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Common Causes of Gutter Leaks

Your home’s gutters can leak for various reasons and cause damage to the rest of your home. It’s important to have routine maintenance to ensure they're in proper working order. Here are some of the causes why your gutters leak.

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For nearly 15 years, Foundation Systems of Michigan has been protecting homes by repairing and restoring their water management systems. This includes everything from basement waterproofing to foundation repair and crawl space encapsulation, as well as gutter systems. Let us help your home today with a free inspection of your gutters to see if you could benefit from one of our repair solutions.  

Leaking gutters are common for homes in Troy and other surrounding areas as these places get heavy amounts of snow in the winter months. The snowmelt, come Spring, can cause water damage to your roof and foundation if not properly kept. The Grand Rapids area gets a whopping 64.2 inches of snowfall on average compared to 27.8 inches for the national average. Making sure your gutter system is always clean and free of debris or damage is important to ensuring your home stays safe. 

What Causes My Gutters To Leak? 

If you walk outside to your home only to find your gutters are leaking, you could be wondering how that happened in the first place. Since your gutters are located around the perimeter of your roof, it’s no easy task to access them and you could need the assistance of a professional. If you do feel comfortable going up to investigate, here are some of the most common signs of gutter damage.  

Holes & Cracking  

With most things around your home, constant exposure to the elements can cause damage as time goes on, leading to even bigger problems. Things such as holes and cracks are some of the most common signs of damage and can be hard to find even when it is raining. One of the best ways to locate such things is to do a water test with a bucket after a storm subsides. 


Another common reason for your gutters to be failing is clogging. If they aren’t cleaned out regularly, they’ll become filled with natural debris such as fallen leaves and pine needles. Other things such as dead insects, bird nests, and sometimes even rodents can find their way into your gutter system and cause blockages. 

Whatever the case may be, if you notice water flowing over the edge as opposed to flowing towards the downspout, your gutters are likely to be clogged. It’s important to schedule regular cleanings with a professional to ensure they stay free from debris and can work correctly.  

Gutter Joint Separation   

Gutters are designed in sections that are fastened together when installed. If you notice leaks coming from the seam connections or in the corners, joint separation may be the cause. Things such as heavy clogs, standing water, or natural rust can all cause the joints to separate over time.  

Although many DIY websites will suggest that this can be repaired with caulk or sealant products, this doesn’t ensure that it will be completely watertight. In severe cases, replacing the connection joint may be the best route for a permanent solution.  

Bad Slope  

When gutters are first installed on your home, they will have a slope or gradual decline to allow water to flow towards the downspouts and away from your foundation. If your home is older, chances are they’ll either sag or the fasteners are loose due to the weight of debris or just general deterioration. 

If they are sagging, they need to be professionally repaired by rehanging sections of the gutter. At FSM, we recommend not doing this on your own as a failed attempt can cause more damage in the future.  

What Does A Leaking Gutter Look Like?  

As discussed, gutters develop leaks over time and for several reasons. Here are some common example photos of what gutter leaks look like. 


Your gutters play an important role in your home’s water management system, and when they fail, it can bring damage to your home. With the heavy snow that Michigan experiences, especially in Lansing and Traverse City, it’s important to make sure your gutters are up to par. If your gutters are leaking due to a clog, you may be able to clean up the debris and solve the problem. But if the damage is more extensive such as a hole or joint separation, you need to call in a professional.  

Luckily, our team at Foundation Systems of Michigan has experience in cleaning gutters and removing debris as well as determining the root cause of the damage. During an inspection, one of our experts will make sure there are no cracks or holes and will tighten any loose sections. If your gutters are experiencing damage that needs repair solutions, we will advise you which one is the best for your situation. 

Since your gutters play an important role in ensuring your home doesn’t get extensive water damage, they always need to be in tip-top shape. If it rains or snow starts to melt and your gutters leak, they are useless to avoid damage. Here are some of the most common ways that leaking gutters can damage your home. 

Leaking Roofs  

One of the first signs of damage to your home is a leaking roof. When your gutters begin to fail, any water that isn’t directed away from your home will begin to sit on top of the roof. Since water has a high-volume weight, the added weight can lead to major roof damage.  

Seeing leaks in your ceiling or around the wall joints in your home can be indicative of damage caused by leaking gutters. As this problem exacerbates over time, it’s imperative to repair your gutters as soon as possible. 

Foundation Damage  

When your gutters leak, it can cause pools of water to form around your foundation. This can lead to extensive water damage to the concrete which results in damage to your home’s structural integrity. This damage can cause thousands of dollars in repairs and be an extremely invasive process when time for repairs.  

Mold & Mildew   

It is known that water damage leads to mold and mildew growth at a rapid rate. It’s important to repair your gutters quickly as mold removal is usually an expensive process. 

Landscaping Damage  

Leaking gutters can cause heavy amounts of water to pour onto your home’s flower beds and other decorative shrubs. Since these plants usually don’t require much water, overwatering can lead them to die, requiring removal and replanting. The grass around your home can also see damage when standing water is present.  

If you feel comfortable enough to check for gutter leaks, you’ll need to have someone else with you to help. While you or someone else is up on the ladder looking for gutter failures, the other person will stay ground level to look for leaks.  

Using a garden hose or bucket of water is the easiest way to do this. It’s important to document the size and cause of each source of leak to better understand how to fix them. This is where one of our professionals can come in to suggest which solution works best. 

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    Trust The Professionals At FSM To Repair Your Leaking Gutters  

    If your home is experiencing roof leaks, foundation damage, or wilting flower beds, it may be due to damage from leaking gutters. If any of these are the case, it’s time to call in the professionals at Foundation Systems of Michigan to repair and replace your gutter systems. During your free inspection, a member of our team will identify any leaks and provide you with a written, no-obligation estimate on our repair solutions. Call or email us today to speak with one of our experts on how we can fix your leaking gutters. 

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