Gutters are relatively simple in design and so there are just a few major ways they can fail. These are the most likely causes for Gutter issues:
1. Blockage. Your gutters can be clogged with debris such as build up from natural materials like leaves or from unnatural materials like tennis balls. If you notice water marks under your gutters or pooling water and mildew near your foundation, your gutters are probably overflowing and simply need cleaned out. Don’t just think horizontal here. Your downspout can also be blocked.
2. Sag. If you notice your gutters leaning down or pulling away from the house, you need to act quickly to avoid rotting fascia board and total gutter collapse. The reason for your gutter sag is most likely the result of a broken or missing hanger or spike.
Your gutter might also be sagging due to excess weight from debris that needs cleaned out, ice expansion over the winter or from undue stress such as leaning a ladder on your gutters, which you should never do. If there is permanent warping, you may need to replace that section of gutter, if not your whole system depending on the extent of the damage.
3. Leaks. If your gutters are not blocked and water is still escaping, you have a leak. A leak sometimes opens at the joints between sections of gutter, which can simply be resealed. Other times a leak develops through a crack in the gutters from corrosion or other damage. You can patch these leaks, but once a weak spot is established, it will likely be a recurring problem.
4. Poor pitch. Gutters are meant to have an imperceptible slope towards the downspout, about 1/8 or 1/16 inch per foot, to keep water flowing. If water is pooling in your gutters when there is no blockage, your gutters are probably improperly pitched. This could have happened during a poorly done gutter installation or can be the result of a house settling. This problem may be hard to identify, but it’s important to address as pooling water can lead to corrosion or provide a breeding ground for pests such as mosquitos.