Why Is Water Running Over My Gutters?
LESLIE: Lulu in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
LULU: This past fall I noticed that the bricks in my front steps were starting to break down. And I was paying attention, finally, on a rainy day and I said, “There must be water coming from the gutters.” And I thought maybe – I’ve been in my house for three years, so I thought maybe the gutters need to be reattached. I had someone come out, because I also saw some screws coming out. And so they reattached them with some new screws. And then, of course, more rain came. Still running – coming down. My bricks on my front steps are decaying very rapidly. So I thought, “OK, let me do some more research.”
And I found out about the drip edge. So I was like, “Alright. Is there a drip edge or not drip edge on this house? This was built in the 1950s, ’48. And so I crawled up to the – onto the roof. I’m scared of heights.
LULU: And I went there and there is a drip edge but it was flat. So I decided to get one of those T drip edges, like those – the edges come out more – drip edge. And so I installed those underneath the edge.
TOM: So are we talking about putting in an additional piece of flashing underneath the shingles, to kind of extend the reach into the gutters?
LULU: Yes. I’m thinking that may be the problem. Still raining again. It’s still rainwater coming down onto the front of my steps a bit. It’s also well …
TOM: OK. So, first of all, what does this roof look like? Has it got a pretty steep pitch to it?
LULU: Like more than 45 degrees? Yeah.
TOM: Yes. So if you have a roof with a really steep pitch, you end up getting sort of a lot of inertia of that water sort of rolling down the roof. And it’ll tend to kind of jump across the gutters sometimes.
Are the gutters clogged and then leaking or is the water that does get in the gutter actually draining out?
LULU: It’s not. It’s not clogged. No. We cleaned it.
TOM: It’s not clogged? So it’s not overflowing and leaking? They’re just – it’s the water just sort of missing the gutter.
LULU: Because I’ll look up and see that it’s coming through underneath the gutter. And then I’m like – I’m trying to understand how that’s possible.
TOM: The way that that’s possible is if the gutter does get clogged, it can back up and then sort of spill over the back edge of the gutter. That’s how that often happens. Now, if it’s not clogged, the water’s not getting there in the first place. And I think your approach is right but you need to make sure that the additional extension of the roof shingles into the gutters is done adequately enough. So if the shingles are installed right, they should overlay the edge of the gutter by at least 2 inches.
LULU: I didn’t put shingles in. I just put that plastic, more like a drip edge. Like another drip edge that …
TOM: OK. Do the shingles overlay the gutter edge by a couple of inches or are they short of the gutter?
LULU: They’re short. They’re at the …
TOM: Yeah. So that’s obviously the problem then. You have to extend those roof shingles into the gutters.
Now, this drip edge that you put in, you said it was plastic?
LULU: Or metal? I don’t – it’s with – I got it at Home Depot.
TOM: What I would do, in a situation like this, is I would take 4-inch aluminum flashing, OK? Comes in a roll. Very inexpensive. It’s easier to work with if you cut it into maybe 4-foot-long strips. And I would work it underneath the shingles. It has to go under the shingles and then on top of the back edge of the gutter so that it truly does serve as a bridge. You need to extend the reach of that shingle into the gutter, because it sounds like the gutters are a little bit short of the edge of the shingles. And they’re never going to work well in that case. We’ve got to get the water running over the shingles, then onto the flashing and then into the gutters. You have to kind of create sort of an extension. If you do that, it should work well.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.