Bad Things Happen to Good Gutters

A bright shiny new gutter system, unfortunately, doesn’t stay that way without being properly maintained. Gutters control water flow, directing it to the downspouts. When gutters aren’t cleaned regularly, other parts of your home’s exterior like the soffit, fascia, and foundation become vulnerable to water damage. Here are some bad things that can happen to good gutters.

Clogged Gutters

Gutters filled with twigs, leaves, dirt, and particles of other types of materials like shingle granules, pine cones, and needles stop water from exiting the downpipes. This allows debris to build up and encourages standing water. Rainwater breaks down organic matter and over time turns it into sludge, damaging the protective finish of any type of gutter. When the finish is compromised on aluminum gutters, it makes them susceptible to rust.

Overloaded Gutters

Standing water in the gutter channel also adds weight to the gutter system. When gutters become heavy with a combination of rainwater and debris, they can pull away from the fascia, resulting in sagging and even missing sections of guttering. Whole sections breaking loose render a gutter system non-functional.

Overloaded gutters typically put extra pressure on joints and seams, causing them to leak.

Onset of Rot

When rain falls into gutters already overloaded with standing water, they overflow. Overflowing gutters allow water to land undirected, creating a place for mould and/or moss to grow and moisture to get in behind soffit and siding panels where light and air can’t reach. When rot sets in, wood fascia becomes incapable of supporting a gutter system.


Aluminum gutters and vinyl gutters become warped for a number of reasons, but the two most common causes of warping are surface damage to the finish and expansion and contraction. When the protective finish on a gutter system wears away, it allows the gutter material to become exposed to the elements. This generally means the gutters will eventually become misshapen (warping for metal gutters and splitting or cracking for vinyl gutters).

Expansion and contraction is a gutter system’s response to heat and cold. It becomes a problem over time when caulking wears away and fasteners/screws/nails shift, setting the stage for more warping or splitting.