Improving gutter drainage is a key player in the upkeep of your home. Poor gutter drainage puts your home at high risk for water damage. Proper gutter 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 outlines the most common problems with gutters and the best way to fix your gutters.
Issue #1: Poor Gutter Drainage By Blockage
Although it’s not our favorite activity on our Spring and Fall cleaning checklist, cleaning out your gutters regularly can prevent major problems for your home. Clogged gutters can result in wood damage, foundation damage, and even roof damage! Gutters drain the water away from the home – it’s a fact that is overlooked but important!
- Wood damage: Fascia boards, the long wooden 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 wooden boards which will start to deteriorate and rot. If the siding on your home is wooden, clogged gutters can have the same impact!
- Foundation damage: Gutters have a primary function of re-routing water away from your home. Blockages in your gutter system or poorly placed downspouts cause water to pour directly around the perimeter of your home, pooling, and 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 even further water back up. However, since it’s cold, that water doesn’t necessarily run over the gutter but rather builds into ice blocks UP your roof. This ice damages shingles and allows water to penetrate underneath them.
Issue #2: Improper Gutter Pitch and Yard Slope
Drainage problems are commonly caused by the inadequate slope in your yard or 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.
- 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 will recommend that you want at least a quarter-inch of slope for every 10 feet of gutter around the home. 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 pitched properly.
- Improper yard slope: Experts recommend that the ground should drop 2-3 inches for 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 is capable of shifting or settling. 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 in other locations.
Issue #3: Downspout Issues
Downspouts are a very important piece of your gutter system and, unfortunately, they’re often forgotten in the development of new homes. How do you drain water away from your house foundation effectively? Installing downspouts is your answer. Downspouts are the longer, vertical, pipes on your home that are connected to the gutter system. The collected rainwater from the gutters is diverted towards these downspouts which carry the water away from the foundation of the home. Downspouts, like gutters, can become clogged or have improper installation locations which lead to the water being ineffectively routed away from the home. Don’t worry, downspout installations have come a long way since they’ve been put in use. Most 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.
- Improper placement: Since downspouts collect and direct the water from the gutters away from the home, it’s important to make sure 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 issues with your gutter drainage, this is a great option! A gutter guard prevents clogs by allowing water to flow into the gutter but keeping larger matter 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 type suits your needs. During your appointment, our inspectors will also assess the common gutter drainage issues mentioned above. Click here to schedule your free inspection.