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Five Gutter Problems and How to Fix Them

Thursday, December 10th, 2020
gutter problems

If home gutter problems occur, consider this statistic: Close to 1,000 gallons of water runs off the roof of a 1,500 square foot home during an inch of rainfall. Defects in the system of gutters and downspouts will become evident as this considerable volume of water stresses all components. Gutter problems that result can cause water leakage inside the home, deteriorate exterior siding, and even potentially damage the foundation of the house. Here’s a summary of five common gutter problems:

  • Leaky joints. Gutter problems often occur at joints between segments. Standing water trapped inside a clogged gutter is very heavy. This weight gradually pulls gutter segments apart at joints, triggering chronic leakage. To prevent gutter leakage, keep gutters clear of debris that clogs free flow.   
  • Gutter spillage. A gutter segment may gradually pull away from mounting screws securing it to the house. This will cause spillage down the wall as the detached segment tilts to one side. Check the condition of mounting hardware annually and repair or replace when necessary.   
  • Frequent clogs. Leaves and twigs may clog the gutter and/or downspout. Trimming back overhanging limbs helps reduce the accumulation of leaves and debris on the roof. Commercially available add-ons such as gutter screens are also available that allow runoff from the roof to enter the gutter while screening out leaves and other debris.
  • Inadequate slope. Gutters must be slightly sloped so water flows in the proper direction and volume into the downspout. This prevents gutter problems related to pooling inside gutter segments. For proper free flow of roof runoff, the slope of segments should be slanted 1/4-inch downward per every 10 feet of gutter length.  
  • Drainage issues. Gutter downspouts should not discharge water on the ground directly below. This may deeply saturate soil adjacent to the house and damage the foundation over an extended time period. The bottom segment of the downspout should ideally extend three feet outward from the house for safe discharge of water. Downspout extensions are commercially available to fit residential downspouts. 

How to Prevent Water Damage With Proper Home Drainage

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

water drainageRuptured indoor plumbing is a crisis with a high water damage potential to your home. Another less conspicuous external source, silent seepage, may be every bit as damaging over the long term to your home. Rainfall and/or ground water can be insidious natural forces that act against the structure of your house, 24/7/365—even when you’re unaware of it. Proper drainage that conveys water away from the home is the primary preventive measure against damage and deterioration.

Resolving drainage issues means dealing with three factors:

  • Improper grading around the perimeter of the house.
  • Inadequate/faulty dispersal of roof run-off during rainy conditions.
  • Natural ground water rising beneath the foundation.

Grade away from the house

Ideally, the ground around your house should slope downward to promote good drainage and minimize seepage into your house, foundation or basement. Most experts recommend creating a slope that extends at least three feet from the exterior wall at a descending grade of one inch per foot.

If your surrounding landscape contour slopes steeply toward your house, installation of a french drain adds additional drainage capacity. Consisting of a gravel-filled trench with a perforated pipe, the drain collects water and channels it elsewhere out onto the property or out to the street.

Clean gutters and extend downspouts

One inch of rainfall on a typical 1,000 sq. ft. roof creates over 600 gallons of runoff. Clogged gutters will overflow, over-saturating soil directly beneath, which deteriorates the foundation and basement walls. The cascading water also seeps behind siding and infiltrates exterior walls.

Gutter downspouts should extend at least three feet from the house. For better drainage and dispersal further away, bury downspout extensions six feet or longer into a gravel bed covered with topsoil.

Remove ground water

A high water table beneath the house may be a natural feature of local geology. Rising water deteriorates the foundation and causes basement seepage. A sump pump, installed into the house’s foundation or basement floor, collects rising ground water and automatically pumps it to a discharge point outdoors.

3 Signs of a Drainage Problem in the Home

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Signs of a drainage problem may be subtle or glaring, but the long-term consequences are always hard to ignore. Homes are built to keep water out. When something goes awry in construction or maintenance, however, household water damage and/or toxic mold growth may result. Prevention is always the more cost-effective approach to all water damage issues, so be alert to these telltale signs of a drainage problem around your home and get professional advice promptly:

signs of a drainage problemOverflowing Gutters

Proper drainage from the roof during rain and snowmelt is vital to protect against water damage. When gutters overflow, water runs down external walls that aren’t constructed to repel a continuous cascade of water. Very quickly, water penetrates siding and interior wall spaces and begins the process of deteriorating wooden structural components and triggering mold growth. The sight of gutters overflowing means they’re clogged with debris such as fallen leaves, improperly pitched to drain water properly, or just too small for the square footage of roof they’re supposed to drain.

Pooling Near The Foundation

When the landscape around the house is properly graded, water flows away from the foundation perimeter. When the landscape slopes upward from the foundation, however, water pools around the house and continuously saturates the soil adjacent to the foundation and basement walls. This constant water source seeps into the house through basement walls and cracks in the foundation.

Rising Ground Water

You can’t do much about the height of the natural water table beneath your house. However, rising ground water exerts hydrostatic pressure on the underside of the foundation, eroding and permeating the concrete, seeping through cracks and causing a continuously damp basement. A properly-installed drain tile system can convey ground water away from the house before it penetrates the basement. A sump pump installed in a basin in the basement floor also provides vital protection against acute ground water intrusion, especially during times of heavy rain or melting snow.

If you see signs of a drainage problem around your house, talk to the professionals at Rytech about options to prevent water damage.

How to Protect Your Home From Winter Storms to Avoid Water Damage

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Protect Your Home From Winter StormsWinter storm protection and water damage prevention go hand in hand. During the cold months to come, weather conditions will present season-specific threats that tend to increase the risk of household damage due to water intrusion. Any time of year,  the best strategy for water damage recovery is to take adequate precautions to prevent it in the first place. (more…)

5 Signs That Stopped Up Gutters and Downspouts Are Causing Water Damage

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

clogged gutters and downspoutsWater damage from clogged gutters is one of the most common but least expected home maintenance issues. The status quo inside gutters is generally invisible to most homeowners. Gutter problems often aren’t evident until heavy rainfall causes conspicuous overflow. Once the gutters are no longer conveying roof runoff to the downspouts so it can be properly diverted from the home, a number of repercussions occur, and all of them are bad for the structure of your house.

Here are five signs that water damage from clogged gutters may be an ongoing problem with every rainfall:

  1. Visible overflow during heavy rains. A waterfall cascade from any gutter means a blockage somewhere in the system. Note that the actual clog may be distant from the site of the overflow, including inside a vertical downspout.
  2. Unexplained water in the basement. A waterfall caused by a clogged gutter permeates the ground directly below, saturating the soil adjacent to foundation walls. Concrete foundations can’t resist chronic water inundation, and moisture will eventually infiltrate the basement through cracks or porous concrete.
  3. Sagging or collapsing gutters. Gutters aren’t constructed to continuously support standing water, nor heavy sodden material like wet leaves. When a gutter is observed to be pulling away from attachment points, stress from a clog is usually the reason.
  4. Water inside the home. Exterior siding isn’t made to resist a torrent of water running down its surface. Rainwater gushing from a clogged gutter often cascades down the wall, permeates the interior wall void, then leaks into living spaces.
  5. Telltale marks. Overflowing water from slow or clogged gutters will erode deep lines into the landscape below, which persist long after the rainfall stops.

For more information on preventing and treating water damage from clogged gutters, contact Rytech, Inc.

Image via Shutterstock.com

6 Tips for Management Companies to Protect Property from Mold Damage

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

mold damageMold prevention tips for property management help property managers maintain a safe and healthy environment for tenants. One of the most serious threats to that mission is the presence of toxic mold in a structure.  (more…)

Keep Your Eye on These Areas of Your Home to Prevent Winter Water Damage

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

winter water damageAlthough Spring is right around the corner,  winter water damage poses particular concerns to homeowners in climates who are receiving their last batches of icy weather of the season. Serious weather common during the winter season is more likely to cause inundation of water from the outdoors. Snow melt on the roof may leak into attics and freezing temperatures may rupture plumbing. Much of this infiltration may occur gradually and in parts of the structure that aren’t normally observed. Damage may not be noted until it’s already severe. Prevention is always the best strategy. (more…)