When Could My Gutters Overflow Or Cause Roof Leaks?

When Could My Gutters Overflow Or Cause Roof Leaks?

As you enjoy your spring days outdoors under a glorious Colorado sun, perhaps you glance up at your Denver-area home’s gutters every now and then. Can gutters overflow? Should I be worried about my home’s gutters? If your gutters are already overflowing, the questions are probably different: Can gutters cause roof leaks? What can I do about my gutters?


One of the surest ways to see your Fort Collins-area home’s value drop is to neglect its exterior. Overflowing, clogged, or poorly performing gutters are easily diagnosed:

  • Do you see nasty streaks and stains running down your home’s outside walls?
  • Is the decorative, horizontal fascia board stained, discolored, or rotten?
  • Are your gutters detaching?

You can boost your home’s curb appeal and help maintain value by maintaining your home’s gutters. The visible damage may affect the aesthetics of your home, but overflowing, clogged, or poorly installed gutters cause even greater, more expensive damage. 


When water is not diverted away from your home by gutters and downspouts, that water will cause problems:

  • Water can wash down and damage your home’s siding
  • Water can soak into windows
  • Water can wash down the walls and rot exterior molding around windows and doors
  • Clogged gutters can leak at every gutter seam and joint
  • The sheer weight of water can pull gutters away from your home, causing even greater damage
  • Water can fall onto and ruin plantings, flower beds, and decorative shrubs
  • Water can saturate the soil next to your home, destroying your home’s foundations

Of course, weakened foundations can be fixed, but only at a considerable cost. An insurance claim for the damage is unlikely to be upheld if an insurance adjuster can show neglect; keeping your gutters clean, clear, and functioning smoothly is a smart investment. 


Why do gutters overflow? Three reasons:

  1. Clogs from organic matter
  2. Improper pitch
  3. Incorrect installation

These issues can be resolved when you reach out to a local, reliable gutter contractor. 


If your home sits beneath shade trees and conifers, their leaves and needles often drop into the gutters. Over time, this organic debris mixes with the shingle granules constantly falling off your roof. The organic and inorganic debris forms a thick mat that builds up and leads to blocked downspouts and full gutters. 

With no place for water to go as it glides off your roof, the water flows out of the gutter. It falls behind the gutter, between the fascia board and the gutter. The fascia board can rot away, exposing your roof and attic to water infiltration. As the water continues to drain, it flows down your home’s outside walls. 

If the water flows over the front of your gutters, it leaves behind organic stains, falls onto your landscaping in a straight line that batters your bushes and flowers, and soaks into the foundation. 


Water weighs 62.43 pounds per cubic foot. One linear foot of a 5-inch K-style aluminum gutter holds 1.2 gallons (or 74.92 pounds) of water when full. 

A 30-foot stretch of clogged, water-filled gutter—could weigh 2,247.6 pounds! That is more than a ton of water! 

All the weight of all that water will pull your gutters away from your home if you ignore the problem. 

The remedy to clogged, debris-filled gutters also involves some basic math:

  1. Contact your local gutter contractor to arrange an inexpensive cleaning twice a year (spring and autumn).
  2. Discuss options to prevent clogs, like gutter guards or leaf protectors.
  3. Compare the cost of this remedy with the costs of weakened foundations; that is some easy math. 


Not all gutters overflow from clogs. Sometimes your home’s gutters could be pitched, or angled, incorrectly. Too shallow a pitch and water cannot flow to the downspouts. Gutters are never truly horizontal. They must slope at least one-quarter of an inch in 10 feet. 

Too great a slope is also unhelpful, as the water could overwhelm your downspouts, leading to overflows at your home’s corners. 

Perfectly installed, properly pitched gutters can sag and deteriorate over time. When did you last have a qualified gutter contractor inspect and maintain your gutters? You might simply need a “tune-up,” with the technician tightening brackets and ensuring proper pitch. 


The third reason for gutters to overflow is incorrect installation height. If a gutter is attached too low to your home’s fascia board, the water flowing off your roof can miss the gutter entirely, bypassing it and dropping onto your lawn. Water that overshoots the gutters will never get channeled into downspouts.

Red Diamond Roofing provides homeowners in the Denver and Fort Collins areas complete roofing, gutter, and exterior home services. Connect with us today to see how we can improve the performance of your home’s gutters and boost curb appeal.


Posted in Exteriors
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