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Common Rain Gutter Problems and How to Fix Them

Installing New Gutters After Damage from Blocked Gutters - All Climate Roofing

Gutters have one job-to drain water away from your roof and foundation. This makes their upkeep critical for roof maintenance. When leaves or debris build up in your gutter, your gutters can no longer filter water away from your roof. These clogs leave your home susceptible to leaks and mold growth.

Prevent roof damage by avoiding these common rain gutter problems and following the recommended solutions.

Incorrectly Pitched Gutters

Gutters should drop a quarter inch every 10 feet in order to keep water flowing toward downspouts. You can tell if your drain has a poor slope by looking in the gutter after a rainstorm. If you can see standing water, you need to re-pitch your gutters.

First, measure the slope from the peak to the downspout. Use a chalk line as a reference of how your gutters should slope. This chalk will help you find gutters out of alignment. You can either push these gutters back into place or rehang a gutter section. If you can’t find the problem or don’t want to try to fix the problem yourself, call a roofing professional for help.

Draining Water near Your Foundation

Your downspout should extend four to five feet away from your home’s foundation. Otherwise, the water will drain directly into your basement. If you find that your downspout drains too close to your foundation, consider installing a gutter extension. These devices discharge the water a safe distance from your foundation.


Clogs cause a vast majority of gutter problems. The built-up sand or leaves create dams where moisture leaks onto your roof or into your home’s foundation. This could result in mold or leaks.

You can tell if your gutters have debris clogging them if you see overflowing water on the sides or joints or if water doesn’t drain from the downspout.

To clean your gutters, first clean the debris from the gutters. Then use a garden hose to flush out clogged areas. If you’re not comfortable on ladders, consider hiring a professional.

You should clean your gutters at least twice a year to avoid major roof or foundation problems. If you live in an area surrounded by sand or dirt, you should frequently check your gutters to prevent sand buildup. Homeowners with trees surrounding their home should check once a year, typically in the fall when leaves tend to fall the most.

You may also want to consider gutter covers for persistently clogged gutters.


Extra weight from sand, leaves, or standing water could cause your gutters to sag and drop away from the fascia. The problem usually originates from gutter hanger damages. These pieces secure your gutter to your home. The hangers may separate from the wood, deteriorate, or collapse.

This problem has a simple and affordable solution. Hangers typically cost nearly $10 a piece and the fasteners cost nearly $1 each. Once you buy the necessary parts, replace old hangers or install more hangers to increase weight capacity.


Untreated clogs along gutters can result in leaks and holes. Once your gutter has a leak, your foundation is susceptible to water damage or mold growth. You can seal leaky joints with caulk on the inside of the gutter. Fill minor holes with gutter sealant, and fix larger leaks with patches that keep the water flowing properly. You can find drain patches at most hardware stores, or you can use metal flashing as a patch.

On those rare occasions when California temperatures dip below 37° F, ice dams could cause leaks or cracks. You should call a professional to fix these types of damages.

Now that you know the basics to gutter maintenance, use these suggestions to keep your foundation and roof in good condition.


  1. Andre Beluchi on June 14, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Knowing that the downspout should be four to five feet away from the house foundation sure got my attention. Reading that part of the article had me thinking about checking my own rain gutter and seeing if they have been placed four to five feet away. I say this because my father talked to me about a huge puddle that was formed away from the downspout.

  2. Sutton Turner on February 8, 2018 at 10:33 am

    I never knew that untreated gutter clogs can result in leaks or holes. My mom is looking into fixing or replacing her gutter before this coming spring. I appreciate the information on rain gutter problems and solutions.

  3. Gerty Gift on March 28, 2018 at 9:04 am

    I appreciate you pointing out that it’s important to clean out your drains, no matter where you live. I grew up in Arizona and I can’t remember having ever cleaned out our gutters during that time. I assumed that it was because we didn’t get rain, but I know better now. I will be sure to clean those out to help maintain our home.