Gutter Drainage Tips for Your House

Residential | August 1, 2023  | By: John Esh

Corner of roof on a white painted home

Why Are Gutters so Important to Your Home?

Gutters control the flow of water off your roof and away from your house. A proper system protects your home and saves you from expensive repairs from flooding, washouts, yard damage, roof, and foundation damage. 

When water isn’t properly drained off your roof and away from your foundation, it can cause damage from the roof to the yard and everywhere in between. 

When water, snow, or ice can’t drain off the roof because of clogged gutters, water can back up and work its way into cracks and damaged shingles. Ice and snow are especially dangerous to roofing, as the freeze-thaw cycle puts pressure on roofing materials, causing damage that leaves the roof vulnerable to weather year-round. 

When water runs down the side of the house instead of through a proper drainage system, it can eventually cause leaks in siding and around windows resulting in rot as well as causing mold, mildew, and algae to grow on the siding. If it leaks into the house, it can ruin your floors and walls. 

Once it reaches the ground, water that doesn’t properly drain away from the house puts pressure on the foundation and can leak into your crawl space or basement. Over time, water can cause structural damage to your home and cause unhealthy mold and mildew buildup.  

Water damage doesn’t stop at the ground. Poor drainage also ruins landscaping and attracts water-loving insects like mosquitos.

Proper gutter drainage is critical to keep your home in top shape.  

What Is Proper Gutter Drainage?

Proper gutter drainage efficiently moves water off your roof or out of the ground and away from your home. When effective, it prevents ice, snow, and water from damaging your home and yard. 

Water can be routed toward a drainage ditch, storm drain, underground water barrel or cistern, or an area safely away from the house.

A drainage system should be constructed to drain water at least four feet from your house – but ten feet is recommended. When your gutters and drainage system are doing their job, there shouldn’t be any standing water near your home. 

How Does Proper Drainage Improve the Lifespan of the Gutters and Home?

Proper drainage prevents water damage to your home and yard, but it also extends the life of the gutters. 

Clogged gutters not only force runoff to drain wherever it can, but they are also prone to extensive wear and tear, leakage, and rust. When leaves are stuck in a clogged gutter, they become a harbor for rodents and other pests as well as algae and mold. All of which can damage the gutter.

k style copper colored gutters installed by joyland roofing

Gutter Drainage Options

Regular maintenance can keep your drainage system flowing, but there are additional steps you can take to protect your home from poor drainage. Repair costs are almost always much more expensive than prevention. Take steps to ensure proper gutter drainage around your home to prevent costly repairs later. 

First things first – clean your gutters

Gutters are critical to your drainage system and are prone to clogging. Leaves, sticks, and other outside debris can reroute the water, making leaks and damage more likely. Gutters should be cleaned every six months and when debris is visible.

Install gutter guards or seamless gutters

If you have trees near your home that frequently drop leaves into your gutters, installing gutter guards on top of your existing gutters can prevent clogs. Seamless gutters are another option that prevents clogs and leaks. 

Extend your downspouts

Even if your downspouts are free of leaks or debris, if they aren’t routing water far enough away from your home, you may still end up with foundation damage or basement leaks. You can buy downspout extensions or install a system that connects them to buried drainpipes.

Install a French drain

A French drain is a small drainage ditch containing a rock-covered, perforated drainage pipe that carries water to an underground rain barrel, storm sewer, or drainage area away from the house. It can be built to look like an attractive landscape element. 

Plant a rain garden

A rain garden uses native plants to catch and filter rainwater runoff. It’s an attractive and eco-friendly way to put that water to good use while supporting your local ecosystem.

Install a sump pump

A sump pump is installed underground in a pit below the lowest level of your home. It uses a water level sensor and series of pipes to route water away from the foundation. It turns on and off automatically in response to the water level. Installing a sump pump and drain system is an extensive project best left to a professional.

Improve the grading

The ground surrounding your foundation should slope away from the house to redirect runoff. Without proper grading, it may direct that water toward your house instead. Regrading involves adding fill and tamping it down to achieve a proper slope away from the house. Grading can be a large job that often requires professional excavation.


Don’t let poor gutter drainage damage your home! Call today for an estimate.

    Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor License (HIC) # PA124258