Your gutters provide several vital services to your home. They carry away snow melt, which can minimize the chances of ice dams. They also prevent roof runoff during rain, which keeps excess moisture away from your foundation and prevents it from ruining border landscaping. Gutters also keep you dry, so a dripping roof isn't an annoyance when you enter or exit your home. The problem occurs when gutters begin to leak, failing at their main job. Knowing the common causes for leakage can help you avoid them.
Reason #1: The Gutters Are Clogged
Starting with the most obvious reason, leaks usually occur because of clogs. This could be debris in the gutters or debris in the downspouts. Simply cleaning out your gutters and downspouts in the spring and fall will usually prevent this type of leak. This problem may not be as obvious, though, if your downspouts are routed into underground drains. Sometimes the clog is actually in the drain, so you will need to have the whole drain line flushed to remove the clog. The easiest way to tell if a clog is the cause is to examine the gutters during a rainstorm. If they are filling and then overflowing, a blockage in a gutter, downspout, or drain is the likely culprit.
Reason #2: Improper Installation
There are two installation mistakes that can lead to a leak. The first is setting the gutters at the wrong spot beneath the eaves. If there is a gap between gutter and eave, water will simply run off the roof and through this gap. This renders your gutter useless. If the gutters are set too far beneath the eave, there may be some overflow or splash out from the water running off the roof. Having the gutters positioned so the edge of the roof line is over yet near the inner edge of the gutter is best.
The second installation error is a failure to slant them properly toward the downspouts. Gutters must be installed at a slight slope so that gravity helps the water down the pipes. Overly level gutters will drain slowly and are likely to overflow.
Reason #3: Gutter Damage
The final cause is actual leaks in the gutter. These are often caused by the seams giving out on older gutters. It is possible to purchase a silicon seam sealer and apply it to every seam on your gutter, allowing you to correct the leaks. You will need to apply this when the weather is dry. A more permanent fix is to install seamless gutters, since these have fewer areas that can develop leaks.
Talk to local contractors, such as those at D & M Exteriors, for more information about seamless gutters or other repairs for the gutters on your house.