How to Fix Gutter Overflow

Water overflowing a gutter

Gutters are essential in moving rainwater away from your house to prevent water damage to your home’s foundation, walls, and interior. But if something prevents gutters from working correctly, the water will spill over the sides of your gutters, creating a whole list of problems, including:

  • Damaged or discolored siding: Water flowing over your siding can loosen, rot, or discolor the siding if it continues without repairing the gutter issues.
  • Eroded or destroyed landscaping: Free-flowing water can wash out mulch or dirt around your landscaping which causes the plants to lose protection. If the earth washes away, there is nothing for the roots to hold onto, and the plants can die. 
  • Rotted fascia boards: Fascia boards are usually made from wood. Water flowing over wood can cause it to rot, leaving nothing for your gutters to hold on to.
  • Flooded basements: If your gutters are not catching water, it will run down the sides of your home and down to the foundation. If there are cracks or holes in the foundation, water will find a way in and cause flooding in your basement.
  • Cracked, buckled, or shifted foundations: Water can cause significant pressure around your foundation. This pressure, if left unchecked, can cause cracking, bowing, or shifting of your foundation. This is highly damaging to your home and is very expensive to repair.
  • Leaks in roofs, joints, and windows: Water can find its way into minor areas, causing significant problems. Water that gets into your roof can cause rot in the plywood sheathing and your attic and leak into the ceiling. Water that gets into joints in your home can cause the wood to swell or even rot. This can cause cracking in the ceiling, walls, and other parts of the structure. And water that gets in around windows can cause the window frames and sills to rot, which will require the replacement of the wood and most likely the windows themselves.     


After identifying the reason behind the overflowing rainwater, the next step is to mitigate the overflow problem so rainwater can adequately flow away from your home. Sometimes the solution is as simple as cleaning the gutters.


We do not recommend that you clean the gutters during a storm. Climbing the roof or standing on a ladder to clean gutters during the rain is dangerous. Be sure to wait until the rain has subsided and the roof has dried up. It’s always a good idea to call a professional to take care of your overflowing gutters.

What are the Causes of Gutter Overflow

It’s easy to overlook gutters throughout the year, but when storms hit, it becomes impossible to ignore them. But what causes gutters to overflow? Here are some common causes of gutter overflow.


Gutters get clogged with leaves, debris, pests, or animals. Shingle granules or sticks from broken tree limbs can also clog gutters. If the gutter isn’t cleaned regularly, leaves and debris can fill the gutters and cause clogs. It is recommended to clean gutters at least twice a year — in spring and fall. 

Incorrect Pitch 

Another reason gutters could leak is if they are pitched incorrectly. When gutters are level, they are not pitched to allow water to drain, and water will sit in the gutter and not flow toward the downspout. This is mainly caused by improper installation but can also happen over time as your gutters channel heavy downpours, become clogged, or have insects, birds, or rodents living in the gutter. When gutters sag or pull away from the house, the pitch changes. Then they fill with water and pull away from the house more. Too steep a pitch can similarly cause overflow.

Low Hanging Gutters

The gutters may hang too low or without a proper gap between the house and the gutter system, causing the water runoff to overshoot your gutters. Sometimes, the gutters may be too small to handle the amount of rainwater coming off the roof. To fix this problem, you may need more oversized gutters installed on your home.

How to reduce the risk of gutter overflow
Blow off leaves and debris
If the gutters fill with debris, use a nozzle attachment for your leaf blower and blow off the debris with forced air. You could also use a power hose to clear the leaves and dirt. It helps to clean the caked-up debris on the inside and outside of your gutters.

Clean out the dirt by hand 
You can grab a ladder, a bucket, and hand gloves and go the old-fashioned route of handpicking the debris. Finish by washing the gutter and downspout using a garden hose.

You should schedule gutter cleaning at least twice every year. Semi-annual cleanings usually cover the bases for gutter maintenance. Gutter maintenance keeps your gutter in shape and helps you watch for any signs of deterioration. If you can catch the problems early, you’ll save yourself the headache of costly repairs and replacements in the future. However, if your gutters are extensively damaged or worn out, it could be time to replace your gutters.

Install mesh or splash guards 
If your roof is steeply pitched, the water may run so fast that it splashes over the gutters. You can diminish this by installing an L-shaped splash guard to prevent water overrun during storms. Additionally, you could install guards on top of your gutters to catch leaves and other debris from getting inside your gutters. However, guards often need to be cleaned as well since debris may sit on top of the guard, blocking water from getting into the gutter.

How LeafGuard can help prevent overflow

A gutter system designed to block leaves and other debris while only allowing in rainwater is the most effective way to prevent overflow and clogged gutters. LeafGuard’s® patented one-piece design is designed for this exact purpose and is guaranteed never to clog*.

Put LeafGuard alongside any other gutter guard on the market today, and LeafGuard continues to top the competition. With our ongoing commitment to quality and customer service, we are proud to be recognized as a leading gutter guard system by home improvement experts. LeafGuard is also proud to earn the Good Housekeeping seal, the foremost symbol of quality assurance, trust, and safety in America.

Protect your home with LeafGuard.


*Guaranteed not to clog, or we will clean your gutters for free.