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How Can Dormer Gutters Cause Leaks?

Posted December 1, 2017 by Daniel White

Do you have gutters on your dormers? You could end up with a leak.

I just had a client with a roof like this the other day. He had a leak, and we tracked it all the way back to a gutter cutback. I recommended he just take the gutters off the dormers.gutter downspout

Nice dormers give a roof an architectural look and make it pretty. These dormers jut out over the top, but they don’t come to the front of the roof. So gutter companies will add gutters to the ends of them.

They don’t want to have ugly downspouts, so they do what’s called a gutter cutback. They run the gutter back toward the roof and cut the back of the gutter off. When it rains, the water runs down the dormer, hits the gutter, and then runs back. It’s supposed to run back down the roof. This can cause some serious problems.

First, it makes the water run in the wrong direction. If it’s hard enough, it can actually run up the roof slightly, before it comes back down. We don’t want the water to go up on your roof. We want it to come down. The other thing that happens is they start to build up a bunch of debris. Homeowners can’t get to that upper dormer. They’ll clean all the lower gutters, but they won’t touch the dormer gutters. They fill full of slime, dirt, and debris.

In Portland, you’ll see nasty slime trails down the front of the roof because of the constant dripping thanks to the gutters on your dormers That’s because of the debris. It’s backed up and it’s slowly just dripping, dripping, dripping. It works on the nails, staples, and flashings, and eventually, you get a leak.

Get those gutters off the dormers. If they’re not needed, let’s not have them. It’s just a maintenance problem for you.

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