How do you fix overflowing gutters?

By Gutter Expert Henry Gerbin
Published On

Are you wondering how to fix overflowing gutters?

Well, you definitely came to the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • The best ways to fix overflowing gutters
  • The main causes of overflowing gutters
  • The risks of overflowing gutters
  • How gutters pros can help

And much more!

RGR FEATURED fix overflowing gutters

So, if you’re looking for answers on how to repair overflowing gutters, keep reading our cost guide below to learn everything you need to know.

Fixes for Overflowing Gutters

Overflowing gutters are a nuisance, rendering the system almost useless in some scenarios. Water spills over the sides of the gutter, causing all sorts of problems.

Luckily, fixing overflowing gutters could take less than an hour of your time and is inexpensive. Here are some tips on how to fix them. 

Get the Right Tools

Fixing overflowing gutters is relatively simple, and you will only need a few tools. Before you get started, buy these materials or pull them out of your toolbox: 

  • Gutter splash guards
  • Drill bit set
  • Cordless drill
  • ⅛ inch pop rivets

You’ll also need a tall enough ladder to reach the gutters with room to work safely. You’ll want to clean your gutters, as that could be a reason why they’re overflowing. 

We’ll review how later on, but for now, you’ll need a small scoop, a bucket, and your garden hose. 

For repositioning your gutters, you may need additional brackets, spikes, and gutter hangers. However, the hardware you need will depend on how you need to adjust the gutters. 

Another way to prevent overflowing gutters is to install mesh gutter guards. Mesh gutter covers prevent leaves and other debris from clogging your gutters and overflowing them.

With this overflow fix, you’ll need the right-sized gutter guards, as well as the tools to install them. 

Safety First

To fix your overflowing gutter, you will have to climb a ladder to get to them, unless you are very tall. 

Always exercise caution while you’re on the ladder, and ensure you place the ladder on hard, level ground every time you move it. Avoid bracing it on soft or uneven ground; it could tip and cause you to lose your balance, which can result in a trip to the ER. 

If there’s no option but to use your ladder on soft or uneven ground, try to level the area with a shovel. Then, place flat wood or large paver stones on the ground to give the ladder additional stability. 

Take your time while climbing the ladder– always keep three points of contact on the rungs. While climbing and working at the top, don’t make any sudden movements that could topple the ladder. 

You should use a tool belt to hold your tools while you’re climbing up and down to keep your hands free. Otherwise, you can use a bucket, which you can hang off the ladder with a hook to hold your tools while you work. 

Clean Your Gutters 

Clogged gutters can cause a lot of problems; the main one is overflowing rainwater.

Leaves, twigs, and other debris will build up inside your gutters, restricting water flow and sometimes blocking the downspouts entirely. As debris builds up over time, it can get to the point where water dumps over the sides of the gutter instead of flowing away from your home.

To clean debris from your gutters, set up your ladder but try to avoid leaning it on the gutters themselves. You can use special bracers which hold the ladder away from the gutter by leaning the ladder off the roof (above the gutters on the shingles). 

These bracers are an excellent solution for homes where you can’t avoid leaning the ladder on the gutters. 

Once you’re safely up the ladder, use a small scoop or your hand to remove the debris. Place the excess debris into a bucket you brought up. Otherwise, you can lay a tarp out on the ground below the ladder and drop the gooey mess of leaves, twigs, and other debris straight down for easy cleanup later. 

Since your arms can only reach so far, you’ll have to climb up and down your ladder and move it along your gutters to clean the entire system. 

Once you have removed everything you can, wash away residual dirt with a garden hose, ensuring you spray the residue towards the downspout. Watch for leaks and proper drainage of your clean gutters while you’re at it. 

Add Splash Guards

Splash guards are a great way to help combat problems with overflowing gutters. Splash guards may sound like they belong at the water park, but in this case, they’re gutter attachments that block water flow in high flow areas on your roof.

Usually, you need them at areas of your roof where two rooflines meet, known as a roof valley. Water from both rooflines combine into a powerful stream of water that can jump over your gutter. That is unless it hits the tall wall of a splash guard. 

Precut gutter splash guards are typically available at most hardware stores, but you can “DIY” your own with aluminum or sheet metal if you’re crafty. 

Either way, once you have the splash guards, climb up the ladder with your pop rivets, splash guards, and a cordless drill fitted with an ⅛ inch drill bit. 

Align the splashguard with the corner of the gutter. Then, carefully drill holes through both the splash guard and the gutter. 

Two holes on each side of the corner usually do the trick. Lastly, press the head of the rivet into each hole with a rivet tool. Add as many splash guards as you think you need. 

Note– your whole gutter system usually doesn’t need splash guards, just the high flow areas. As a homeowner, it can be challenging to determine the correct location for splash guards. If you need help, give our team of experts a call or fill out our form today. 

Reposition Your Gutters

If your gutters are positioned and angled incorrectly, they will be prone to overflowing. 

They should always pitch towards the downspouts. 

If they pitch away from the downspout, the gutters will fill with water and won’t drain. When they get too full, they will overflow. Gutters weighed down with water can also bend or pull away from your house and fascia, so it is essential to reposition them right away. 

On the other hand, if the pitch to the downspout is too steep, the gutters overflow too. High-velocity rushing water will spill right over the side. 

You may need to adjust your gutters so that they function at optimal capacity. This may mean adding additional brackets or spikes, or it could mean changing the pitch. 

Positioning gutters correctly is an art form and skill that develops over time. An experienced gutter professional can position your gutters “just right” within a few hours or less. 

Inexperienced homeowners may struggle with DIY gutter positioning and still end up with overflowing gutters after hours of adjustments. 

Install Mesh Covers or Gutter Guards

Mesh covers, or gutter guards, are an excellent method to prevent block leaves, twigs, acorns, pine needles, and other debris from making your rain gutters their home. 

Water can still easily slip through the gaps in the mesh, but larger debris can’t. So, if you constantly have issues with clogged gutters, mesh covers are an excellent remedy. Homeowners whose houses are flanked by many trees find mesh covers, gutter guards, or similar devices extremely convenient. 

Installing gutter covers involves a few steps. First, you’ll need the right length of gutter protectors, as well as the tools to fasten them into place. Measure the appropriate length, then install it with fasteners, such as clips. However, installation varies based on the type, brand, and model.

Why Do Gutters Overflow in the First Place? 

Gutters can overflow for many reasons. Overflowing can happen as a result of clogged gutters or downspouts, poor positioning, or narrow gutters. 

Sometimes homeowners have only one of these issues, but often it’s a combination of two or more. In any case, here are the top issues that cause overflowing gutters. 

Clogged Gutters

Clogged gutters can cause your home’s gutter system to overflow, which can quickly lead to other problems and damage to your home.

As the debris, like leaves or nests from pests, build up, the blockages restrict water flow through the gutter, and water overflows into your yard.

This is why routine gutter cleaning, at least once a year, is necessary.

Clogged Downspouts

Downspouts can get clogged with the same debris as your gutters: leaves, twigs, dirt, etc. 

Even if the gutters lining your roof are immaculately clean, if your downspouts are clogged, they will still overflow.

When you clean the rest of your gutter system, remember to clean your downspouts as well, or you may have issues with overflowing gutters. Installing mesh screens over the downspout openings is the best way to prevent them from clogging. 

Gutters are Poorly Positioned 

Poor positioning is a common reason for overflowing gutters. If the gutters aren’t angled right or are angled too far back, the water may run off the roof, completely missing the gutters and landing in your yard. 

As such, you need to have your gutters in the correct position for them to work effectively. 

The Gutters are Just Not Wide Enough

In some unfortunate scenarios, you may need wider gutters. 

If the gutters on your home are too narrow, especially for homes in wet climates with abundant rain, they will quickly overflow. 

The solution to this problem is to invest in wider ones, like 5-inch gutters. Ripping out your existing gutters from fascia boards and replacing them with larger gutters is a substantial expense. 

However, the flooding, water damage, and foundation issues caused by overflowing gutters will be much more costly and catastrophic than replacing them. 

Not Enough Downspouts and Gutters

If your home doesn’t have enough downspouts and gutters, the system could get overworked, causing the rainwater to overflow. 

Gutters should line the sides of your home with appropriately spaced downspouts that account for the amount of rainfall your area receives. Thankfully, extra downspouts are easy to add and should eliminate this common cause of overflow. 

What are the Risks of Overflowing Gutters? 

On top of being a nuisance, overflowing gutters can wreak havoc on your home. While flooded landscaping and a muddy yard might not seem like a big deal, faulty gutters can flood your basement and even lead to costly foundation damage. 

Here are the most significant risks of overflowing gutters. 

Ruins Landscaping 

Overflowing gutters can wash away all of your beautiful landscaping that you spent your hard-earned cash on and spent so much time perfecting.

Flowers, grass, landscaping rocks, mulch, shrubs, and everything else closely flanking your home is at high risk of drowning or being washed away by the waterfall of overflowing gutters. 

Floods Your Yard

If ruined landscaping isn’t bad enough, overflowing gutters could also flood your yard, especially after heavy rain and downpours. Standing water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and make your yard a muddy, mucky mess—good luck mowing without getting stuck. 

The flooding may even drown the large trees in your yard.

Floods Your Basement

When your gutters overflow, they can flood the perimeter of your home and seep into its foundation. Over time, cracks and holes will form, allowing mold and mildew to grow within the foundation. 

Since water flows in the path of least resistance, it will trickle down into the cracks of your foundation wall and into your basement. Once it is in the crack, it will make them larger, especially in the winter as it freezes and thaws (which makes water expand).

Water intrusion into your basement leads to water damage– say bye-bye to the drywall, framing, carpeting, flooring, and everything you have in storage. 

Besides paying to fix the water damage, mold remediation and removing water from your basement can be a costly venture.

Damages Your Foundation

If you’ve been paying attention, you should know by now that water pooling near your home’s foundation can cause all sorts of issues. With constant exposure, the foundation can crack, form holes, and become weak.

This could lead to structural issues on the rest of your home, such as cracks along with the ceiling and walls as the home shifts. It can even get so bad that the house collapses. However, homeowners usually notice some significant signs long before that possibility. 

How Our Gutter Pros Can Help

Overflowing gutters are not only an annoyance, they can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home. That’s why it is essential to fix them right away. 

If you’re struggling with overflowing gutters, give our team of gutter experts a call or fill out the form below. 

We can provide a free assessment, then proceed with a plan to stop the issue. Whether that means installing gutter accessories or adjusting the positioning of your gutters to combat the problem, we can help.

Meet Your Gutter Expert

Henry Gerbin


Whether your gutters are leaking, broken, or you're just someone considering the purchase of your first set of gutters Henry is here to help. He regularly contributes his thoughts and knowledge with the RegionalGutterRepair readers publishing guides and studies on the latest in gutters.

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