Improving gutter drainage is an essential player in the upkeep of your home, and poor gutter and downspout drainage puts your home at high risk for water damage. Proper gutter drainage systems divert the flow of water away from your home and direct it towards nearby storm drain systems. If you’re a Charlotte homeowner, you’re familiar with our local spurts of heavy rain and wind and how, without proper gutter drainage, it can impact the perimeter of your home and foundation. The gutter experts at Signature Exteriors have developed a list of the most common gutter drainage issues and their remedies. If you’re experiencing severe gutter drainage concerns, give your local gutter repair experts a call to schedule an inspection.
The following items outline the most common gutter problems and how best to address them.
POOR GUTTER DRAINAGE DUE TO BLOCKAGE
Although it’s not our favorite activity on our Spring and Fall cleaning checklist, regularly cleaning out your gutters and unclogging downspouts can prevent significant problems for your home. Clogged gutters and clogged downspouts can result in wood, foundation, and even roof damage! Gutters drain the water away from your home – it’s a fact that is often overlooked but important!
- Fascia and siding damage: Fascia boards, the long wooden or composite boards that run along the lower edge of the roof, hold the gutter system onto your home. When gutters clog and water doesn’t drain properly, it overflows onto the fascia, which will deteriorate and rot. If the siding on your home is not vinyl or metal, clogged gutters can have the same impact!
- Foundation damage: Gutters primarily function by routing water away from your home. Blockages in your gutter system or poorly placed downspouts can cause water to pond around your foundation, which over time can cause cracks to form and damage to your foundation (which potentially can lead to foundation collapse!).
- Roof damage: The risk of roof damage from your clogged gutters increases in the colder winter months. Ice build-up, also called ice dams, can cause further water backup. However, since it’s cold, that water doesn’t necessarily run over the gutter but instead builds into ice blocks ON your roof. This ice damages shingles and allows water to penetrate underneath them.
IMPROPER GUTTER PITCH AND YARD SLOPE
Gutter drainage issues are commonly caused by the inadequate slope in your yard or the pitch of your gutters which prevent water from effectively flowing away from your home. If you think this may be your problem – we highly recommend calling a local professional to assess the situation and find you the best solutions. A local gutter company will test the pitch of your gutters and check your downspout placement to make sure your drainage system is designed efficiently.
- Improper gutter pitch: Although it may seem like your gutters are perfectly parallel to the lower edge of your roof, the gutters themselves are each slightly angled (or pitched) to direct the water to the nearest downspout. Gutter experts recommend at least a quarter-inch slope for every 10 feet of gutter on the run. To check this, get on a ladder after it rains and inspect your gutters. If there is standing water in the gutters, they are not appropriately pitched.
- Improper yard slope: Experts recommend that the ground should drop 2-3 inches every 10 feet away from your house’s foundation to avoid drainage trouble around your property. Although builders follow these guidelines while developing your home, the ground can shift or settle. We recommend you reach out to a local expert to see if the problem can be resolved by adding soil around your home or moving soil to other locations.
Installing downspouts is your answer. Downspouts are the longer, vertical pipes on your home that are connected to the gutters. The collected rainwater from the gutters moves towards these downspouts, which carry the water away from the home’s foundation. Downspouts, like gutters, can become clogged or have improper installation locations, leading to the water not moving away from the home. Don’t worry. Downspouts have come a long way since their introduction. Many homeowners choose to match their downspouts with their trim color.
- Clogged downspouts: If you notice that water is running over your gutters but not out of your downspout, there’s a chance that your downspout(s) are clogged. They can become clogged with leaves, branches, and other debris from your roof. If the clog isn’t easily accessible, we recommend that you remove the downspout (or hire a professional to do so), place a water hose inside the downspout, and turn the water on to clean it out. Unclogging your downspouts is an important step in cleaning your gutters.
- Improper downspout placement: Since downspouts collect and direct the water from the gutters away from the home, it’s essential to ensure that the downspout is placed correctly, so the water doesn’t flow back towards the home or erode the soil where it’s placed. You can look into installing splash blocks directly underneath the downspout to prevent soil erosion and look into downspout extensions if you need the water routed further away from your home.
PRO TIP – INSTALL GUTTER GUARDS
Gutter guards are designed to prevent gutters from getting clogged due to debris like leaves, branches, and pine needles. If you’re experiencing gutter drainage issues, this is a great option! Gutter guards prevent clogs by allowing water to flow into the gutter but keeping the larger debris out. There are a variety of types of gutter guards. The gutter experts at Signature Exteriors will gladly schedule a free inspection to help you determine which style suits your needs. Our inspectors will also assess the common gutter drainage issues mentioned above during your appointment. Click here to schedule your free inspection.