Common Causes of Leaky Gutters

Created at :   Aug 22 2022

Leaky gutters can cause serious issues for your home, regardless of how minor the leak appears. The leak could also end up causing huge repair expenses. A leaky gutter can ruin your soffit, siding, and fascia and damage your foundation.

You must therefore understand what might cause your gutters to leak. Then you can take the necessary steps to repair the problem and prevent future leaks.

The following are five of the most common causes of leaky gutters.

Old Age

Gutter leaks are not uncommon even with relatively new gutters, but leaks happen far more often with older gutters. As your gutters age, they may become more prone to wear and tear, resulting in leaking gutters.

A worn-out sectional gutter is particularly prone to leaking. The sealant or screws holding the two sections together dissolve or loosen over time. And the loose joints allow water to leak. 

You can often extend the life of your gutters by sealing up the worn sections with silicone waterproof sealant. However, the best solution for leaking because of old age is to replace the affected gutters.

Clogged Gutters

A clog is one of the most common causes of leaking gutters. Leaves, twigs, bird nests, and other debris can accumulate inside gutters. When enough debris accumulates, it can create a dam that prevents the proper flow of water through your gutters.

As a result of a clog, water will have nowhere else to go. Therefore, you may notice that water leaks from the side of your gutters when you experience rain. Occasionally, the water can back up and leak through small cracks in your roof. Clogged gutters can also start to sag and may pull away from the fascia, causing even more damage.

You should, therefore, always keep your gutters and downspouts clean. Clean your rain gutters twice a year or after each rainstorm to make sure the gutters function correctly.

Improper Slope

Gutters need a slight downward slope to guide rainwater toward the downspout and the ground outlet.

When the slope of the gutters is incorrect, water can collect along the gutters, forming small pools. As pooled water accumulates, gutters will become heavier, sag, and can even begin to rust. As a result, you will often notice water leaking from your gutters.

An improper slope is more difficult to fix, as it usually requires rehanging the gutter. So you might want to hire a roofing technician.

Cracks and Holes

Due to weathering, even the strongest materials can develop cracks and holes. Usually, cracks or holes result in relatively minor leaks but can grow larger.

If the gutter leaks in a few small spots, carefully check the area for cracks or holes.

You can usually fix small cracks and holes by applying caulk or a waterproof sealant. However, the sealant might not work when the holes and cracks are large. In such a case, you'll have to replace the affected gutter section.

Loose Fasteners

Fasteners such as screws, nails, or hangers attach gutters to the fascia board of your roof. Gutter fasteners are usually driven through the gutter and into the boards. 

Fasteners loosen mostly due to poor installation, causing small leaks to develop around them. As a result, water pours out of the gutter and directly onto the fascia. The leak can cause the fascia boards to rot, and you may have to replace your fascia.

Therefore, have a technician replace loose fasteners as soon as you notice the problem. In some cases, the technician can tighten the fasteners and apply sealant around the fasteners to ensure the holes are watertight.

Now that you know the most common causes of gutter leaks, you're better prepared to deal with the problem. Preventive measures, however, are always the most effective solution. So keep up with regular gutter maintenance, and you can also install gutter accessories such as gutter guards that keep debris away.

If you have questions about gutter installation, repair, or maintenance, feel free to contact us today.