3 Reasons Why Your Gutters Are Overflowing (and How To Fix It)

Are your gutters clogged? It’s rainy season again and you know what that means. It’s time to get those gutters fixed so your home can stay protected from the powerful rainfall.

As we all know, water is what shaped the Grand Canyon, so it makes sense that your home needs to be protected.

Let’s take a look at the 3 main causes of clogged gutters, so you can get your home in tip-top shape before the rain comes-a-knockin’.

The Main Causes of Gutter Overflow

There are few things more unsettling than seeing your gutters overflow and watching the rainwater splash onto your precious home. When the majority of the year is the dry and pleasant, that rainy season can be quite the shock when you realize your gutters no longer work properly.

Overflowing gutters can lead to expensive property damage and are a problem worth solving immediately. If not fixed right away, they lead to expensive problems such as:

  • Foundation damage
  • Landscaping get washed away
  • Rotting fascia boards
  • Damaged or rotting home siding (and tiger striping)

Luckily, 90% of the time, the cause for your gutters overflowing is simple and cheap to fix. So without waiting any longer let’s nip this problem in the bud.

1. Gutters are Clogged with Debris

The number one reason for gutter overflow is… drum roll please… clogged gutters! Who would’ve guessed that one?

If you live in an area with a lot of trees, leaves can be a huge reason for clogged gutters. All it takes is for some leaves to fall into your gutter, along with a mix of mud and other gunk, and boom. You’re gutters don’t drain properly anymore.

The leaves settle into the gutters themselves but also the downspouts and you’ve got a real problem on your hands.

If you let this problem fester even more, you’ll get other fun stuff in your gutters, such as:

  • Plants growing out of the gutters (who would’ve thought you had such a green thumb?)
  • Snakes and other creepy crawlies moving in
  • Wasp nests
  • An insect paradise

While all of that seems like just a wonderful time, I’d prefer to clean my gutter before any of that happens.

Luckily, gutter cleaning is a very routine service and relatively affordable. Or if you’re feeling spunky, you can always clean them out yourself (keeping in mind you’ll need the proper tools and safety equipment).

Most professionals recommend getting your gutters cleaned twice a year to keep them operational and to protect your home. And if you truly have a lot (and I mean a ton) of trees around, you could look at investing into gutter protection or gutter guards.

But if you do opt for gutter guards, do a lot of research beforehand, as they can be insanely expensive and sometimes can cause more problems than they fix. Gutter guards can make regular maintenance a whole lot harder to do.

2. Gutters are Not Angled Correctly for Water Flow

Let’s face it, as your home ages, things aren’t always in perfect shape. And just like us fragile humans, things can start to uhhh… sag.

Unfortunately, gutters are no different.

While they may have been perfectly aligned when the gutters were installed a decade or two ago, now they may need a touch up.

Certain types of gutters are especially prone to this problem. For example, spike and ferrule gutter brackets (the most traditional gutter style) tend to fall out over time and can lead to a drop in gutter performance.

So if you’ve gotten your gutters cleaned, and the rain is still not draining properly, it may be time to look at getting the gutter brackets tuned up and your gutters properly pitched.

For proper water flow, the gutters need to be angled in so the rainfall is directed to the nearest downspout. Otherwise the rainwater will pool up in the gutters and with enough rainfall, will overflow.

And nobody wants that, except for that annoying neighbor next door who thinks they’re better than you.

If water is pooling up in your gutters, even after the rain is done falling you may get standing water for days or even weeks.

And with standing water, you get one of natures cutest insects, the mosquito. Who doesn’t like their blood sucked every time you step out on the porch? The standing water also puts extra pressure on the gutters brackets which can lead to faster wear and tear.

3. Gutters are Not Wide Enough to Handle Heavy Rainfall

Out of all three problems, this one is the least likely. If you live in an area with heavy enough rainfall, it’s possible that the gutter installation was not beefy enough.

The gutters that were installed could be too narrow to keep up with the water flow from the rain.

This can lead to your gutter overflowing and leaks in other places. Smaller gutters can also start to pull away from your roof it they are constantly overflowing.

So what’s the fix?

Well, in this case, you have two options.

Option 1: You can get wider gutters installed to allow for more rain fall. These will properly escort the water away from your house and down the downspout. The standard gutter size is 5 inches. But if you need the extra oomph, you can opt for 6-inch gutters, which hold significantly more water as they are deeper and wider.

Option 2: If you feel like the gutters are wide enough, you could simply add more downspouts in problem areas. For example, if the gutters are only overflowing on the side the of house, adding a 2nd downspout in that area could fix the problem without needing to replace your entire gutter system. Sometimes all it takes is a small tweak to fix your problem, you don’t need to replace the whole enchilada.

Other Common Gutter Overflow Problems

While the big three are main drivers for overflow problems, there could be some other root causes that are hidden. Here are few examples:

  • Fascia Board Damage: The gutters brackets attach to wooden fascia boards on your home. If these boards rot, it can cause your gutters to sag and interrupt the proper water flow. In this case, the gutters will need to be taken off, and the fascia boards will need to be replaced.
  • Clogged Underground Drains: Some homes have downspouts that run underground. These downspouts can clog and cause the equivalent of a 6-car pileup on the freeway (or in this case, your gutters). Simply unclogging the underground downspouts can fix this problem.

If you think none of the above reasons are the issue, I recommend connecting with a gutter professional for a free assessment and quote to get a better understanding of your problem.

Pro Tips for Healthy Gutter Maintenance

No one likes to deal with serious gutter or home problems. They can get expensive, especially if it involves replacing siding, fascia boards, or in the worst case – foundation damage.

If you’re a proactive homeowner, before the gutters ever start overflowing there are a number of action steps you can take prevent future issues and keep your gutters in pristine condition.

Get your Gutters Cleaned Twice a Year

Just like how you go to the dentist every six months to get your teeth cleaned to prevent painful issues like cavities and toothaches, you can get your gutters cleaned every six months to prevent serious problems with your home.

You don’t wait until you have a cavity to go to the dentist, so why wait until your gutters are overflowing to get them cleaned?

Semi-regular gutter maintenance is the key to a long-lasting home and will prevent 99% of all gutter-related issues. It really is the “secret sauce”, because water damage is one of the most common issues homeowners wrestle with.

If you can take steps to avoid it, why not?

You can either clean the gutters yourself or get connected with a professional to do it for you.

Pro Tip: I recommend adding two dates spaced six months apart on a virtual calendar (such as Google Calendar) that notify me annually when it’s time to get the gutters cleaned.

Consider Purchasing Gutter Guards

Gutter guards are all the rage nowadays, wherever you go you see advertisements for them like crazy.

They get installed on top of your gutters to prevent debris from falling inside while allowing for proper water flow. While they can be extremely effective, they are pricey and can cause problems on their own.

Problems such as making regular gutter maintenance more difficult and expensive.

When I got a quote for gutter guards for my home, it came out to a ridiculous price of $30,000. I could pay for a lifetime of gutter cleanings with that amount, so it doesn’t always make sense financially to get them.

But if you are interested in gutter guards, I would make sure you have a lot of trees around your home and it makes sense for your budget and situation.

And gets lots of quotes. Lots and lots of quotes.

Get Connected With a Gutter Professional to Fix your Gutter Overflow Problem

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