Residential Rain Gutters: 4 Common Problems and How To Repair Them

Gutters perform an essential function – they are your home’s first line of defense against costly water damage, protecting your roof and the exterior of your home from rain and moisture while providing effective drainage.

Gutters that are warped, aging or clogged are a common source of frustration for homeowners—especially if you’re deluged with water every time you walk underneath roof eaves. When your gutters need some TLC, chances are you’re dealing with one of four common problems:

  1. Clogging by leaves, twigs, ice or other debris
  2. Improper pitching
  3. Warping or bending of old gutters
  4. Leaky gutter joints

If you’re the DYI type, you may decide to fix your gutter problems on your own – gutter repairs are not difficult and many can be done from the ladder with simple tools and a little know how. If you run into serious problems however, don’t hesitate to call a specialists to discuss professional gutter repair or replacement.

Residential Rain Gutters: 4 Common Problems and How To Repair Them

4 Common Gutter Problems and How To Repair Them

1. Clogging by leaves, twigs, ice or other debris

Gutter problem #1 is caused by plant matter, dirt and rocks clogging gutters and preventing rain and snow run-off from flowing freely. Over time, this debris turns to “sludge,” which weathers gutters and causes eventual breakdown. In addition, it may weight down gutters and pull it away from the fascia.

To fix clogging issues (and prevent them from happening again), use a sturdy ladder to inspect each length of your metal or vinyl gutter. Clear clogged areas by removing debris with a work glove, and flush clean gutters with a garden hose to ensure improved flow. For the long term, you may wish to install gutter leaf guards or covers—they make maintenance easier, and prevent the debris buildup that leads to leaks and siding damage.

2. Improper pitching

Gutter problem #2 is caused when gutters are hastily installed or pitched improperly. Check to make sure your gutters are pitched downward at least ¼ inch for every ten feet of gutter length. To adjust gutter pitch, re-hang affected sections or bend hangers slightly to accommodate water flow.

If your home has seamless gutters, you can’t adjust them easily – you will need to call your roofer to handle this for you.

3. Warping or bending of old gutters

Gutter problem #3, warping and bending of old gutters, is often inevitable. As hangers and hardware age and weather, gutters may pull away from the house or become weighted down by heavy debris.

To repair this issue, start by installing new gutter hangers and fasteners on sagging or warped sections. Hangers are inexpensive, and the installation is simple. Next, if your warped gutter will not seat properly, you may need to replace small sections of the gutter itself. Again, you may need a roofing expert if you have seamless gutters that cannot be easily replaced section by section.

4. Leaky gutter joints

Gutter problem #4 is a leaky gutter joint or section. They are generally easy to repair with a tube of gutter sealant.

During dry weather, apply a small amount of gutter sealant to the inside of the gutter. Allow sealant to cure for 24 hours. If the hole is larger or the gutter has rusted through, purchase a patch kit from your local hardware store. Patch kits come with a screen that fills in the hole—or you can create your own patch from a metal flashing remnant.

5 Signs It May Be Time to Replace Your Rain Gutters Completely

Gutters that are not functioning effectively can cause foundation damage and extensive leaks. If they go undetected long enough the results can be extensive and expensive, and involve problems with insulation, internal and external paint, mold, and internal property damage.

How can you determine whether your gutters need to be replaced or not? Here are some signs that serve as red flags. Any of these five signs may indicate that gutters are in need of repair or replacement.

  1. Loose or hanging gutters: Obviously, gutters that are no longer firmly attached to your home are not just failing; they can be a hazard.
  2. Rusted, cracked, or slouching gutters: Appearance aside, gutters that are rusted or cracked are very likely to leak or clog. Slouching gutters present the same problems, since they don’t allow water to flow freely through the gutters as designed.
  3. Exterior wall damage: If you see damage to the siding or exterior paint on your home, it may due to faulty gutters causing water to flow down the side of your home.
  4. Clogs: Most homeowners who have cleared leaves from their gutters can tell you about the standing water that results from clogs. However, you should not automatically assume that clogs are caused by only debris, especially if your gutters clog relatively often. Recurring clogs may indicate a structural problem or the need for a leaf guard.
  5. Leaks or pooling water: These are the most serious signs that your gutters may require immediate attention. If you have experienced leaks in your home, it may be because your gutters are failing to funnel water away from your roof, walls, and foundation. Pooling water near your downspouts may also be point to problems with your gutters.

Contact Your Roofer For Help

Here at LGC Roofing, we understand that proper installation & regular maintenance are key to healthy gutter system. Backed by over 30 years of experience in residential & commercial roofing, our fully insured and licensed staff is standing by to assist you with all your gutter needs!

We have extensive experience in all types of roofing work, including gutter repair and installation, and we offer free leaf guards with any gutter installation.

Call 609-712-8157 in NJ or 215-932-7850 in PA for your FREE ESTIMATE today!

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