Common Gutter Problems and How to Fix Them

Did you know that the gutters and downspouts on your house are part of a water collection system? Your roof is designed so that rain, as well as melted snow and ice, runs down and collects into the gutters. The water then runs into the downspouts and down and away from the foundation of your house. Because of this, it’s important to keep your gutters and downspouts in good repair.

If your gutters are blocked or leak, for example, the water will end up right down next to your house. Not only can this cause flooding in your basement, but the excess water can also cause damage to the foundation of your home.

Unless you have installed gutter guards, the most common problem associated with this water collection system is leaves, tree branches, nuts, and gunk clogging up your gutters. Clogs occur most often when the downspout connects to the gutter. However, they can happen anywhere in a gutter. Once your gutter is clogged, the water runs over its sides instead of being channeled into the downspouts.

If you have this problem at your house, you’ll need to climb up a ladder in order to reach the gutters. You’ll also need a bucket and a small garden trowel to remove the gunk. Afterward, you should use a garden hose to thoroughly flush the gutters and downspouts clean.

Gutter guards are flat, molded plastic screens that fit over the top of your gutters. They have large slots in them that allow the water to pass freely through them. Yet, they block leaves, tree limbs, nuts, and other debris from reaching the gutters of your house. Gutter guards are relatively inexpensive. They are not difficult to install either. And they are available at your local home supply store. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the package in order to achieve the best results.

Leaking gutters are another common problem. The leaking can be caused by disconnected joints, holes, or cracks. If you notice this problem around the outside of your home, you should first conduct an inspection of the entire gutter system. That way, you can find out how many total joints, holes, or cracks need to be repaired.

Small holes or cracks in either hard plastic or galvanized metal gutters are relatively easy to repair. You can seal the damaged areas by using clear, water-resistant glue. As always, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the glue in order to achieve the best results.

Basically, though, all you’ll need to do is dry off the area around the hole or crack with an old rag. If there is any rust around the area, you can remove that with a stiff wire brush. Wipe off any residue from the rust removal with the rag. Then, apply the glue.

Larger holes can be patched by using clear, waterproof glue and a piece of thin aluminum that has been cut to fit. Follow the preparation steps above, then apply the glue. Press the patch into place in the glue. Once the glue hardens, of course, it will secure the patch into place permanently.

Did you find places in the gutters around your house that are leaking because they have become disconnected? To repair this other common problem, you’ll need to simply press the two sides back together. Either use gutter cement or a cordless drill and screws to hold the sides into place.

And finally, gutters are hung, so they slant as they run down the length of the roof of your house. They are held in place with metal hangers. These metal hangers can break after years of use. A broken hanger can cause your gutter to level out. This, in turn, can cause rain and melted snow, and ice to collect inside your gutters instead of allowing them to flow out.

To repair this problem, you’ll need to replace the broken hanger. Hangers can be found at your local home supply center. They are normally nailed onto the edge of the roof, right under the shingles.

If you need to replace more than one hanger on a section of the gutter, then you’ll need to remove all the hangers, not just the broken ones. You’ll need to rehang the entire piece. Make sure that it slants down slightly towards the downspout.

Photo of author
About the author
Ben White has written thousands of articles on everything home improvement. He has had the privilege of writing for such websites as the Huffington Post, DeWalt,, HGTV, and many others.

Leave a Comment