You are standing at your big picture window enjoying a summer rain storm. At some point it dawns on you that the gutter directly over the window is overflowing. Now what? Your first assumption is that you have major repair waiting for you. But don't panic. The problem may actually be no big deal.
As experts in rain gutter installation, we know from experience that there are more than a dozen things capable of causing gutter overflow. Most of the issues are minor; some can be major. But if you have a major issue on your hands, you could probably see it from the street, even when it's not raining.
We will not go through all the possibilities, but here are the five most common reasons gutters overflow:
The first thing to do whenever gutters overflow is to check for clogs. All sources of debris can gather in gutters and downspouts,especially if your home is surrounded by trees. Accumulated debris can formdams that ultimately lead to water backing up and overflowing.
You can check your downspouts by running water through them with a garden hose. If you put it in the top and it flows out the bottom,you're good to go. A visual inspection works well enough for gutter clogs.
A new rain gutter installation involves pitching gutters so that water flows toward the downspouts. The word 'pitch' is just another way of saying 'angle'. Your gutters should be angled towards downspouts to encourage water flow. If the angle isn't steep enough, water may not flow fast enough. Ifit is too steep, it may flow so fast as to overrun the downspout and spill over the end cap.
Rain gutter covers do an excellent job of keeping debris out. However, they are not a one-size-fits-all product. Covers need to befitted to the size, style, and location of the gutters into which they are being installed. If the installer chooses the wrong product or doesn't fit it properly, rain can actually flow right over the top rather than through.
Gutters are designed to be firmly affixed to the house. A Good installer will also run a bead of caulk between gutter and fascia board.As long as this is done properly, everything is fine. Over time though, gutters can gradually come loose.
When that happens, rain water can flow off the overhang and hit the back of the gutter, then flow between gutter and fascia before falling to the ground. This is a bad situation on multiple fronts. First, loose gutters generally only continue getting looser until they fall off. Second, wet faciais subject to rot. This is one gutter problem that needs to be fixed ASAP.
Gutters sometimes appear to overflow when that actually isn't the case. Rather, they were installed in too low a position. During a heavy rain, water flows over the top of the gutter rather than falling off theoverhang and into the gutter. This gives the appearance of overflow when you are really looking at overshooting. Either way, it's not a good situation.
There are several more causes of gutter overflow. If you are having overflow problems with your gutters, a professional should be able to identify the cause and offer a solution. In all likelihood, you are not looking at an entirely new rain gutter installation. Most overflow problems can be solved fairly quickly and inexpensively. Just do yourself a favor and don't let it go.