Top 9 Signs of Clogged Gutters & How to Fix Them

Oct 21, 2021

It’s been raining for days. With the dreary weather, you want to stay inside where it’s dry. Only, your property isn’t completely dry. You or your tenants notice water on the walls, floors, or even the basement. Somehow, water is getting in — and causing potentially lasting damage to your property.

Sounds like a nightmare, right? Your roof isn’t leaky, and your siding is in good shape. How would water get in?

The culprit is likely right outside your door: Clogged gutters. Not cleaning your gutters regularly can lead to a host of problems, including water damage to your property.

Luckily, there are easy ways to spot clogged gutters and if noticed early on, are easily remedied. Don't let clogged gutters ruin your property. In this post, we’ll give you tips to fix even the most stubborn clogged gutters. To start, let’s take a look at what damage clogged gutters can cause.

What kind of damage can clogged gutters cause?

Gutters — almost every property has them. Yet gutter maintenance is probably not something you think about regularly. Compared with managing current tenants, finding new tenants, fixing any appliances or equipment that breaks, gutter maintenance can seem unimportant. You can always get to it later, right?

Wrong! Gutter cleaning isn’t something you should be skipping. In fact, it should be on your checklist of home maintenance chores to do twice a year. Clogged gutters can cause mold, foundation damage, basement flooding, roof leakage, wall and ceiling damage, and more. All of which can be expensive (not to mention time-consuming!) to fix.

The good news is that regular gutter cleaning can prevent these problems. Whether you DIY or hire a professional, keeping up with gutter maintenance can save you a big headache down the road.

What are the signs of clogged gutters?

You know that clogged gutters can lead to pretty serious problems for your property. But how do you know if you have clogged gutters? We’ve got you covered with the top nine signs your gutters are clogged.

1. Sagging, collapsing, or pulling away gutters

This seems obvious, but if your gutters are old and in rough shape, there's a good chance you may have a clog. Debris can weigh down your gutters and eventually, your gutters will sag or collapse under this weight. Before collapsing, your gutters might also start pulling away from your roof. If it looks bad, it probably is bad.

2. Water spilling over

Your gutters should direct rainwater to the downspout and away from your property. If you see water spilling over the sides of your gutters, there's likely debris built up inside, blocking the water from properly flowing.

3. Standing water or washed away dirt

Another exterior sign of clogged gutters is standing water and eroded dirt. If your gutters are working properly, you shouldn’t see any water around the foundation of your property. When it’s not raining, washed away dirt around your house can also be a sign your gutters are clogged.

4. Stained siding

Your siding can be stained for a variety of reasons. One common reason? You got it — clogged gutters. If your gutters are clogged, they can’t direct water away from the sides of your property. This leads to water stains on your siding.

5. Exterior mildew or rust

Along with stained siding, mildew or rust on the exterior of your home are signs of problematic gutters. Trapped or overflowing water inside your gutters contributes to the growth of mildew and mold. If you have vinyl or metal siding, you may also see rust spots. While rust is comparatively harmless if caught early, mildew and mold can lead to health problems for you and your tenant if left to spread.

6. Plant growth

Do you have a tree close to the side of your house? You could have more than a few pesky falling leaves to worry about. Tree and plant debris that get stuck in your gutters can actually lead to plant growth. Seeds get trapped in your gutters, and with the right amount of water and sunlight, they can start to sprout in your gutters. Keep the plants in your garden and clean your gutters.

7. Birds and other animals

That plant growth and debris can be quite inviting for little critters to nest in. If you notice excessive debris in your gutters, keep your eyes peeled for small nests. You could have birds or other wildlife living rent-free in your gutters.

8. Water in living spaces

You can also spot clogged gutters from inside your property. If you see water or dampness on your walls, ceilings, or floors, it’s a sign that your gutters are clogged.

Related reading: 11 Signs of Water Damage on Your Property

9. Water in your basement

One last way to spot clogged gutters is by looking at your basement. Water in your basement can be caused by many problems, but it's usually never a good sign. Clogged gutters could once again be at work here, allowing rainwater to hang out near your foundation and seep into your basement.

How can you fix clogged gutters?

You now know how to spot clogged gutters. But what happens if you find a clog? You can either unclog them yourself or hire a professional.

If you go the DIY route, it’s important to be safe. Cleaning your gutters usually involves getting on a ladder. Without the proper safety precautions, it’s easy to fall and be seriously injured. Before cleaning your gutters, you need to make sure you have a sturdy ladder and someone on-hand to hold the ladder or assist you.

Before you climb the ladder, you need to gather supplies. Sturdy gloves are a must to protect your hands from any sharp debris. You also need a bucket to collect whatever is clogging your gutters. And, you might need an extension tool to clean hard-to-reach spots.

Once you have your supplies, it’s time to clean your gutters. With your gloved hands (or a scoop!), you need to reach into your gutters and pull out any debris. You then put the debris in your bucket and repeat the process for all gutters around your property.

Sound time-consuming, tedious, and even a little gross? It can be, which is why DIY gutter cleaning isn’t for everyone. Hiring a professional can be more expensive. But, a professional can save you hours — which could be worth the cost. Plus, if you have a clog in harder-to-reach areas (like your downspout), you might need a professional anyway.

Whether you DIY or hire a professional, it’s important to clean your gutters as soon as possible after spotting a clog. That way, you can prevent any damage to your property.

Time to get cleaning

Cleaning your gutters is one of the less glamorous parts of being a landlord. As much as we hate pulling gunk out of gutters, clean gutters are key to preventing problems ranging from mold to foundation damage.

If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your gutters, don’t worry; you can start any time. And if you spot any of the signs of clogged gutters, you can try DIY gutter cleaning or hire a professional.

Another way to protect your property is with landlord insurance. From natural disasters, to fires, to any other unexpected event, landlord insurance can help you protect your investment. The easiest way to get landlord insurance is with Obie’s fast, modern, and transparent approach.

Get started protecting your property today with your free quote from Obie.