3 Reasons Why Your Gutters and Downspouts Are Noisy

Aug 22, 2016

Few things feel more relaxing than falling asleep to the sound of a gentle rain. The water pouring onto your roof creates a soothing white noise that clears your mind and calms your soul.

That is until your gutters and downspouts join in.

If you have a window near your gutters and downspouts, the persistent clunk, clunk, clunk or thud, thud, thud of rain hitting metal may wake you up rather than help you drift to dreamland.

Surely, not every gutter is as noisy as yours. So why do your downspouts, in particular, sound like a toddler with a cowbell?

1. Your Gutters Have a Clog

Gutters work best when completely clear. As the rain flows from your roof, the water should slide gently from piece to piece until it arrives quietly on your front lawn or garden.

But when leaves, twigs, or other debris clog your gutters, the water might not flow so peacefully. As water pools and overflows, drops may escape your gutters and hit the outside of your downspout or home. In severe cases, the water may seep into your eaves and cause damage to your roof.

Before the next thunderstorm, check your gutters for any leaves or twigs that may block your drainage system, and trim away any overhanging branches as needed. If your gutters frequently clog, consider investing in a gutter guard. The right gutter guard can keep out debris while allowing water to flow freely (and quietly).

2. Brackets or Appendages Have Loosened

To prevent leaks and water damage, gutters need to cling tightly to your home. But heavy wind, rain, and snow can loosen your gutters’ hold on your roof. Shifts in temperature trigger expansion and contraction that pull brackets out of place. Over time, entire sections of your gutter may hang loosely by a few short screws.

When water pours into loose gutters, the momentum and force are often enough to jiggle the already loosened gutters. The extra movement then allows the water to noisily splash and slop against your downspout.

When your gutters seem particularly loud, inspect your gutters for any loose or hanging brackets. Don’t forget to check the undercarriage and fascia board that connect to your gutters. If you see any problems, call in a contractor to tighten connections or replace damaged sections of your downspout if necessary.

3. The Downspout Sits at an Awkward Angle

At a glance, your gutters may look like they sit perfectly level. Each section seems to have straight lines that outline the edges of your home.

But when installed correctly, gutters have a slight angle. The average gutter has a slope of 0.25 inches for every 10 feet. This gradual slope allows gravity to pull the water toward your downspout rather than collecting and pooling near your roof.

Additionally, your downspouts should also have subtle tilt. The gentle curve of the elbow allows water to propel away from your home and to a catch basin, garden, or underground drainage system.

However, when your downspout has too rigid of a structure, the rainwater won’t slide along the edges. Instead, each water droplet will freefall to the corner of your downspout, creating a jarring dripping sound with every hit.

To alter the angle, you may need to replace the bottom section of your downspout so it has a wider, smoother angle. You could also invest in a downspout extender, a plastic or vinyl elbow, or a downspout chain to soften the noise.

Talk to a Professional About Quieting Your Downspout

Your downspout may be noisy for a variety of reasons, not just the ones listed above. If the sound bothers you or a family member, reach out to a contractor to inspect your downspout and gutters. He or she can quickly pinpoint the problem and recommend an affordable way to mute the racket.