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How To Tell If I Have Clogged Gutters?

Date: May 6, 2022

Gutters are hollow lengths of material installed on roofs to direct water flowing from the roof primarily. They are made of different materials and may come in different shapes, connected at the ends that attach to a downfall.

If you have clogged gutters, they may be prevented from fully performing their function due to the blockage. This has various consequences, but there are early signs that may prevent clogging.

The Form of Gutters:

Gutters are installed along the fascia boards of the roof. The fascia board is the vertical length of wood that covers the eave ends.

They are attached to a downfall at junctions or corners that drain the water into a collection tank or a drainage system.

They are closed at the ends by end caps and held to the fascia board by fascia brackets.

Function of Gutters 

Gutters collect and direct water flowing down the roof to downspouts that drain it. This small but significant function, when stopped, has various consequences.

The effects are felt not only by the gutters but by the surrounding environment.

How To Tell If I Have Clogged Gutters?

If you notice your gutters and bowing this could be a sign that they're clogged

Clogged gutters harm your house, and some show immediately or over time. The damage progressively gets worse and is costly to fix, so seek professional help as soon as possible if you notice clogged gutters!

These signs are noticeable in the following areas:

The Gutters:

This is where the first signs of clogging will show. The gutters are way above our heads, and we can’t tell what is happening until we inspect them or the damage shows itself.

Some of the signs of clogged gutters include:

  • Overflowing water
  • Bent or broken gutters 
  • Sagging gutters 
  • Life on the gutters 

You may have a thriving ecosystem that has even developed an ecological niche in your gutters. These plants and animals may have other effects on your house, such as:

Moss Growth on Roofing Shingles

  1. Allergens spread into the house
  2. Pest infestation in the house 

So, the good-looking representation of nature in your gutters, like bird nests and green moss, may damage your house. Creeping insects around your gutters may also indicate life in your gutters. 

Water running off your gutters when it is raining may signify clogged gutters. If this is the case, you should have it looked at as soon as possible. 

Downspouts

Downspouts drain water from the gutters and direct it away from the foundation. If you have clogged gutters, water will begin to pool, negatively affecting the house.

It is also important to inspect the downspouts when cleaning gutters. This can be done by tossing a coin into them to see if it will emerge from the other side.

The House

The house is where the secondary signs of gutter damage show. If your gutters manage to show no significant visible signs of clogging, this is where the effects will be felt.

Water running off from the gutters into the house may affect it in the following ways:

Stains along the vinyl siding

If you notice that your vinyl siding and window panes have stains no matter how much you try to clean them, that may signify an overflowing gutter.

If it happens once or twice, you may attribute it to excessive rainfall, but you should check for clogged gutters once it becomes a common occurrence.

When water constantly drips along the vinyl siding, it may lead to water damage over time. The vinyl sidings may start to rot, and fixing them becomes an expensive, time-consuming, and unnecessary mistake.

Drip marks along the house walls 

No matter how much you clean your exterior walls and repaint them, drip marks from faulty gutters won’t go away unless you address the condition of the gutters. Most of these drip marks may occur at the top and thin out at the bottom.

Basement flooding 

One day, you may sleep through heavy rainfall and wake up to a flooded basement. Waterproofing the basement may not be your one-time fix, but the problem may be from above.

Flooded gutters cause water pooling around the foundation that drains into the basement. Getting water out of your basement may be a headache, especially if there is water damage to appliances and other objects. 

Rotten fascia boards 

The fascia acts as attachment points for the gutters. A compromised fascia board will not effectively hold the gutters, making them bend from the weight of the water and the weakened fascia boards.

Water flooding in the gutters prolongs contact with the fascia boards, causing water damage and rot. A weak fascia board stresses other adjacent fascia boards, making them collapse even though they are in good condition.

Rotten fascia boards also make the brackets of the gutters loosely attached and may cause the gutters to fall from the weight of the water.

Weak roof

When water seeps up to your roof from flooded gutters, it weakens its interior by causing rot. This causes a shift in roof stability that may collapse when it can’t hold the designed load.

Your roof may start sinking in during winter and storms from the weight of the snow and water. Certain areas of your roof may sink in with snow and water pooling, making your house subject to water damage and leakage.

Leaking ceiling 

Water may get into the roof from pooling, a weakened roof, and flooded gutters. This water drains into the interior roof and causes brown stains that appear as circular stains on the ceiling.

When the ceiling starts to rot, water may start leaking, and eventually, the ceiling may give way and flood the house.

Drip marks along the interior walls

The early signs of interior leakage show along the walls of the house. Water pooling in the ceiling may empty into the house through the cornice and the ceiling corners.

The water dries up to leave drip marks along the walls, which is a sign of a leaking roof.

Peeling paint 

When you notice peeling paint or patches on your wall, this could be a sign of water damage. This could happen inside the house or on the exterior walls.

Water dripping along the walls from an overflowing gutter or a leaking roof makes the paint detach from the wall due to temperature differences. It can also cause the paint to peel when it soaks into the wall.

Empty water collection points

It may be questionable to notice that there is little or no water in any tanks but so much rainfall. This can result from blocked downspouts or gutters that direct water to the tanks.

Clogged gutters may also lead to certain medical conditions. This can happen in a few ways. 

  1. Pest infestation 

Pests may find a niche in clogged gutters that offer food and a breeding ground for other organisms. This leads to an increase in pests and critters that inhabit the roof.

Some of them may cause damage to the interior roof and house as they spread in numbers. An unexplainable number of bugs around your house may be a sign of clogged gutters.

  • Allergies 

Humid and damp conditions encourage mold to grow. When the water that floods the gutters penetrates the underlayment and roof deck, it causes dampness in the interior roof. 

This wood creates a suitable environment for mold growth, distributing spores that cause allergies to the house’s inhabitants. 

Environment

Signs of clogged gutters may also be seen around the house. If you don’t notice the damage from the gutters and the house, you should look around your house for signs of damage. 

The open eye won’t miss various tell-tale signs:

Soil erosion

Water falling directly on the ground displaces the soil, leaving holes on the ground, which removes the top protective covering of the soil. This is the nutritive part of the soil, and therefore, plants cease to grow around these parts.

Growing vegetation

You may have flourishing vegetation around your house from the constant irrigation from the overflowing water from the gutters. 

Missing patches of grass around the house

When water falls directly from the roof onto a grass-covered area, the grass will act as a soil cover and protect it by holding it in place.

You may notice a stunted growth in the grass around the house, which diminishes with time to leave patches of soil. 

How to Prevent Clogged Gutters

A roofer cleaning clogged gutters

The devastating effects of clogged gutters can be avoided with a few simple measures. 

  • Maintenance 

Once a month, hire a professional or climb on your roof to clear out any accumulated debris in the gutters. As water from the roof falls into the gutters, the water and gravity draw leaves to the gutters, causing a build-up.

Water then sweeps the debris into the downspouts, blocking them and, as a result, clogging the gutters.

Leaf blowers can be used to remove loose material, and you can handpick any debris gathered in clumps. Finally, hose down any remaining debris that is stubbornly refusing to budge; in doing so, you will also be cleaning out the downspouts.

  • Install gutter guards

These coverings or screens are mounted on gutters to allow water to pass through while preventing debris from entering the drainage system. They assist in preventing clogging of the gutters and overflowing of the downspouts, which can make cleaning the gutters more difficult.

They also require frequent maintenance to remove any debris accumulated in the gutters over time.

  • Install inserts

These are materials made of foam installed in the gutters to allow water to go through but prevent debris and other solid particles. They also require regular cleaning.

Safety First!

Generally, when it comes to cleaning your gutters, it’s a task you can do yourself. There are some safety measures that you must put in place to avoid any injuries. 

Some of them include:

  • Use a good ladder

Don’t use a ladder that may give way in the middle due to the weight. Set up the ladder against the house but not at the gutters since this will damage them.

Have someone spot you while you use the ladder, or ensure that it is safe and immobile at the bottom. You shouldn’t use a shaky ladder when you’re on top.

  • Wear good gloves

Picking up debris by hand from the gutters may injure your hand. This is due to the presence of twigs and small objects that may puncture or cut your hand.

A leather glove is highly recommended since it is strong and tough.

  • Wear shoes with a good grip

You risk falling off when walking on a roof, especially during the wet season. You risk the chance of suffering fall harm both on and off the roof.

Rubber-soled shoes offer a good grip, which will be helpful while you walk about on the roof of the building.

FAQs

Do ice and water protector offer protection against gutter-related leaks?

Ice and water shields are secondary protective underlayments installed on vulnerable parts of a roof. Some of these parts include eaves, rakes, valleys, and flashings.

Installing them at the eave end of the roof offers protection against water damage in case of flooding in the gutters. Although they are designed to serve that function, they should not be a permanent solution to gutter-related flooding.

They give you time to have your gutters looked at and fixed before any significant roof damage that causes leaks is done.

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