When your gutters begin to leak, it can be tempting to call the first gutter installation pro you can think of—and if that’d make you feel more comfortable with what could be a dire situation, then go ahead. More power to you! However, the reality is that not all instances of gutter malfunction require outright repair; some, for instance, just require that excess debris be removed from the system so that it can function at its best.

So how do you know for a fact what your gutter system needs? It can be tricky to figure out, as many instances of gutter breakage mimic the need for a simple cleaning job, and vice versa. On top of that, keeping up with your cleaning doesn’t always mean that a given issue must be breakage-related; sudden clogs, like birds’ nests, can still very well set your system awry.

Midwest Exteriors MN is here to set the record straight. Below, you’ll learn about a few common gutter problems, and how to look a little deeper to deduce if you need to call a pro or get up there with a trowel and bucket yourself.

Gutter Overflow

It’s a pretty straightforward issue: water comes over the side of your gutter installation during a rainstorm. What isn't so straightforward are the consequences that can come from this occurrence, as they can spread out into such seemingly unrelated areas of your home that at first you might do a double take.

For instance, if left long enough, this issue can lead to soil erosion near your home, thanks to the constant influx of running water. This then puts strain on your foundation, which can cause cracks and require extensive repairs lest your home become downright unsafe to live in. On top of all that, overflowing gutters aren’t friendly to nearby landscaping. The overly soggy soil conditions they can produce can lead to a spreadable condition in plants known as root rot—which can potentially kill plants, according to The Spruce.

What’s even worse, gutter overflow can be caused by a need for repair or cleaning; here’s how to tell one from the other.

Incorrect Installation Requires Repair

Gutters are designed to function at a specific slope. If they aren’t positioned as such, water will quickly pool over the side. Think about a lopsided stack of dirty bowls in a kitchen sink—all of them will overflow before reaching their intended capacity. If your gutters seem to be tilted away from your home or slope too quickly towards a downspout, you’ll need gutter repair or even an entirely new installation, as this isn’t a DIY-friendly project.

Fighting Clogs Requires Cleaning

Of course, it could be that nothing is wrong with your gutters at all—they just need a little tidying up thanks to some unexpected debris. Some trees shed leaves in the spring as opposed to the fall, and many species of birds, for instance, seek out spaces to build their nests around this time of year. Gutters, given their remote location, can be prime real estate for this, but unfortunately, they aren’t the safest, for obvious reasons.

If you notice your avian neighbors moving into your gutter system, check out our gutter installer blog on how to safely remove them. Otherwise, it’s time to take up the rubber gloves and get to work scraping away gutter gook!

Gutter Leaks

Seperate from gutter overflow, gutter leaks occur due to a crack in your gutter system itself. These are far more of a problem in traditional, seamed gutters, where the interlocking pieces create a series of weak points that are primed for breakage.

Unfortunately, cracks in the gutter system itself always require the help of a pro, whether they help you swap to a hardier seamless gutter system or do some storm damage repair. Caulk and elbow grease can repair the damage in the short-term, but unless you want to add consistent patch jobs to your to-do list, you need the help of your local home and condo contractors.

Improper Gutter Size

An issue that often mimics garden-variety overflow, improper gutter size isn’t the result of a poor installation job or a clog—it simply means that your gutters can’t handle the volume of precipitation in your area. While Minnesota isn’t particularly wet as far as climate goes, this issue still can be to blame if you’ve eliminated the other causes we’ve talked about here.

It too requires a brand new gutter installation, as there’s little, if anything, you can do to expand their volume. And since you can’t control the weather, it’s best to make haste and phone the pros.

Midwest Exteriors MN: Top-Notch Gutter Installation and More

If your home or condo’s exterior has seen better days, we’re here to help it shine again. Reach our Lake Elmo office at 651-346-9477.