Common Reasons for Leaking Gutters

Since Vancouver gutters do handle a lot of rain, and in some areas, even snow during the winter months, late fall is a good time to check your gutter system for gutter leaks. Even the smallest gap or opening where water can escape can cause all kinds of trouble, such as rotting fascia or soffit boards; a flooded basement; and the growth of mold in crawl spaces or on walls, both interior and exterior.

Reason #1 for Leaking Gutters

Rain gutters typically leak at the seams where one edge of a gutter section is attached to another. Whether gutters have been joined together by screws or sealant, separation either by the screws becoming loose or worn or the sealant being eroded away, water will be able to escape. Unless the place where gutters leak is really obvious, it is usually difficult to spot gutters leaking at the seams when it’s raining. If you suspect that the gutters are leaking at the seams, pour water into a section of gutter and see if it drains away properly or if it leaks. Leaking gutter seams can be fixed by a reapplication of sealant or by tightening or replacing screws.

Reason #2 for Leaking Gutters

Gutters can leak when debris like leaves, pine needles, twigs and dirt build up to the point where it inhibits the water from flowing properly through the gutter system. If the water isn’t channeled into the downspout like it’s supposed to be, it spills over the sides of the gutters. To prevent leaking gutters caused by blockage or clogs, schedule to clean the gutters yourself or to have them cleaned by a professional at least once a year; twice a year if you have a number of trees on your property, especially close to the house.

Reason #3 for Leaking Gutters

A gutter system that is not secured or installed properly can become loose due to wind storms, the weight of debris or the movement of water as it is channeled to the downspout. Gutters that shift or move when they are not supposed to, can often be attributed to an inadequate number of gutter hangers, which attach the gutters to the fascia while supporting their weight. This can cause sections of guttering to come loose or fall, allowing the water to run down walls or into your basement. Gutters can also become loose enough to allow water to escape behind the gutter rather than into it. When annually or periodically inspecting the gutters, check the hangers to ensure they are not loose or have become damaged in some way. Tighten or replace any hangers that need attention.

Reason #4 for Leaking Gutters

If rain gutters are improperly sloped, it can cause water to pool or collect in parts of the gutter system. Since it is not being drained away properly, water will spill over the side of the gutter. Improper installation is not the only reason for poorly draining gutters; the slope of the gutters can be altered over time by a sinking foundation or a shifting structure. To determine if the gutters need to be re-sloped, use a level. Gutters should slope downward to the downspout about a ¼ inch for every 10 linear feet. Re-sloping a gutter system involves adjusting the height of the hangers of the appropriate sections.

Reason #5 for Leaking Gutters

Corroded gutters are one of the most common reasons metal gutters, including steel and copper, leak. Holes can be repaired individually, but if there are too many, probably the best course of action is to replace the entire gutter system or those areas most affected by corrosion.