Common Causes of Gutter Leaks and How to Avoid Them

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Common Causes of Gutter Leaks and How to Avoid Them

A leaky gutter poses a big problem – it can do damage to your roof, fascia, siding, and can even cause serious damage to your foundation. It can also cause garden erosion, flooding, and wood rot.

Major repairs caused by a dripping gutter can result in costly repairs and stress. Your best weapon? Prevention. Save a ton of money by knowing the common causes of gutter leaks and how to avoid them.

Cause # 1: Unsecured Gutters

When there is a leak in your gutter, one potential cause is loose or unsecured hangers. Gutter hangers are internal or external accessories or joints. These hangers make sure your gutters are securely attached to your roof’s fascia board.

Sometimes the weight of rainwater, or wet stuff stuck along the rain gutter, causes the hangers to sag. As a result, when it rains, the water will seep through the loose joints— and you guessed it right, your entire gutter system will leak.

How To Avoid This Problem: 

Your gutter should be free of debris at all times. You can hire a cleaning service to clean the wet rubbish like leaves along your gutter and maintain its cleanliness. Additionally, secure the hangers tightly to the fascia board.

Cause #2: Harsh Weather Conditions

Most of the time, your enemy is harsh weather conditions, especially when the weather changes are severe. This natural occurrence can prove worse to galvanized steel gutters. When your gutters are exposed to bad changes in weather, they tend to crack at the seams. Your gutter nails and braces can also break and crack. 

How To Avoid This Problem

The only solution is to repaint your gutters. Why? You are countering the accumulation of rust under the paint coat. It is advisable to repaint your gutters properly so they can hold up for many years. If not, you will find yourself repainting several times a year.

Cause #3: Clogs

Clogs or congested gutters are common causes of leaks. When your gutters are packed with debris, like leaf litter, water will not go out through the downspout. Instead, with all the rubbish, the water will spill out over the edges of the gutter, and over the sides. Sometimes it’s the downspout that is clogged.

How To Avoid This Problem

Regularly check your gutters for debris and simply remove them by hand. If your home is particularly situated near trees and foliage, you may want to check your gutters every two to three months. If your home is nowhere near trees, best to check annually.

Cause #4: Improper Slope

It’s all about the angle. Your rain gutters should be slightly sloped downwards. Why? So that rainwater will slide to the downspout, all the way out to the ground. If installed incorrectly, and your gutters are improperly sloped, water gets stuck along the gutters. Heavy pools of water will cause your gutters to sag— and, yes, leak.

How To Avoid This Problem

To prevent this, observe your newly installed gutters when it rains. Or hire a rain gutter technician to inspect the downward slope, and if needed, to adjust it accordingly. 

Cause #5: Cracks, Holes, and Gaps

Holes, gaps and cracks are caused by rust. How does rust develop? When rain gutters— particularly metal ones— are not maintained properly. When neglected, rainwater or debris will pool in specific areas along the gutter, which builds rust. When rust-induced holes appear,  it will certainly cause major dampness to your home. 

How To Avoid This Problem

When you spot holes, gaps, and cracks, immediately work on covering them with a silicone waterproof sealant. Or you can remove the old sealant and replace it with a new one. 

Are Blocked Gutters Covered by Your Household Insurance?

It is no secret unforeseen damages to your home can leave you with an unsettling feeling. This sinking feeling can quickly escalate if you are to learn these damages are not covered by your household insurance due to blocked gutters.

It may not be at the forefront of your mind but it is a pertinent issue that needs to be discussed. Did you know you may be left out of pocket if it is assessed that damages to your home are due to ill-maintained gutters?

So, what does Home and Contents Insurance cover? We have sifted through three Australian insurance company’s Product Disclosure Statements. Let’s have a look at what their policies are regarding gutter blockage below.

  1. Suncorp

Suncorp’s advice to their customers is to make sure everything is well maintained in order to be fully claimable.

They state:

“Your home is not covered from damages caused by blocked gutters when:

An escape of liquid happens as a result of a gradual process of leaking, splashing, dripping or overflowing over a period of time when you haven’t taken appropriate measures to fix the issue, or

any wear and tear happens to your gutters that causes damages your home. Most gutters have a limited lifespan. Therefore, they might need repairing or replacing. Doing this can help to prevent problems and give you a strong basis if you had to make a claim for damages to your home.”

            (Suncorp, 2019)

However, if it is assessed the damage is caused for instance by a heavy storm and strong winds then it may be claimable, provided gutters are in good condition prior to the event.

  • RACQ

Similarly, RACQ’s Product Disclosure Statement does not cover damages or losses caused by preventable wear and tear, as seen in the ‘General Exclusions’ section. They clearly state the homeowner is not covered if you don’t maintain your home and contents in good condition.” (RACQ, 2013)

Another reason to book in a gutter clean is that RACQ may not cover any damages or losses caused by pests or parasites, “including rats, mice, cockroaches, termites, fleas, lice and bed bugs.”

Pests will take any opportunity, with damp, debris-ridden gutters being a very enticing access point to your home.

RACQ may also not cover damages caused by birds unless they cause damage to glass, in which case the break must extend through the entire thickness of the item.

To learn more about Gutter-Vac’s bird proofing solutions please get in touch.

3) Allianz

Likewise, Allianz state “depreciation, gradual deterioration, wear and tear or lack of maintenance” is always excluded from coverage. (Allianz, 2020).

It is very important to have a solid background of your policy, as well as the inclusions and exclusions. It can be seen that if you do not uphold regular upkeep on your home, it can have a significant effect on your claim if problems are to arise.  It is not worth the risk. If your insurance provider assesses that maintenance work has not been carried out, they may reject your claim.

Professional gutter cleaning services will ensure the job is done efficiently, and will provide you with a receipt of the service.

For the DIYer, exercise caution if you try to clean gutters yourself. Ensure you use the right gear or recruit the professionals to prevent a fall and subsequent hospital landing.

For further information, it is important to refer to your insurance provider’s current Product Disclosure Statement.

Are your gutters overflowing?

With the winter rains comes lots of calls from home owners that their gutters are overflowing.  It is pretty clear to everyone that their gutters are now full of debris, blocking the gutters from doing their intended purpose of taking the rainfall landing on the roof of the property and moving it through the gutters away from the property (or into a rainwater tank).

A regular gutter clean would prevent this from happening and depending on the type of property and where the property is located (eg. do you have a lot of trees close by) that might be just once every 6 – 12 months, but just like a good insurance policy, it will protect you.

By the time your gutters are overflowing, it could be too late.  Generally, overflowing water will flow over the BACK of the gutters into your property, before the overflow over the FRONT of the gutters – the type of overflow you are more likely to see. 

Gutters are one of the ‘hidden’ maintenance items that are often overlooked by home owners because unless you are like us – obsessed by gutters – how often do you look up at your gutters?  And even if you are looking up at your gutters, how likely are you to see or know if they have debris in them or not?

Gutter cleaning is an essential property maintenance item and it is so important that it is not left off your list of items to get done.  We know that many customers often “forget” about their gutters so we even have a PMP service (Preventative Maintenance Plan) where by once we have completed your first gutter clean, we will let you know when your gutters would require their next service – depending on the environment surrounding your property and the type of gutters you have – and then we will even give you a notification when they are due.  A year can go by pretty fast and we are sure  you are not thinking every month ‘Do we need the gutters cleaned again?’.  We make it easy for you.

If you have blocked gutters that are overflowing, then don’t delay in giving us a call to clean them out.  With our specialised wet/dry vacuum system, it doesn’t matter how wet and muddy your gutters are, we will get them clean and working again for you and then we can help you out with our Preventative Maintenance Plan so you never have to remember to get your gutters cleaned again…. We do the reminder for you!

Winter is here … are your gutters cleaned?

Having your gutters cleaned is such a simple thing to do to maintain your home.  The potential damage that just a small blocked gutter can do to your home or property can be huge.

We all know that the intended purpose of a gutter is to take the water that falls onto the roof of your property and divert it to the drains, away from your home.  Now if your gutter has even a small blockage that will prevent this flow of water, that’s where the problems start.

Most people assume (incorrectly) that the water will simply ‘overflow’ over the edge of the gutter and onto the ground.  Yes, some of the water will do that, but more often, the first way the water flows is over the edge of your gutter BACK TOWARDS your home.  It will overflow into your ceiling cavity, down the walls (inside and out) and can cause significant water damage. 

And it doesn’t have to be after a big rainfall either.  If you have an unnoticed blockage with an overflowing gutter that is not overflowing on the front of the gutter where you will see  it, but only back towards your house, then these small amounts of water, over an extended period of time will really cause serious water damage issues to your home that will be expensive to fix. 

We always get inundated with calls after the first big rainfall because that is when people notice their gutters are blocked and overflowing.  We suggest not waiting for the first big rainfall, it is a part of your maintenance that needs to be done at least every 12 months.

If you haven’t had your gutters cleaned in years and haven’t had overflowing gutters, then don’t assume you are safe!  Maybe they are not overflowing yet, but maybe this is the year that the build up in your gutters gets to the blockage size!

If is not the leaves that are the problem in your gutters.  It is when they break down and start to form a muddy sludge that sits in the bottom of your gutters.  This sludge starts to create almost like a dam wall or simple build up covering the bottom of your gutter, then covering up the bottom half of your gutter and then continuing to grow layer on layer.

So if you haven’t had your gutters cleaned in a few years, winter arriving is a good reminder that it is time to get them cleaned and don’t risk the potential expensive damage to your home for such a simple task to organise.  All you need to do is pick up the phone, make a local phone call to 1300 654 253 and you will be connected to your local Gutter-Vac Franchisees who can provide you with a free quote.

Our 5 step gutter cleaning process. Your guarantee – we will do what we promise.

  1. We Vacuum Everything
    At Gutter-Vac Upper North Shore & Northern Beaches we literally vacuum everything out of your gutters! That’s all the dust, sludge, dirt, mud, leaves and twigs. Then we take it with us when we leave – unless you’d like to use it in your compost bin.
  2. Downpipes
    We also clear the top end of your downpipes – down to the first bend where 95% of blockages occur. So next time there’s a heavy downpour, you can be confident your downpipes are clear and ready for work.
  3. Roof Valleys
    Next we do the roof valleys. They’re important as they are the most likely place for water to get into the ceiling. In heavy rain, leaves can become stuck in roof valleys. This has a damming affect which can lead to water entering your roof cavity. In older homes, roof valleys are usually made from galvanised steel which will rust if leaves and debris are allowed to collect on them. This will cause leaks. (You’ll know if your roof valleys aren’t working efficiently as you will see a stain on your ceiling.)
  4. No Mess
    Lastly, we commit to leaving no mess behind – which includes inside your roof cavity. (Operators who use blowers to clean the gutters blow leaves into the roof cavity where it dries out to become a potential fire hazard!)
  5. Report
    Finally, we’ll give you a Roof & Gutter Report. It will include before and after photos as well as a personalised Preventative Maintenance Program with every standard gutter cleaning service.

For further information call us on 1300 654 253 or visit our website

4 Reasons Why Your Gutters Might Be Leaking.

“Beware of great expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” – Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin’s quote rings true not just for sailors, but for homeowners too!

It can be very frustrating to discover a leak in your home, and very unnerving trying to figure out the source!

Wouldn’t it be nice to avoid the mad scurry to find buckets every time it rains? And not have to worry about unnecessary water damage to your building foundations, outside furniture and deck area?

We’ve outlined below the most common causes of gutter leakage, and some ways to solve it before it gets out of hand.


Ah old age – it is inevitable for all of us. Unfortunately, the turns of time can also wear down your gutters. Sometimes, gutter leaks can occur regardless if they have been emptied or not. This may be to do with their age. Over a period of time, gutters can loosen. Following this diagnosis, you may need to have tighter fastenings installed. But it’s not all bad news – regular roof maintenance will undeniably enhance longevity.

Gaps and Cracks

Gaps can occur if the gutters have been neglected over time.

Without care and regular inspection, the connections joining your gutters can wear out from exposure to the elements. Spotting washed out soil underneath the gutter connection may indicate water is leaking through.

Grit and debris can potentially get into the seal itself which may cause erosion.

The simplest way to protect your connections is to ensure the gutters are cleaned on a regular basis to minimise debris rot.

Professional advice is recommended as damaged gutters can quickly lead to serious water damage.

Gutter Slope Problem

If your gutter is sagging, it is a sure sign to take action. Mounting brackets can also sag or become damaged, which can cause an incorrect gutter slope.

Ideally, your gutter should have a slight gradient to gently channel water to the downspout. However, as time marches on, or if the gutters have been weighed down by heavy debris, this slope system can sag too much. This may lead to excess water lying in the gutter, which can cause rust. Rust can then eat away at your gutters, creating holes. Left untreated, water pooling in the gutter can also attract mosquitoes and other unwanted pests.


A blocked gutter can lead to many associated issues. For instance, a clogged gutter can cause fascia damage. If your fascia board is timber, it can easily rot if exposed to increased moisture from an inefficient gutter system. Without regular upkeep, excess debris from your gutter can even clog the downpipes, which will overload them. This means the water will then naturally travel back up to the highest point – your gutters. Subsequently, your gutters may overflow causing leakage into ceiling cavities or other surrounding areas.

If you have a big blockage in your down pipes you would need to call out a plumber, which might end up being an expensive experience. Stubborn blockages may mean the use of a water jetter, and CCTV cameras to effectively identify the location of the obstruction – all of which may incur an added cost.

It’s tricky to identify the source of a leak yourself, so it’s always best to enlist the help of a professional. The tell-tale signs of water damage may not manifest themselves until well after the fact. Regular checks and maintenance help prevent potential issues before they become a problem.

We continue to support you during this time and would like you to know we can provide a safe, no contact service during this period of social distancing.

Rest assured – we always prioritise the safety of our employees and customers.

Northern Beaches property managers, real estate agents, strata managers and commercial building managers prefer one gutter cleaning company

Learn why they choose Gutter-Vac Northern Beaches & Upper North Shore

The dust, dirt, leaves and debris that collect in gutters can also block downpipes – causing major plumbing issues. That’s why we vacuum clean the downpipes as well as the gutters.

But we don’t stop there. We also do 6 extra service features to keep everyone happy. That’s why we’re the preferred choice for real estate agents, property managers, strata managers and commercial building managers across the Northern Beaches.

6 Additional service features included with every gutter clean from Gutter-Vac

  1. All leaves and debris removed from gutters, roof and downpipes are taken away by us so there’s no extra cleaning work to do.
  • We provide before and after photos of the roof and gutters so you and your clients can see what we’ve done.
  • We also supply a roof and gutter report showing the condition of each building’s roof and gutters.
  • If you’re serious about preventing future plumbing problems due to blocked drains and downpipes, we can provide a Regular Maintenance Program with “set and forget” scheduling. We’ll even notify you, in advance, of the date for the next clean.
  • Many insurance companies are now asking for proof of regular roof maintenance when investigating claims relating to roof and water damage. As one of our Regular Maintenance Program clients, we can provide you with proof of our last visit and the date for our next scheduled visit.
  • All of our roof and gutter cleaning technicians are safety trained with Work at Heights and are fully insured.

Take advantage of our Regular Maintenance Program

Our Regular Maintenance Program takes the headache out of planning and monitoring regular roof, gutter and downpipe cleaning.

Each plan is tailored to the individual needs of the building and its surrounds – considering things like the proximity and number of deciduous trees near the building.  Typically roof and gutter cleaning occurs every 3, 6 or 12 months but the timing is entirely up to you.

For a complimentary roof and gutter inspection report (with photos) for any of the properties in your care, contact the team at Gutter-Vac Northern Beaches & Upper North Shore on 1300 654 253.

We’re the Northern Beaches gutter cleaning specialists covering Manly, Dee Why, Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Newport, Avalon, Terrey Hills and Frenchs Forest.

Blocked gutters….

Blocked gutters are a major issue for any home.  A blocked gutter added with a rainfall can cause extensive damage to your home.  Maybe in one heavy rainfall or over a period of time if left unchecked.

When a gutter is blocked and you haven’t had your gutters cleaned for an extended period of time, the rain that is collected off the roof into your gutters can’t be moved off and away from your property as it gets stuck in your gutters because of the blockage.

Many people assume that the water will simply overflow from the gutter onto the ground, but this is not the full picture.  The water just doesn’t overflow over the gutters away from the house, it also overflows TOWARDS your house.  It will flow into your ceiling cavity, it will flow into the walls (down the outside and inside).  This may be slowly over time or if it is a big storm, in one single rainfall.  This causes expensive damage to your property.

And, it could have all been prevented with a regular gutter clean to ensure blockages and potential build up of matter that will lead to a blockage have been removed.

Sometimes it is not just leafy matter that blocks your gutters.  We find all sort of things… including tennis balls!  We see lots of these at schools!

Climbing a ladder and getting onto a roof is an unsafe exercise so don’t risk a fall because you chose to DIY this task.  Give us a call and let us help you maintain your property safely.  We even do before and after photos so you can see the build up of sludge and debris in your gutters and then also what they look like after the job has been done!

Give us a call on 1300 654 253 or visit

When was the last time you looked at your roof?

For many of us, out of sight means out of mind. But when it comes to your roof, that can be a problem. There could be broken or slipped tiles, lifting ridge capping or, if you have a metal roof, sheeting that’s come loose due to rusting roof screws.

But the most common roof problem we see is rusted gutters because they haven’t received the regular care and maintenance they need.

Damaged gutters or a roof in disrepair will leak when it rains – causing damage to your home. That’s why Gutter Vac Upper North Shore and Northern Beaches, provide a FREE Roof and Gutter Inspection report with photos so you can see what’s happening up there.

Best of all, we have all the safety equipment and thorough training which means you don’t have to put yourself in danger by climbing the ladder or getting onto your roof. We’re also fully insured.

Our gutter cleaning service is super-efficient because we have a unique gutter vacuuming system that sucks out all the sludge, mud, dirt, leaves and other debris from your gutters.

If you want a roof that will keep your home dry, call the professional roof and gutter specialists at Gutter Vac Upper North Shore and Northern Beaches on 1300 654 253.

We take care of the Northern Beaches including Manly, Dee Why, Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Newport and Avalon.

5 things every Northern Beaches property owner should consider before choosing a gutter guard system

The advertising around permanent gutter guard products would have you believe “You never need to clean your gutters again”. But this is a myth.

Permanent mesh gutter protection stops large twigs and large leaves from entering your gutters. But they don’t stop small leaves, petals, seeds, pollen, dust or dirt. Over time, sludge will build up, providing vermin with a bountiful food source, and they’ll soon use your cosy ceiling cavity as their home.

So, even if you have permanent gutter guard installed, your gutters will still need to be cleaned. But worse, if you select the wrong system, these gutter guards will need to be removed, cleaned and re-installed. This can significantly increase the time required to clean your gutters.

Some people suggest pressure washing gutters. But it’s not a good idea as this method simply pushes water and sludge into your ceiling cavity, which can cause damage to your home.

There are some good permanent gutter guard products on the market. You just need to make sure you choose the system that’s right for your property.

5 things to consider when choosing a permanent gutter guard system – especially if you live on Sydney’s leafy North shore

  1. Is your home surrounded by trees? If it is, do these trees drop pollen, shed their leaves or drop flowers?
  1. Does your area have a vermin problem? That includes insects like mosquitos, rats, possums or mice.
  1. Do you live in an area that’s considered to be at risk during bush fire season? If you do, there may be specific building codes that relate to bush fire prevention and this could affect your permanent gutter guard options.
  1. Will the permanent gutter protection system be easy to clean and remove (because your gutters will still need cleaning regardless of the system you choose)?
  1. Is the gutter protection system you’re considering worth the investment compared with the cost of using a regular gutter cleaning service?

As Professional Gutter Cleaners, we have seen many different forms of gutter protection systems across the Northern Beaches and North Shore suburbs of Sydney.

In our view, many of these systems are ineffective and simply add to the costs of gutter cleaning. When we speak to homeowners, the one common feeling they share is their bitter disappointment with the gutter guard product they selected. It usually cost them thousands of dollars and has proven to be ineffective in providing the protection it promised. All gutters need regular cleaning – even if you have a gutter guard product installed. So, if it’s been a year or so since you last cleaned your gutters, give us a call on 1300 654 253 or book on-line at