Eavestrough Maintenance and Care

Occasionally we get calls regarding eavestrough that is not functioning properly. Typically customers are concerned that there is something wrong with the eavestrough itself and in some cases there is. Here is an explanation of some of the factors that could cause issues as well as a list of a few things that can be done to prevent or fix them.

A properly functioning eavestrough system will effectively move water away from the house to prevent seeping, flooding, or other water complications. Eavestrough basically catches water that sheds from the roof. It should flow toward the downspouts and then exit the eavestrough at that point. Extensions at the bottom of the downspout help to carry the water away from the house. This process can fail for a number of reasons. Here are some reasons why your eavestrough may not be functioning as you would expect it to, and possible solutions.


Obstructed Water Flow

This is where the path to the downspout or the downspout itself is obstructed and not allowing water to exit the eavestrough. This is a very common cause of water flow issues and we recommend checking this possibility first. Obstructions are often due to leaves, tree needles, small twigs, etc. that end up in the eavestrough, especially if you have taller trees near your house.


The solution to this problem is simple. Having your eavestroughs (and downspouts if they are obstructed) cleaned out regularly will ensure that water is able to flow freely. Having a gutter guard or leaf guard system installed is also a good form of preventative maintenance that will reduce this problem.



Faulty Slope

This is where the slope of the eavestrough is such that the water does not flow toward the downspout. All eavestrough must be sloped properly in order to work properly. There are a few potential causes for this including a house that is not (or no longer) level or improper installation.


If the eavestrough is not sloped correctly it can be adjusted by an installer fairly easily in most cases as long as the trough is fastened with hangers. In the case of older eavestrough with the nail and ferrule fasteners it is much more difficult to adjust without damaging the eavestrough itself, so sometimes it will need to be replaced. 

If the building is not level enough it may be impossible to slope the eavestrough enough to have the water flow in the desired direction. In this case the downspout location would need to be changed.



Water Capacity Issues

This is where the amount of water entering the eavestrough is greater than the amount of water exiting the eavestrough through the downspout, and the previous issues have been ruled out.


In this case there are really only a couple of solutions. The easiest one is to add downspouts or increase the size of the current downspouts. The quicker the water can exit the less likely that the eavestrough will overflow. The design of many houses limits the placement of downspouts and this can contribute to overflow. Larger downspouts can improve this but at times the only solution would be to add downspouts at more locations. This may be less aesthetically pleasing but may be necessary. Another solution is to install a larger eavestrough but this is rarely necessary on residential buildings unless the design prohibits adequate downspout locations. However without adequate downspouts even a larger eavestrough may overflow with any substantial rainfall.

Keep in mind with any extreme rainfall there is nothing practical that can be done to prevent some overflow. All systems including city drainage system, ditches and streets overflow in these extreme conditions. Unfortunately eavestrough overflow will likely happen in extreme rainfall conditions.



Ice Damming 

This can happen during seasons of melting/freezing cycles usually when there is a buildup of snow on the roof, and is more common in the spring. As the snow melts, enters the trough, and then freezes, ice dams up in the trough, and water coming off the roof will overflow the sides of the eavestrough.


In such cases, removing snow from your roof is a preventative measure you can take. You will want to make sure you take proper precautions to avoid damaging the roof, and protecting yourself on a snowy roof. Eventually, as the weather warms, the ice will melt and the trough will be able to handle the rain again. Eavestroughs aren't built to drain snow and ice, but once these melt, they should again be able to handle the water.



Damaged or Worn Out Trough, or Leaky Seams

Sometimes the eavestrough cannot properly drain the water due to damage. This can be due to abuse the trough takes from branches, debris, wind, and/or other external causes. It can also be due to rusting through (on older troughs) or other punctures that would cause leaks. Leaking can also happen if seams are not sealed properly. Finally, if your fascia board is rotten, it can cause the eavestrough to have issues since it won't be attached properly. A rotten fascia board, however, can be a sign that drainage issues have been present for some time, and not necessarily with the eavestrough.


Leaky seams can be sealed and small punctures can potentially be patched. If there are other issues, you would normally want your eavestrough replaced, as well as any other issues fixed. Continuous eavestrough (no seams) is a long-term solution to reduce the seams along straight runs.



Other Causes

Other causes to your eavestrough not functioning properly could be improper installation, a faulty product, a fascia board that makes it difficult to properly install eavestrough, or other construction issues that create challenges.


In such cases, you would want to have an experienced eavestrough installer take a look at your situation and provide you with options to have your trough work more effectively.



Summary

If you have cleaned out your trough and downspout, and are confident there is no ice damming, but are still experiencing issues with your eavestrough under normal conditions, give us a call at 204-326-8185 and we can help provide you with eavestrough solutions.