Can clogged gutters cause basement flooding?

Yes, clogged gutters can cause basement flooding. In fact, clogged gutters and downspouts are actually a large contributor to foundation failure. Water spills over the edges, and heavy amounts of water saturating the soil causes the soil to expand and damage the foundation walls. The expansion presses against the wall causing movement which ultimately cracks the foundation.

What is a gutter?

A gutter is an aluminum, vinyl, steel, copper, or zinc channel drain that catches water runoff from a roof and carries it to a downspout to keep water from piling up next to the home.

Do gutters help with flooding?

Surprisingly to many, gutters are a great way to prevent basement flooding. Gutters allow rain and snow water to flow down and away from the foundation.

What is a downspout?

A downspout is a tube that connects to a gutter at the roof’s edge and carries water down to ground level, and extensions then carry the water away from the home’s foundation to prevent flooding.

How do gutters and downspouts get clogged?

Heavy rains and storms can flood gutters by blowing debris onto the roof and into the gutters. When the gutters and downspouts build up leaves, sticks, and other debris, the water ends up overflowing, and it dumps water directly below.

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How to clean your gutters

Cleaning your gutters is fairly easy – here’s how to do it!

1. Remove debris

First, clear your gutters of all debris by gathering the leaves and sticks into a bucket. There are some devices out on the market that help you clean your gutters using an extension pole, but the best option (and most effective option) is to clear the bits out by hand, using gloves if necessary.

2. Disassemble

Next, if your downspouts are clogged, detach them completely. Most are removed by dislodging a couple screws near the top, and the entire unit slides off.

3. Rinse out

Once your gutters and downspouts are clear, reassemble the downspouts and rinse them out by running a hose into the gutter.

How far does the gutter downspout need to be from the foundation?

Most recommend that your downspout extension be at least 4-5 feet away from your house. This is to make sure the water doesn't sit next to your home's foundation and cause issues. It does depend on the slope of your yard, how well your soil takes in water, and any regulations in your area.

Are downspouts necessary?

Downspouts are quite necessary for a successful water channel system away from your roof. Without a downspout, your gutters would simply spill water down to the ground, which is what you typically are trying to avoid.

What happens if I don’t have a rain gutter and downspout?

If you have neither a rain gutter or a downspout, the water from rain and snow would spill off of your roof and build up on the ground. A heavy enough rainfall or snow melt could cause major water flooding in your house.

Where does water that goes through a downspout go?

Water is channeled away from your house in a downspout to an area that is able to handle the water. Sometimes that is 4 feet away from your house, other times it is 15-20 feet away.

What happens if a gutter overflows?

If your gutter overflows, it will fall down to the ground next to your home's foundation. This water can seep into your home, and worse, it can crack your home's foundation which leads to more issues down the road.

My basement is flooded because of a rain gutter downspout problem

‍Water intrusion and foundation movement repairs are very costly. 

Today is a good day to check your downspout drainage. It is important to ensure you not only have proper rain drainage from your roof, but also have clean gutters.

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Written by:
Basement Water Controlled Staff
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