5 Reasons Why Your Gutters Are Overflowing & What It’s Doing to Your Home

Gutters are one of the most overlooked elements of a home. And really, that’s what you want your gutters to be. A nice trim piece on the home that quietly and efficiently channels water away from your home. Since they’re overlooked, gutters might be one of the last things you think of when you’re struggling with foundation issues or basement flooding. However, much of the time, they should be the primary suspect.

Learn why gutters malfunction and what nightmare scenarios overflowing gutters might cause.

 

5 Reasons Why Your Gutters Are Overflowing

1. Clogged Gutters

Gutters are essentially a channel that carries water. Eventually the channel hits a downspout that carries the water down to the ground and directs it away from the home. If a portion of the channel gets blocked, or the downspout itself is blocked, the water has no where to go. Soon the gutter is full and overflowing.

How do gutters get clogged?

Gutters clog easily. Most people think about their gutters in the Autumn when leaves begin to fall. However, it’s not just Fall when trees drop debris. During the Spring and a good part of the Summer trees drop blossoms, seeds, pollen, tassels, gum balls, pine needles, etc. 

If your sidewalk has debris, your gutters do too. Unfortunately, unlike your sidewalk, gutters have a small surface area, so they fill up quickly with debris.

And then there’s the birds. Birds are lovely creatures, but from time to time they do silly things like build their nests in your gutters. So, while you might be confused as to why your gutters are overflowing and yet there’s no trees around – remember that anything is possible, and do a quick check for a bird’s nest.

The Solution:

Keep your gutters clean – and don’t forget about your downspouts and underground drains too. If the water has no-where to drain, your gutters will overflow. Make gutter maintenance a regular part of your chores list. Or, install an effective gutter guard that will keep the leaves, debris and birds out of your gutter. For more information about gutter guards see the article Do Gutter Guards Really Work in Kansas City?

2. Improperly Sloped

Gutters cannot be perfectly level, they must be sloped towards the downspout. This gives water clear direction on where to go. If gutters are improperly sloped, the water might be directed away from the downspout, giving it no choice but to overflow.

Clogged, poorly slopped gutter is full of water.
A poorly sloped gutter will not allow water to drain properly.

The Solution:

Have a guttering expert correct the slope of your gutters.

3. Undersized Gutters

Depending on your roof size and design, your gutters may be getting more water than they can handle – and therefore overflow. A standard gutter size is 5 inches, but in certain situations 6 inch, and in very rare situations, even 8 inch gutters are needed. See the article Everything You Need to Know About Your Guttering System – In Layman’s Terms for more information about how the size of gutter is determined.

8 inch gutter downspout vs 6 inch gutter downspout

The Solution:

Have your gutters evaluated and possibly upgrade the size of your gutters.

4. Damaged Gutters

This can include a variety of things such as:

1. Detached Gutters

Gutters can pull away from the fascia due to wood rot or excessive weight put on the gutters. When this happens, water will flow behind them – as if you have no gutters at all.

Gutter is not properly attached to the house and is sagging - you can see the home
Gutter is improperly attached – you can see the house in the gap between where the gutter should be attached and the gutter itself.

The Solution:

Repair any rotted fascia and reattach healthy gutters with the proper sloping.

 

2. Bent or Damaged Gutters

Gutters can be bent or damaged from a variety of things such as a tree limb falling, ladders being leaned against them or some other outside force.

gutter is bent upwards in the middle, altering water flow.
This bend in the gutter is altering the slope of the gutter and water flow.

The Solution:

Replace bent and damaged gutters with new, properly sized gutter.

3. Corroded/Rusted Gutters

Steel gutters rust and aluminum gutters corrode overtime. The life of a gutter is approximately 20 – 30 years.

Corroded aluminum gutter allowing water to leak through
Corroded gutter causing water leakage.

The Solution:

Replace rusted and corroded gutters.

5. Malfunctioning Gutter Guards

As mentioned earlier, gutter guards should be a solution to your overflowing gutters. Unfortunately, some products were not designed with Kansas City foliage in mind and can get clogged.  Other may have been installed improperly, have been damaged by ladders, tree limbs or hail.

clogged leaf filter/ micromesh screen
Some leaf guards can get clogged themselves. When this happens, water is forced to run over the top of them and down the side of your home.

The Solution:

If you are having issues with your gutters after having gutter guards installed, contact the company you purchased them from. Most companies offer a no clog guarantee and should come out to inspect your gutters and correct the problem. If your gutter guards were installed by a handy-man or yourself, inspect them. You may need to clean or replace gutter guards that weren’t designed for the Kansas City area.

For more information on gutter guards, see the article: Must-Read Guide for Identifying the Best Gutter Cover System in KC an Do Leaf Filters Work?

 

The Overflowing Gutter Nightmare

 

As mentioned earlier, the water overflow from the gutters is really overflow from your roof. To put how much water is coming off the roof into perspective: 

Just one inch of rain turns into 1,246 gallons of rainwater on an average sized home! One inch of rainfall is fairly common in KC. Not to turn this into a weather forecast, but Kansas City averages 42 inches of rain per year. That’s 52,332 gallons of water eroding the soil around your foundation, putting exorbitant pressure on your foundation walls.

rain pouring over a guttering system

Let’s face it, water seems innocent until there’s a lot of it – then it can create havoc – just think of the Grand Canyon! Which you may feel is happening in your pocketbook if overflowing gutters are allowed to persist.

What Overflowing Gutters Are Doing to Your Home

1. Foundation Damage

cracks in basement due to flooding

You might have foundation damage if you have: uneven floors, cracked walls, or cracks in the chimney. 

2. Flooded Basements

cracks in basement due to flooding

3. Damage to Home Exterior

Exterior Damage Might Include:

 

Molding Soffit & Fascia

Molding fascia from overflowing gutters
Molding fascia and soffit from chronic gutter overflow.

Peeling or Rotting Siding

 

Wood Rot

4. Water Seepage Into Insulation

Water Causing Mold Damage to House

Water seepage could result in: mildew, mold & water spots.

5. Landscape Damage

water has pushed the dirt away from the foundation

Some of the landscape damage you might notice soil erosion – which contributes to foundation damage, and flooded flower beds.

 

Stop the Nightmare!

 

A Solution to Your Overflowing Gutters

Clearly, overflowing gutters is a serious problem. One that must be stopped before costly damage is done to your home.

If you’re struggling with overflowing gutters, contact some guttering experts. 

Gutter Cover KC has been dedicated to resolving guttering issues for homes in the Kansas City area since 2001. They will do a thorough 21 point inspection of your guttering system and give practical suggestions on how to correct any issues they discover.

Don’t let your home become the Grand Canyon, contact some professionals and never worry about your gutters again!