Today we’ll discuss all possible instances that causes Gutter Drip and how to identify and prevent the drips from re-occurring.
The first step in solving this problem is to observe where the drip is coming from on the gutter system. Where the drip originates from can be a vital clue as to what is causing the leak. The good news is that you have likely observed the gutters dripping already. As a result you to searched online and found this article. Regardless, if you have not observed your gutters dripping or are unsure we’ll explain how to spot gutter leaks for future reference.
In brief the best way to spot gutter drip is to watch the gutter system during rain. One quick lap around the home during a downpour can tell you everything you need to know about your gutter systems performance . Once you have taken a lap around the home during rain and noted anywhere you may have spotted drips, it is now time to compare those locations with possible causes.
Water leaking, dripping, or overflowing from a gutter close to a downspout is an indication that the downspout is likely clogged. Water that is not able to drain through the downspout is forced to fill the gutters and eventually escape by leaking or overflowing.
Consequently the water will eventually wear through the sealants of the gutter end caps. If the gutter is allowed to continuously fill with water due to not clearing the downspout clog then the sealants have no chance. Eventually the end cap will need to be re-sealed with a waterproof sealant. To illustrate the above photo is a classic example of water dripping from a gutter end cap due to a clogged downspout.
In this case the solution to clogged downspouts is relieve the downspout clog. Either by removing the clog manually or contacting a gutter company for a gutter cleaning service.
In the same fashion as gutters dripping near the downspout they can also drip from the end of the gutter opposite of the downspout.
To demonstrate we included the above and below photos of gutters dripping away from the downspouts. In theses situations the issues are typically not debris or downspout clog related. The issue here is the gutters were sloped in the wrong direction.
All gutters are installed on a slope so that the water drains automatically to the downspouts. Otherwise gutters would overflow and be ineffective. This slope is called pitch, or gutter pitch, and it is vital for gutter systems to work properly. Therefore when gutters overflow from the end opposite of the downspout, the gutter is sloped in the wrong direction.
The solution to gutters being “out of pitch” or incorrectly sloped is to re-pitch the gutters to the correct slope. To do this properly the gutter brackets or spikes will need to be loosened so that the gutter can be configured properly. Often the gutter needs to be removed from the wall to be realigned properly. Lastly the gutter is reinstalled at the proper slope once the adjustments are made.
To learn more about gutter re-pitching please visit our Gutter Repair page.
Sometimes water will drip from the bottom of the gutter like in the above or below photo. In situations where the dripping is within 5 ft. of a downspout then a downspout clog is our first suspicion. To confirm if the downspout is clogged we suggest observing the water flow from the downspout during rain. (if the downspout is clogged then the flow will be weak) However in situations where water drips from the middle of a gutter section that indicates other possible issues.
A loose gutter is the most common cause of water dripping from middle of the gutter. In fact in the photo above the gutter is loose enough that it appears to lean forward. Moreover you can even see the gutter spikes protruding from the gutter which also confirms the gutter is loose.
The solution to loose gutters is to secure the gutters to the home by adding new brackets. If the home has gutter spikes like in the photo above then upgrading to brackets/hangers is necessary. We recommend hidden hangers that clip to the front and back lips of the gutters and feature a long threaded screw like in the photo below.
Another common place to see gutters leaking or dripping from are at the corners. Gutter corners, aka “miters”, are joints used to connect two sections of gutter so the water can make it’s way around the corner. Miters are sealed using waterproof sealants but unfortunately time and exposure to the elements are constantly wearing away at the seals. Eventually most sealants will leak and need to be resealed. Besides seals failing due to natural cause like time and the elements there are a couple common causes of miters to leak so we’ll discuss those separately.
First thing we always look for when we see a miter leaking is if there is a downspout nearby. Just as with how end caps near the downspouts leak, miters will also leak if they are near a clogged downspout. To confirm if the downspout is clogged observe the flow during rain. Weak flow would indicate a clog and a strong flow would indicate the downspout is not clogged and leading you onto the next option.
Our second suspicion when we see a miter leak is that gutters are not pitched correctly. This is almost always the case when dealing with miter leaks. What happens is when corners are not configured properly the water gets stuck in the corner. The water that is not able to drain slowly eats at the sealants which forces the seal to degrade rapidly.
In conclusion miters that are leaking due to pitch issues will require both adjacent gutter sections to be re-pitched accordingly. Oftentimes the entire gutter section from one end to the other will need to be re-configured. If the leaking miter is near a downspout clog then the solution for that will be to have the clog removed.
Downspouts are the vertical pipe that leads the water from the gutter to the ground. As previously mentioned a clog in the downspout will prevent the water from draining properly. Because water is not able to drain through the downspout, it will escape through any seams or gaps it can find. Downspouts have multiple seams to leak from but as long as it’s dripping from the downspout then that indicates there is a clog.
In the short 11 second video below you will see a perfect example of water gushing from a downspout seam. In this case the downspout in the video is guaranteed to be clogged.
As previously mentioned the solution to clogged downspouts is to remove the clog manually or contract a local gutter company for a gutter cleaning service.
To conclude observing where your gutters are dripping water from will indicate the cause of the problem and point you towards the possible solutions. On the whole most gutter drips or leaks are caused by clogs in the downspouts or repairs such as loose gutters or gutter pitch issues. Since most common gutter repairs such as loose gutters and pitch issues are results of long term gutter neglect, it is important to maintain a proper gutter cleaning schedule.
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Frederick, MD 21701