Incorrect Installation of Rain Gutters can Cause Major Foundation Problems

If you have rain gutters on your home, it’s important to inspect them regularly as they can end up causing damage to your structure rather than protecting it. The damage caused by poorly functioning rain gutters can be expensive to repair, so it’s worth taking the time to identify and address any issues. Improper installation is a major cause of problems with rain gutters, but there are many other factors to consider as well.

How To: Inspect Your Rain Gutters

When inspecting your rain gutter system, you should check the following:

  • Gutter size
  • Flashing connected to the eaves
  • Connection from the roof eaves to the gutters
  • Gutter slope
  • Gutter joints
  • Gutter holes and/or leaks
  • Downspouts
  • Splash guards

Improper Gutter Size

If your gutters are too small for your home, they won’t function properly. You’ll need to replace them with the correct size either on your own or with the help of a professional. Homes with steep roofs or those in areas prone to heavy rain may require larger gutters and additional downspouts to prevent overflow.

Gutter size is determined by simple math. A large roof will collect more rainwater, which needs somewhere to go. Some professionals recommend using oversized gutters for all houses to ensure that they can handle any type of weather.

Incorrect Roof Flashing Connection

Flashing is a thin, L-shaped metal sheet that directs water away from the seams and joints of roofing systems. When there is no flashing or it is damaged, moisture can damage insulation and wood, leading to mildew, dry rot, and pest infestations. If there is no flashing, you’ll need to remove the gutters and add flashing after checking the wood under your roof for damage. If you have damaged flashing, inspect the area and repair or replace it as needed. This may be easier to fix, as you may not need to remove all of the gutters, just the affected areas.

Gutter Joint Seperation

Sometimes gutter joints come apart because they were not placed together correctly during installation or because the gutters are under too much stress from being overloaded. It should be easy to reposition them back into place, but be careful not to damage the existing system. If the gutters have separated due to overloading, consider installing larger gutters that can handle the amount of rain in your area.

Incorrect Gutter Slope

If your gutters do not have the correct pitch toward the downspouts, the water won’t flow properly and can cause erosion problems in the gutters and your home. Improperly installed or neglected gutters can also cause roof and structural damage.

Water that isn’t drained away from the foundation can cause erosion to the ground and damage to the foundation. To prevent these issues, which can be costly to fix, it’s important to regularly inspect and maintain your gutters and consider replacing them when necessary.

By examining your gutters and the surrounding structure and ground, you can protect your home from standing water and foundation damage.

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    Chris Bartlett
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