Can blocked gutters cause roof damage?

rain gutter

What is the purpose of a gutter?

Firstly, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. What exactly are gutters? They’re not just something put there to mark where the roof ends and walls begin but they actually have a very important function. It’s quite easy to take your gutters for granted, letting them do their thing, well, until they start to malfunction and that is when you discover just how useful they really are.

Gutters basically collect rainwater from your roof and channel it to the ground through a downspout. When rain falls, water rolls down from the slope of the roof and into the gutters, flowing into the downspout which channels the water to the base of the house and away from the walls.

How do gutters become blocked?

  • One of the major causes of blocked gutters is the debris from trees, which is why they can suddenly become a problem in the winter time. Autumn leaves and twigs get trapped in the gutters and the longer they remain, the wetter and more compacted they can get. This can then become an attractive nesting spot for birds and other creatures such as squirrels and vermin.
  • Moss is another way your gutters can become blocked. In the same way moss can collect on a roof it can get into the gutters and sprout quite happily. Not even a heavy downpour will wash it away but the wetter it gets the harder it will become to remove.
  • Another cause of blockages is snow. This is because if the roof is insulated it will melt the snow which can then melt and drip down freezing when it hits the gutter, trapping debris already lodging there.

Clearly, your gutters need to stay clear in order to do the job they are designed for. The fact is, blocked gutters don’t function properly, so the best way to avoid this is to have them professionally cleaned and maintained.

Can this cause roof damage (if so, how)?

When gutters are blocked, water will be constantly present and this will eventually damage the edge of your roof surface and underlying materials. The first signs of this could be a leak or stain on your ceiling if water has seeped in. If this happens, you will need to replace the damaged roof tiles or eventually, the whole roof. Once water leaks into the house, mold can begin to develop within 24-48 hours, which can cause serious health problems if not dealt with immediately.

What other damage can this cause?

As we’ve explained, the more debris that gets trapped in your gutter the more difficult it becomes to remove. If your gutters are not regularly maintained the result can be damage to your home and even to your health. This is how:

Broken gutters

If debris is allowed to accumulate over a long period it can result in cracking the gutter or even wrenching it from the roof.


If rainwater has nowhere to go it will eventually end up seeping into your walls and even worse make its way into the foundations of the building causing it to become unstable. At best, damp is costly to remedy and at worst, can result in mold that can produce mycotoxins which can pose serious health risks to humans and animals.

Damage the fascia

A blocked gutter can result in damage to the fascia and if the fascia fails, then water can get behind and begin to increase damp in the roof space. Wooden fascias will also become damaged and potentially rotten in this case, causing the need for a replacement.

Pest infestation

Pests such as wasps can make their homes in accumulated debris, and this can lead to difficult and somewhat dangerous situations when it comes to removing nests. Keeping gutters free of debris is the best way of minimising the chances of pests moving in.

How to identify your gutter is blocked

  • You often see birds or other pests on your gutter.
  • The gutter looks like it’s sagging.
  • You can see water leaking from the gutter.
  • Does water flow freely along the downpipe?
  • Water overflows from the gutter.
  • There are plants growing from the gutter.

Hire a specialist gutter cleaner

Even if none of these signs are evident, it is likely that your gutter is blocked if it hasn’t been cleaned out for a while. This is why it is important to schedule regular gutter cleaning. A professional gutter service will ensure that blocked gutters will be one less problem for you to tackle in the future. For further information on our gutter cleaning service, please get in touch today by calling 03300 02 02 88 or sending an email to

Clients of Direct Cleaning Group