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Common Gutter Guard Issues

October 6, 2023
Jeremy Hough
Read Time
3 minutes

You’ve experienced the struggle; it’s raining cats and dogs as you rush to the front door and notice water cascading over the gutters, splashing onto the ground. Unfortunately, you’re experiencing one of the most common gutter issues. Even more unfortunately, gutters have a habit of choosing the wrong moment to make a point.

This can happen to anyone, even those who clean out their gutters regularly. So, here’s a list of the likely surprises you should expect from your gutters one of these days – and how to fix them.

Besides causing the obvious mess, a leaking gutter is a potential danger to the house and its occupants. The overflowing water may seep into the house’s siding and basement, creating foundation damage and a perfect storm for mold to grow, which can be a major health hazard.

The point to remember is that a leaking gutter is mostly a symptom and not the root problem. The real problem is likely to be:

Gutter Types

There are a wide range of gutter types to choose from for your home. However, the most popular gutter types are typically made of aluminum or steel. Over time, the weight and movement of water causes the metal to warp – with the softer aluminum giving in earlier than the sturdier steel. The deformed metal then pulls away or sags from the house, leading to the leakage.

Gutter Installation and Design

The gutter installation process requires an understanding of, among other considerations, the right kind and spacing of hangers and the correct tilt of the entire system. A leak may therefore be caused by poor design or gutter installation, which is one more reason you have to be careful when selecting a gutter system setup or gutter protection.

Age of System

It catches up with all of us eventually, even with metal. So, if your gutter has given you long and faithful service, it makes sense that time will eventually take its toll.

There are some other fairly common gutter problems. The ones to look out for are:

Ugly Gutters

This is more about aesthetics than performance. It happens when the gutter sags out of shape or fades in color, making the entire building appear gritty and haggard. It is a problem mainly caused by a combination of age and material exposure to the vagaries of weather. The ugly gutter is usually heralded by the symptoms of peeling paint, rust and stains behind the eaves. When a gutter system sags or falls out of alignment, a multitude of issues can cause problems, as the rainwater is free to run anywhere and everywhere it wants. The solution: Get the gutters replaced.


This is a maintenance problem that causes water to overflow the gutter or spill over the downspout. It’s the natural consequence of not cleaning the gutter on a regular basis. The accumulation of leaves, twigs, silt and other debris degrade into a slimy mess that weighs down on the gutter and also blocks the natural flow of rainwater.

Backups and blocks caused by leaf buildup are probably the most common gutter issues. If the gutter system on your home is not regularly cleaned out, you have a recipe for disaster, as leaves, twigs or mud can create havoc on your home. If the gutters become blocked, they can build up with water and sag or completely detach from the roof and home.

Water build-up from clogged gutters can easily affect both the interior and exterior of your home. Clogs can cause water to seep through the basement, which can cause mold. When water is overrunning the walls of your gutters, many different issues can arise to give you a headache.

Possible Solutions:

Clean Your Gutters: Neglecting your gutters can become an expensive problem, as it’s easier and cheaper to clean your gutters on a regular schedule than waiting for a problem to arise. The most common gutter issue arises when homeowners don’t thoroughly clean out the gutters at least twice a year. Just like anything else, well-maintained gutters rarely have problems, and when they do, there is ample warning.

Install Gutter Protection: If you aren’t interested or able to clean out your gutters regularly, a better solution would be to protect your gutter system with gutter protection. By getting them professionally installed, you can also ensure that you’ll never have to climb the ladder to clean out your gutters again and risk falling and injuring yourself. Gutter protection products work for a plethora of gutter types so you can be sure that your gutters are clear of debris.

Now that you know the possible issues lurking, before you know it the rain and leaves will be falling. The question is, are you prepared? Is your home ready to handle the elements?