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What Causes Gutters to Fail 

Your gutters play a vital role in protecting your home from water damage, when they suffer damage themselves, your property is at risk. Learn about the common causes of gutter failure.

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Your gutters are an integral part of your Detroit home’s water management system. When they become damaged, your home may suffer water-related problems to your foundation, basement, crawl space, or concrete. It’s important to inspect your gutters regularly and remove any debris to prevent clogs and damage. At Foundation Systems of Michigan, we know what to look for and specialize in gutter solutions for your home. Learn more about some of the common reasons why your gutters fail.  

Signs Your Gutters Are in Trouble  

  • Clogged Gutters or Downspouts 

Not many homeowners like the idea of climbing up a ladder to clean debris from the perimeter of their homes. Unfortunately, this home maintenance task is one that cannot be overlooked as clean gutters ensure protection from water damage. When your gutters become clogged with leaves, twigs, and in some cases, pests, it can obstruct the flow of water and cause water to overflow on your siding and yard, or concrete below. It’s important to make sure your gutters are clean from any clogs so that water can easily flow towards the downspouts. 

  • Gutter Leaks 

Leaks in your gutters can be extremely problematic since they are most likely happening because of holes or cracks in the structure. This can lead to roof leaks, and foundation damage if not resolved early on. Leaking gutters can also be due to clogs, bad slope, and gutter joint separation. All of which need to be corrected to prevent water damage to your home.   

  • Joint Separation 

Gutters can separate from your roof or fascia board for several reasons. Things such as debris, rust, deterioration, or improper installation can all speed up the process of them separating. When this happens, your gutters become useless as the water falls through the cracks. It’s important to resolve this as soon as possible to prevent costly damage to your home’s roof, siding, landscape, and foundation.  

  • Incorrect Gutter Slope 

To function correctly, your gutters must have a proper slope. If they have an incorrect slope, or it isn’t steep enough, water will pool in the gutter trough and overflow. Your gutters should have a slight decline that allows them to direct water easily away from your home. When the slope of your gutters is the problem, your foundation is at risk.  


When your gutter is clogged, there are many offbeat ways that your home will try to tell you. You may notice stains on the side of your home, pests gathering in or near your roof, or even plants growing from your gutter. Most notably, if you know that you haven’t cleaned your gutter in a long time, then it’s very likely it has become clogged.  

Without constant protection provided by some sort of gutter guard system, you will need to do routine maintenance to your gutters. It’s recommended to clean out your gutters at least twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. If you have large trees in your yard towering over your home, you’ll need to clean them out more often.

The short answer, no. It’s never a good idea to have standing water in your gutter. Standing water can occur for several reasons. Either a clog stops the flow of water, or the gutter’s slope is incorrect. Regardless, standing water will eventually lead to water flowing over the top of the gutter, causing issues for your foundation and soil erosion below.   

In addition to the damage done to the ground, standing water also damages the fascia board or the wood that caps the end of the rafters and soffit or the space between the roof and fascia.   

Since foundation and basement problems only get worse with time, you should never wait to fix a leak in your basement. Not only does the leak point to other severe and potentially structurally compromising issues in your home, but it has other adverse effects on the quality of your home.  

Not to mention, fixing your basement or even fully finishing it will increase the property value of your home over time. If you ever try to sell, you may be able to get a return on your investment. If you never sell, you still have a safe and dry basement to enjoy.  

Caulk is an important maintenance step for your gutters. Caulk can help prevent rust, debris, critters, and mold from further developing in the joint of your gutter. It also helps aid in preventing gutter leaks. 

Your gutter installers should have already caulked your gutter seams for you. However, this caulk can deteriorate over time, or just plain not work if the caulk was installed poorly. When certified field inspectors with FSM complete a free inspection of your home and gutters, they can help determine if caulk is part of your gutters’ issues.   

Let The Professionals at FSM Repair Your Gutter Problems  

If you’re struggling to determine if your gutters are sloped correctly, are experiencing leaks or clogs, or other signs of damage, the experts at Foundation Systems of Michigan can help. Our team of trained professionals knows exactly what to look for and will do a full inspection to determine the correct cause of your gutter problems. Our solutions come with a warranty, so you can be sure our products and installation are always top-notch.

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