Dec 11, 2022

3 Common Causes Of Clogged Gutters

Tim Shepel
Greater Seattle Gutters rated 5/5 based on 17 reviews.

Roof repairs and upkeep are essential to household maintenance. Keeping the roof strong, intact, and clean is vital in protecting the home from leaks, harsh weather, and extreme temperatures. Moreover, the roof's visual appearance impacts the property's aesthetic value in general.

The current national average roof repair cost in the United States is around USD$950. However, the price varies depending on labor costs, material expenses, and the scope of work involved. This substantial expense can be avoided if the roof is regularly cleaned and maintained. One crucial step to maintaining the topmost part of the house structure is keeping the gutter clean.

Gutters collect dirt, debris, dried leaves, and other contaminants as they're open and exposed to the elements. Because of this, gutters need cleaning at least twice a year. These structures have a long lifespan of up to 20 years, given proper care and maintenance. Hence, it's essential to conduct repairs and prevent clogging to protect their longevity and keep your gutters functional.

If you're wondering how to tell if gutters are clogged and what causes them, continue reading this article.

1. Tree overgrowth

Collapsed house in over growth

It's common for gutters to be placed close to tree branches and leaves, which is why they're prone to accumulate in open spaces once they're dried. To manage this scenario, it's best to acquire professional tree trimming services from certified arborists who can trim the tree to an ideal length.

They can also strategically remove big branches that grew too close to the roof to keep the gutters clear of leaves and twigs. In extreme cases, you might also need to remove a tree if it's getting in the way of your drainage system and poses safety hazards to your property.

For instance, you might have a tree that leans towards your gutters more than 15 degrees from a vertical angle. This inclination signifies severe damage from a disease, strong wind, and other causes. Since trees with this condition rarely survive, your arborist may advise you to take the tree down altogether. By doing so, you can prevent it from blocking your gutter system and causing damage to your home structure.

2. Incorrect gutter design and placement

If your gutters aren't appropriately sloped, it's easier for them to accumulate materials, including dried leaves, dirt, twigs, and other debris. The blockage will then remain on the surface if there isn't enough rainfall or pressure to push them down the drain. They'll continue to clog the gutters and downspouts as they're left behind and may even attract other substances that would add to the clump of mass.

Gutters should have a specific slope measurement to allow proper drainage. The slope usually ranges between one-quarter and one-half inch per 10 linear feet. However, these numbers vary depending on the roof measurements and rainfall intensity in the location.

To properly drain, downspouts should be placed every 40 feet of the gutter structure. Placing gutters too close to each other can cause rainwater to accumulate too much on a given spot, which can lead to flooding. If the downspouts release water beside the home's foundation, the excess moisture can eventually seep in and damage it.

Meanwhile, gutters that release water directly to the sewer can also cause clogging and flooding if the structures cannot support the volume of water. Hence, it's essential to carefully consider the design of your gutter system and make changes as needed.

3. Infrequent cleaning

Blockages in gutters are often caused by dirt, dead leaves and twigs, and even deceased animals such as rodents and squirrels. Since gutters are openly exposed to pollutants or impurities, it's nearly impossible to keep them clean of all of these items all the time. However, through frequent cleaning, you can prevent the accumulation of dirt and other materials that cause clogging.

Experts advise homeowners to acquire professional gutter cleaning services at least twice a year or more frequently if needed. Meanwhile, you and your family can also take on the task if you have the tools and skills required to clean the structure.

If your gutter system is dated, it's also best to acquire regular upkeep to prevent sagging, blockage, and deterioration. You can also consult your gutter specialist if repairs or replacements are necessary.


Clogged gutters can quickly become a significant problem for a household if not fixed immediately. It can cause flooding, leaking, and damage to the home's structure. So, you’ll know when to get gutters cleaned if there’s an accumulation of dirt and debris, causing the gutter system to break down. Hence, it's essential to find adequate solutions to the causes of clogging, such as cleaning, repair, or replacement.