Possible Reasons Why Your Gutters Are Dripping
Although the problem may not seem all that major at first glance, even a small leak in your gutters or downspouts carries with it the potential to cause serious issues for you and your home. From potentially ruining your siding, soffit and fascia, to causing flooding and even seriously damaging your foundation, leaky gutters are truly no joke and could easily end up leading to huge repair expenses. This makes it important that, as a homeowner, you understand what might be causing your gutters to leak so that you can begin taking the proper steps to repair the problem and also prevent future leaks.
Diagnosing the Causes of Leaky Gutters
The question of why are my gutters dripping is a common one, and one that's asked of most gutter companies on an almost daily basis.
It's generally best to have the professionals come out to find the cause of your leaky gutters. The problems are often nuanced and there are multiple issues at play in many cases. Not to mention, they'll be able to fix the problem quickly and safely.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the five most common causes of leaky gutters we come across on a daily basis at Ned Stevens of Long Island.
5 Common Causes of Leaky Gutters and How to Fix Them
Since you surely know exactly where your gutter is leaking from, you should obviously start your inspection in that location, paying close attention to signs of any of the following common gutter problems.
Clogs are one of the most common causes of leaky gutters. Unless you regularly clean them out, your gutters can quickly fill up with leaf litter and debris. Luckily, clogged gutters and downspouts are quite easy to spot. In most cases, you'll notice the problem as soon as you get a close look in your gutters.
Clogs also generally manifest themselves in the same way, by causing the water to back up and pour out over the sides and edges of the gutter instead of out the downspout. If you notice a clog in the gutter, you should be able to easily remove the offending debris by hand. However, if it's your downspout that’s clogged, you'll usually need to completely disconnect it from the gutter and the house in order to properly clean it out.
Keeping your gutters and downspouts free from debris is an incredibly important task. The problem is that when the water backs up due to a clog, this could potentially cause it to leak through your roof as well. Therefore, it's important that you have your gutters cleaned at least once a year.
2. Cracks and Holes
Even the sturdiest materials can eventually develop small cracks or holes due to weathering, making this another issue you'll need to be on the lookout for. In most cases, these will manifest themselves in fairly minor leaks, which can eventually become bigger over time.
Should you notice the gutter leaking in one or a few small-ish spots, you'll want to carefully inspect the area to see if you can spot either of these problems. If you can't see anything with your naked eye, you can also try pouring water into the gutter and then making a note of every spot where it leaks out.
Most small cracks and holes can usually be fixed by applying a waterproof sealant or caulk over the damage. However, it may be necessary to replace the entire section of gutter to fix larger holes or cracks.
3. Improperly Sealed or Separated Joints
Over time, the joints connecting each section of gutter could eventually start to separate. Therefore, you'll want to closely inspect the entire joint should you notice a leak occurring around in. In some cases, you may easily be able to see the separation, while other times you may only notice the problem after pouring in some water.
Many joint leaks can be fixed by simply removing and then replacing the old sealant, as it may no longer be watertight. Nonetheless, sometimes replacing the joint may be the only fix.
4. Improper Slope
Your gutters should be installed with a slight downward slope that allows the water to easily flow towards the downspouts. However, gutters will often begin to sag over time, either because the fasteners have begun to come loose or simply due to the weight of the water.
Unlike many of the other problems, improper slope isn't always so easy to fix as it usually requires having either the sagging sections or the entire gutter re-hung.
5. Loose Fasteners
Loose fasteners can also cause other problems, even when they don't lead to sagging. The gutters are affixed to the fascia boards using some form of screws, nails or hangers, which are usually driven straight through the side of the gutter itself and into the boards. When these become loose, they can cause small leaks to develop around the fastener, with the result of water pouring out of the rear of the gutter and directly onto the fascia.
The problem is that this can quickly cause the fascia boards to rot, making it important that you correct this problem as soon as you spot it. Otherwise, you may end up having to have your fascia replaced along with your gutters re-hung.
If you find that any gutter fasteners are loose, you may need to have them replaced. However, sometimes, it's enough to tighten the fasteners and then apply caulking or sealant around them to ensure that the holes are watertight.
Why Are My Gutters Dripping: The Final Word
As you can see, gutter leaks can be caused by a range of different problems—some of them quite minor and some not so much. Nonetheless, each cause tends to have its own tell-tale signs, making it all that much easier to identify the culprit.
Not all gutter problems can be fixed on your own. Even if you can fix them, it's often not worth the time or effort it will take you. If you're on Long Island, just contact us and we'll get the job done ASAP, for a competitive price and at time that's convenient for you.