Common roof gutter defects
Back-flowing gutters: water falling off the roof edge runs behind the gutter or between the gutter and the building fascia rather than falling into the gutter.
Clogged gutters lead to overflows, water spillage around the building, water entry, as well as gutter damage. Gutter screens and shields may be installed to reduce the frequency of gutter cleaning, but these components are by no means a magic bullet nor a substitute for regular gutter inspection and cleaning, and if not properly installed they make gutter cleaning more difficult.
Corroded, leaky gutters, most common with copper gutters and galvanized steel gutters.
Roof drip edge errors: roof drip edge behind gutter - sends roof runoff behind rather than into gutter; roof drainage runs behind the gutter, spilling by the building.
Improperly sloped gutters - overflow rather than draining, added weight increases sag and loosening or falling-off gutters. Check that the gutters are properly sloped - Roof gutters should slope at least 1-inch in every 200 inches of run.
Missing gutters: fallen off, or never installed at some roof edges where needed; missing from upper or secondary roofs.
Loose gutters, failing hangers, falling off, or sagging; insufficient number of gutter supports or hangers; as gutters pull away from the building roof drainage runs behind the gutter, spilling by the building
"Gutter Overshooting" or roof spillage passing over the gutter due to roof slope, gutter placement, or high-volume drainage at roof valleys, or caused by shingles extended too far into gutters.
Gutter Painting needed: galvanized steel gutters and downspouts need to be kept painted to resist corrosion and leakage. Painting the gutter interior surface and using moisture-resistant paints may extend the gutter life.
Gutter sagging: gutters that are sagging or lack slope towards the downspouts will drain too slowly and become heavy with water and debris, leading to loose or falling gutters as well
- Gutter slope: gutters lack adequate slope, are too flat, or slope the wrong way, away from downspout drains
Undersized gutters - too small for the area of roof drained.
Ice damaged gutters: ice knocks gutters off of the building
Steps To Identifying Downspout Defects
Downspout empties too close to the building, concentrating water against the foundation, a very likely source of basement or crawl space water entry.
Downspout empties onto soil that slopes back towards the building.
Downspout connections facing wrong way - leaks.
Downspout buried sections using perforated pipe near the building.
Downspouts connected to footing drains, building interior drains, floor drains, or sewer system (storm drain connections are ok). This is a common but serious mistake made by uninformed builders. Adding the load of roof runoff to building foundation drains overloads that drain system and invites basement or crawl space water entry and even flooding. A basement flood from this mistake can happen very suddenly, often less than 10 years after new construction, when a hand full of leaves or other debris enters and clogs the footing drain system through the gutter and downspout system.
Downspouts clogged at gutter connection, elbows, or anywhere in their routing.
Insufficient size or number of downspouts to handle roof drainage water volume. In general, provide a downspout for every 35-40' of gutter length. More downspouts may be needed around complex roof structures.