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Get Your Mind On the Gutter! Slopes and Other Common Gutter Problems

Few homeowners think about their gutters, but these integral parts of your home’s outside structure should not be ignored. Common problems with gutters can and do arise, and proper knowledge of these problems, how to prevent them and how to fix them can save homeowners a number of headaches and a lot of money on home maintenance. Here is information about the five most common issues with gutters.

A gutter’s slope refers to how, exactly, it points at the ground. It might sound simple, but an incorrect slope can cause all sorts of issues with the gutter’s function. In other words, if the gutter does not slope in the proper fashion, water will end up pooling and spilling out of the sides.

So what is the correct slope for maximum gutter function? According to experts, the general rule is to slope gutters at 1/4th-inch per 10 feet of gutter.

Leaks in a gutter are all too common, and can be the result of either a loose fastener as well as any kind of hole or tear. If a leak springs in your gutter, you may choose to fix the problem yourself by caulking the hole or tear with a special waterproof sealant, or even calling a professional about replacing the entire section of the gutter if the damage is significant.

Downspout Drainage
Similar to the way gutters need to be angled a certain way; downspouts also need your attention in order to work properly. A downspout that is too close to the ground can result in problems such as water gathering around the foundation of your home or leaking into the basement.

To make sure this does not happen, ensure that all downspouts are several feet away from your home.

Just like any other pipe, a gutter can become clogged with the kind of debris you would expect from outdoors - from leaves and sticks to bugs and dirt. In some cases, “gutter gardens” can even sprout - plants can grow inside your gutters with the help of soil clogs and running water!

Of course, if a gutter becomes clogged with any of this debris, the clog prevents rainwater from being able to travel through. Clogs can even cause the gutter to become too heavy and burst open, which is another problem altogether.

Ice Dams 
In the case of colder, snowier climates, ice is often a problem for gutters, and it can lead to significant damage if not monitored. Water from precipitation collects in gutters and then freezes solid. Many times, this issue requires a bit more preventative care, such as installing better attic and roof insulation.