How do you Stop Gutters From Clogging? 4 Ways Experts Prevent It, to Avoid More Serious Problems

Simple ways to keep your home waterproof and well-maintained with advice on how to stop gutters from clogging

fallen leaves clogging a gutter
(Image credit: Getty Images / Willowpix)

Out of sight, out of mind, gutters are easily forgotten about. Yet, ignoring them can cause larger issues. Stopping to consider how do you stop gutters from clogging is the first step in problem prevention.

Moss that grows on the roof, fallen leaves and other detritus can build up in gutters and cause issues from leaking roofs to damaged windows, let alone ruining your home's curb appeal. Maintaining gutters is a small task that can prevent these much larger–and more expensive–problems from arising. 

These are the 4 things experts recommend to stop them ever clogging in the first place. 

What will happen if my gutters get clogged?

'Keeping gutters clean is important to avoid a number of problems that can easily escalate,' says senior gutter contractor Isnar Bicalho at Handsongutters.

'Overflowing water is the number problem, since it’s the first thing to happen when debris is filling the gutters and blocking the passage of water.

'This overflowing water will go into unimaginable places, such as the roof, siding, fascia board, soffit, windows and door frames. Not to mention the surface below, like decks, porches and even concrete, leaving a clear water mark and with time, damaging that surface.

'Secondly, pooled water sitting on the glued joints of the gutters, will eventually erode them and water will find small breaches and drip through. This situation will often require a gutter repair.

'Debris plus the amount of water accumulated will increase the weight hanging in your gutters and can certainly force your gutter down. This is common if the gutter has not been properly installed.'

1. Regular cleaning and maintenance

gutter clogged with leaves

(Image credit: Getty Images / Hermann Bresser)

Life is busy and it's easy to forget about something–until it's too late and becomes a problem. Rain pouring down your windows or damp patches appearing at the top of your walls or edges of the ceiling can indicate water ingress. 

Instead of running along the gutter to the downspout or drainpipe, during a downfall rainwater pours over the edges, if they're clogged.

Regular cleaning and maintenance should prevent this from happening. If you're happy to climb a ladder, it's a simple task you could do yourself. Alternatively, put a reminder in your calendar to call a professional in.  

'Houses that don’t have any trees around may still have roof granules sticking at the bottom of the gutters if they have a shingle roof,' says Isnar. 'Otherwise, all homes near trees, need the gutters cleaned at least once a year minimum. Fall is critical, but a spring clean clears out roofs from debris brought by the weight of snow upon trees. Houses surrounded by lots of trees, could benefit from a clean even three times a year,' he adds.

2. Install a gutter guard

Regular cleaning and maintenance is important, but preventing gutters from clogging in the first place will help too. If you live somewhere with a lot of trees and leaf fall, it's worth adding a gutter guard, screen or mesh. 

Some types can be bought 'off the shelf' and easily installed yourself. Others require professional installation. 

'The best way homeowners can prevent their gutters from clogging is to use gutter guards,' says Isnar. 'Open gutters will certainly accumulate debris. So no matter how much you sweep your roof, or clean them, they will get clogged again. However, gutter guards need to be installed correctly to do the job.' 

3. Clear away leaves 

drain pipe blocked with fallen leaves

(Image credit: Getty Images / Tim Parker)

Clearing fallen leaves from gutters and drains as much as you can yourself will enable rainwater to flow away better. 

'A blower is the easiest way homeowners can access their gutters, and to prevent them from clogging,' says Isnar. 'This method will only work for the segments, not for downspouts though. 

'For downspouts install a downspout filter at the bottom, so it's easy to remove debris every time they are clogged.'

4. Trim nearby trees

clean gutters

(Image credit: Getty Images / LeilaSpb)

Trees surrounding a property look beautiful, enhancing the exterior and providing shade in summer. However, it's worth trimming any branches that hang near or over your gutters. This will reduce the amount of soggy leaves that could end up clogging your gutters.

Call in a tree surgeon, if you're not confident, trimming or pruning trees yourself.

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.