Have you noticed pools of water gathering under the roof eaves? Or discolored siding on one face of your home?
Yep, you guessed it: your clogged gutters are overflowing again.
It’s easy to overlook throughout the year, but impossible to ignore during or after a storm. Displaced and messy landscaping. Pools of water where they shouldn’t be. And a gutter that needs immediate cleaning.
But clogging isn’t always the root issue —- to find why your gutters are overflowing, you may need to look a little closer.
Uncovering the root issue: 3 main causes of gutter overflow
Thankfully, rainwater overflow is not a complex mystery. If you know what you’re looking for, it only takes a short time to find the root cause.
You can use the checklist below to visually inspect your gutters. Be aware that you might have a combination of gutter problems on your hands. If that’s the case, it may be wise to call in a professional to assess the situation.
1.) Debris clogging up the gutter and/or downspout flow
Leaves, shingle granules, sticks from broken tree limbs, even plastic bags — all of them frequently find their way into your gutters. It’s the most common reason for overflowing gutters. And, thankfully, it’s relatively easy to fix (more on this topic below).
2.) Your gutters aren’t positioned correctly
The pitch and tilt of your gutters make all of the difference. If the gutter is tilting away from your house, it could be causing an overflow (particularly during heavy storms). The pitch of gutter — heading towards a downspout — can also cause overflow if it’s too steep. Same goes for lack of pitch, which causes the water to gather in one spot, rather than flowing toward an exit.
3.) Your gutters aren’t big enough to handle the rainfall
Sometimes the gutters you’ve installed are simply too small; they can’t handle the amount of rainwater flowing down the roof.
Let’s say you’ve inspected the roof and found no debris. And you’ve measured the pitch and tilt and everything looks well-balanced…
O.K., now ask yourself: do your gutters often overflow during heavy rain? If so, you may need bigger gutters installed on your home.
How to stop gutter overflow and channel rainwater properly
Now you’ve identified the reason behind the excess rainwater trickling down the side of your home and pooling underneath the gutter. The next step is to stop the overflow problem so rainwater will properly flow and distribute.
However, before we get into it, a few warnings:
- We do not recommend you try cleaning your gutters during a storm. Climbing onto the roof or standing below could be dangerous. Be smart and wait until the rain has passed and the roof has dried.
- Cleaning gutters while standing on a ladder or crouching on your roof is risky. If you’re not fully comfortable or do not have the right equipment, it’s better to call a professional service to take care of it for you (safety first).
That said, here’s how you can stop overflowing gutters or prevent it from happening in the future.
1.) For gutters filled with debris (leaves, moss, etc.) try doing this
- Buy a nozzle attachment for your leaf blower and push out the debris with forced air. This will save time and leave less of a mess than using a hose.
- Use a power hose to blow out the leaves and dirt. This also helps to clean the caked up dirt along the inside and outside of the gutter.
- Don’t want to blow out the dirt and spread it on your yard? Do it the by hand. Grab a ladder, bucket, heavy duty gloves and go the old-fashioned route.
Once you’ve cleaned out the mess, always wash out the gutter and downspouts with a garden hose to flush out the remaining dirt.
2.) Install splash and mesh guards on your gutters
If you have a steeply pitched roof, the water may be traveling so fast it splashed over the gutter. You can install an L-shaped splashed guard to prevent the overrun during a storm.
You can also install mesh screens over your gutters that catch leaves and other debris from falling inside. This way, only the water will get through and it’s much easier to clean.
How to keep a healthy gutter: maintenance tips from the pros
Congrats! You’ve made it to the final stretch. Now we need to focus on consistency.
Just like every other home improvement project, maintenance is key. Prevent overflow and keep those gutters healthy with a good strategy!
1.) We recommend our customers to schedule two gutter cleanings per year
Two thorough cleanings per year usually cover the bases for gutter maintenance. Not just for cleaning out debris and making the gutters look tip-top, but also keeping a watchful eye for signs of deterioration.
2.) Just be aware — very simple, but effective for preventing bigger problems
How often do you visually inspect your gutters, even when nothing is wrong? Be honest.
As homeowners, it’s difficult to keep on top of every little thing. And unless you’re a home improvement fan with a DIY spirit, it’s unlikely you have a checklist to run through every month.
To keep it simple, we recommend “bucketing” your visual inspections with other tasks. When spring gets underway and you start mowing the lawn, check your gutters, too. Raking leaves on a nice autumn day? Check your gutters.
If you can catch the problem before it gets costly (or before the next storm hits), you’ll save yourself a headache in the future.
As always, feel free to reach out — we’re here to help!