Reasons Why Your Home's Gutters May Overflow

Gutters should catch the water draining from the roof and transport it safely away from your home's foundation. When they fail, water damage can occur to the home, particularly to the foundation, siding, and roof eaves. It can also be a nuisance, since water from the roof could end up dripping on you as you enter or leave the house. If your gutters aren't working properly, the following guide can help you figure out why.


Clogged, dirty gutters are the most common reasons for overflow during a rain storm. For most people, cleaning the leaves and debris out of the gutters in spring and fall is sufficient to keep them clear and draining well. If you have a lot of trees overhanging your home, you may need to clean them more often -- particularly when the trees are shedding their leaves. Make sure that debris is also rinsed out of the downspouts when you clean your gutters. Installing gutter guards can minimize the need to deep clean your gutters. These mesh covers fit on top of the gutter trough, which allows water to pass through while keeping out debris. You will still need to periodically sweep any collected debris off the top of the guards, but this can be easier than a full gutter cleaning.

Sizing issues

Gutters come in different sizes and widths. If you live in an area prone to deluges that drop a lot of water at once, a wider and deeper gutter may be necessary. If the gutter trough is too small and narrow, it will quickly overflow due to the shear volume of water coursing off your roof. In areas where a down pour is uncommon, the smaller gutters can be sufficient. Downspouts also come in different sizes, and choosing an overly small diameter downspout leads to the same problem -- overflowing gutters.

Placement concerns

When properly placed, the gutter trough should sit under the roof eaves so that the eaves so only about two-thirds of the trough protrudes further from the eaves. This allows water to flow off the roof and into the gutter, while accounting from some splashing. Gutters placed too far outward can have water flow behind them, which damages fascia boards, soffits, and siding. When gutters are tucked too far under the eaves, the water flows over the top and impacts the safety of the foundation. Adjusting placement may be all that is needed to improve your home's gutters.

Contact a gutter company such as Raingutter Specialists for more help.