How Bad Gutters Cause Roof Leaks

water leaking out of a gutter

A leaky roof is one of the most common and expensive problems that homeowners face, and believe it or not, bad gutters are a major cause of roof leaks. Designed to channel water away from your house, a faulty gutter can instead spill water where you don’t want it or cause water to back up under the eaves or into the trusses and roof decking.


clogged gutters on a roof
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Clogged gutters are a common cause of roof leaks. Debris from nearby trees such as twigs and leaves can create a blockage in your gutters. Because of this buildup, water will not be able to move freely through the gutters and to the downspout, ensuring that water stays away from your roof. Instead, these clogged gutters leak, damaging your roof and the exterior of your home.

Clogged gutters can also increase your risk of having ice dams form in the winter. Ice dams can cause severe damage to your roof, loosening shingles and tearing off gutters. An ice dam can cause trapped water on your roof to drain into your attic, ceiling, and walls leading to damage mold, and mildew. Clogs seem minor, but they’re an issue that needs to be addressed quickly.

Gutter Guard Installation

While gutter guards block debris that causes clogs, they can damage your roof if they are poorly made or poorly installed. Some gutter guards must be anchored under your roof shingles and nailed into place. If those nail holes aren’t sealed tightly, they can leak. And shingles are designed to lay snugly against the roof decking, so prying them up to install gutter guards can allow moisture to get beneath them and onto the wood decking. Over time, the decking can warp or rot.


Gutter with hole leaking
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Your gutters can develop holes or cracks due to normal wear and tear. Animals, pests, and heavy storms can damage them as well. These cracks can become larger over time and spill water onto your fascia or siding. As the fascia or siding absorbs water, that moisture can make its way to the roof decking or trusses.

Incorrect Pitch

Incorrect gutter sloping can lead to standing water in your gutters. It can also lead to water overflowing through gaps between the gutters and fascia. Both of these issues can result in extensive water damage to the exterior of your home. Standing water can also lead to mold growth and be an ideal environment for mosquitoes.

Poorly Sealed Joints

repairing a leaked gutter
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To keep water moving through your gutters rather than leaking, they should be in good condition and their joints should be properly sealed. Poorly sealed gutter joints can lead to water damage and roof leaks if left unfixed. Gutter seals will eventually break down and joints will become separated. However, with regular maintenance, your gutters can stay looking brand new. 

Loose Fasteners

If your gutters are older the fasteners holding them in place may become loose. Regularly tightening or replacing your fasteners can help maintain your gutters for years to come. Gutters with loose fasteners may result in sagging gutters and water overflow. Gutters that overflow can not only lead to a leaky roof but also cause serious foundation damage.

Prevent Issues and Hire a Pro 

It is important to keep an eye on your gutters and perform regular maintenance to ensure these common problems don’t lead to roof damage. Gutters that are damaged can put your roof at risk for leaks and rot. Make sure your gutters and gutter guards are installed correctly to keep your roof and your wallet secure. For help installing and maintaining your gutters, contact a local gutter professional.

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Beck Carter

Beck is a creative writer from Central Texas. She graduated with an MFA in poetry from Texas State University. Beck enjoys martial arts, kayaking, and walking her wiener dog, Cookie.