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Most Common Causes of Gutter Blockages

Updated on September 13, 2014

Blocked guttering

House roof gutters are designed to collect the rain water from the roof and transfer it to the rain water pipe that carries it down to ground level where it can be dispersed into the ground or transferred to a sewer or underground pipe..

Without guttering, the water would drip onto the side of the house, rot timber window sils/fascia boards and cause damp issues on the ground floor of the property.

It is therefore very important that these gutters are kept free of blockages and generally well maintained. Here is an example of how much it costs to repair guttering.

It is not uncommon for these gutters to become blocked, usually with any or all of the following:

  • moss from the roof
  • leaves and twigs
  • pine needles
  • roof debris such as broken tiles
  • plants and weeds growing in them

Old Fashioned Approach to Gutter Blockages

In years gone by, the old fashioned approach to gutter blockages involved installing larger gutters to cope with minor build ups of moss/leaves or to simply have the gutters cleared out frequently.

A whole new roof gutter system can cost a fortune and ,may not entirely solve the problem.

Having the gutters manually unblocked is either going to be costly or if done by an inexperienced homeowner could lead to an accident.

Gutter Hedgehog

Modern Products

Nowadays there are many other options, here are just a few of them:

  • Install a simple cheap leaf guard mesh
  • Consider a more expensive hedgehog/brush type guard
  • Install a pipe filter
  • Install a drain head filter

Leaf gutter meshes are available from most DIY store and online, they rare cheap and easy to install but they only keep out broad/large leaves and not mush else, certainly not fine particles or roof moss - the number one causes of rainwater gutter blockages.

The Gutter Hedgehog is a more recent product that is also very6 easy to install and has been prevent o keep out leaves, large clumps of moss and other debris.

Beware of Certain Products

The gutter foam is an insert that sits inside the gutter. It allows the rainwater to flow through but keeps out even the fine debris.

Unfortunately it also blocks very easily and the top layer can become clogged within a matter of months.

It is also not that easy to clear out.

See the video below as an example:

In Summary

The most common causes of roof gutter blockages are in fact roof moss, leaves and twigs that rot down int a layer that prevent water from existing the gutter fast enough.

During heavy rain the gutters will then overflow.

Even with a gutter guard system installed, it is highly likely that guttering will still block and overflow at some point.

Gutter guards merely reduce gutter maintenance intervals, they do not eliminate then entirely.

Here are my five suggestions for keeping your roof gutters free flowing:

  1. Clear then out frequently
  2. Install a gutter guard that is easy to maintain
  3. Trim back overhanging branches
  4. Remove roof moss
  5. Apply a chemical moss killer to the roof to prevent moss growth


Has your guttering become blocked?

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