind the gutters. Here’s how:

In roofs with a shallow pitch, water doesn’t flow as fast into the gutters as it would on a steeper roof. This slower movement allows more time for capillary action to occur.

Water has a high surface tension, and when it comes in contact with the edges of a gutter or the underside of a low-pitched roof, it sticks to these surfaces.

The water molecules are attracted to and ‘climb’ the surface of the roof or gutter. As more water molecules adhere, they pull additional water along due to cohesion, effectively drawing the water into and up narrow spaces.

This upward movement can lead to water defying gravity to a certain extent, moving upwards or sideways, eventually reaching and dripping down the backside of the gutter. This is particularly problematic in low-pitched roofs where capillary action has more opportunity to act due to slower water movement.

DIY Tips and Professional Advice

While some gutter issues can be resolved with DIY methods, such as securing loose hangers or replacing small sections of fascia, it’s crucial to recognize when professional help is needed. Experts can identify potential problems quickly and tackle more complex issues like regrading your roof or completely overhauling your gutter system.

Regular Maintenance Tips

To prevent gutter problems:

  • Clean your gutters regularly to prevent clogs.
  • Inspect and tighten gutter hangers annually.
  • Check for and repair any signs of fascia damage promptly.

Glossary of Terms

  • Drip Edge: A metal strip installed along the edge of the roof to direct water into the gutters.
  • Fascia: A board mounted at the point where the roof meets the outer walls of the house.

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