5 Common Reasons Your Gutters Runneth Over

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated January 10, 2022
Rain water running from the roof to the gutter
Photo: majivecka / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Dealing with a particularly rainy season

  • Not have enough gutters in place

  • Handling clogged gutters and downspouts

  • Sizing up your gutters

  • Repositioning your gutters

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Gutters and downspouts collect and move rainwater away from your home’s foundation. But if they don’t work efficiently, it can lead to water damage to your roof, fascia, and even your home’s foundation. There are several reasons your gutters may be making a bit too much of a splash, including clogs or poor positioning. 

Let’s break down the most common reasons your gutters are overflowing and talk about how to stop the problem once and for all.

1. An Abundance of Rain 

Even though the purpose of gutters is to handle the rain, if water pours down in extreme volumes, it could cause an overflow. It can also lead to sagging and breaking, which are signs to install new gutters

Your gutter type plays a role in how much water they can take, so you should invest in gutters that can handle heavy rain. More durable gutter materials like copper or stainless steel ($10 to $40 per linear foot) can take some severe downpours. Less expensive, aluminum and vinyl gutters ($7 to $10 per linear foot) are better suited for areas that don’t see much rainfall.

2. Too Few Gutters and Downspouts 

If gutters don't line your roof on all sides, they may overflow. This is also the case with downspouts, the vertical pipes that send the water out of your gutters and into the ground away from your home. Too few downspouts can also lead to overflow because there aren't enough of them to pick up the slack.

3. Undersized Gutters

Small or insufficient gutters could lead to water overflow because they can’t handle the water volume. If you suspect undersized gutters are to blame, contact a roofing or gutter pro in your area to assess the size and quantity of your gutters.

4. Clogged Gutters and Downspouts

A gutter filled with autumn leaves
Photo: soupstock / Adobe Stock

You’ve likely noticed that a rainstorm can bring lots of debris like leaves and branches with it. This debris can fill and clog your gutters and downspouts. With the debris blocking the movement of rainwater, it’s left with no option but to overflow. You can handle this problem by investing in clog-free gutters for your home or cleaning your gutters when the seasons change. This is a job you can do yourself if you’re comfortable on a ladder. You can also hire a pro to clean your gutters for about $160. 

5. Gutters Positioned Incorrectly 

During installation, gutters are lined up and placed at specific angles. Their position is important because it helps direct the flow of water down and away from your home. If your gutters aren’t aligned the right way, it can lead to overflow. If you’ve checked for debris and you have the correctly-sized gutters in the correct number, and you’re still dealing with overflowing gutters, call a gutter installation pro in your area to investigate the problem.

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