Gutters play an important role in moving water away from your home; however, gutters cannot adequately perform this task if they are improperly installed. To ensure yours perform as they should, avoid these common mistakes when undergoing gutter installation.
Choose the Right Style
Two style of gutters are commonly used for residential applications. The first is a “K-style” gutter, which contains a flat surface on one side that may be directly attached to your fascia. Half-round gutters are rounded on both edges, and somewhat resemble a “u” shape. K-style gutters are ideal for traditional sloped roofs, making them perfect for most newer homes. Half-round gutters are better for round roofs, but also look nicer on older homes, and are often chosen for historical structures.
Gutters are available in a variety of materials, including plastic, PVC, aluminum and copper. Plastic and PVC gutters are among the most common types because they are also the most economical. Even so, they may crack or break when exposed to the elements. As such, they may therefore be impractical when placed in direct sunlight, making metal gutters a better option.
Five-inch K-style and six-inch half-round gutters are standard on most homes. A one-foot section of five-inch K-style gutter is capable of holding 1.2 gallons of water. Six-inch gutters hold around 2 gallons of water. Both styles come in larger sizes, which may be more appropriate if you have a very steep roof or live in an area that receives a great deal of rainfall.
Increasing the size of your gutters could require using bigger downspouts. Traditional five-inch K-style gutters require a downspout that is 2×3 inches, while six-inch half-round gutters require a 3×4 inch downspout. If you use larger than standard-sized gutters, you should increase the size of your downspouts accordingly. Never try to fit smaller downspouts into larger gutters, as this can result in water backing up inside them.
Sizing gutters is actually a complicated process that becomes more difficult if you also have an intersecting or hip roof, which is why it should be left to a professional.
To allow for good water flow, gutters must be slightly angled. This is referred to as “pitch”, and is very important to prevent damage. Gutters with too steep a pitch could cause water to move too quickly, allowing it to spill over the edges. When the pitch is not steep enough, water could back up, causing your gutters to hold too much weight. This may eventually result in broken or damaged sections. A precise formula is used to calculate pitch, not only to ensure that water flows properly, but that the appearance of the gutters does not appear skewed.
Gutter hangers are used, even with K-style gutters, to attach them to your home. Unfortunately, several problems may exist with the hangers that could eventually cause them to malfunction. The most common problem is hangers that are spaced too far apart, which can eventually lead to your gutters sagging or collapsing. This is especially common among gutter systems containing “hidden hangers”, which are designed to allow for movement of your gutters as they expand and contract.
Some other common problems with gutter hangers include:
- Using the wrong size hangers
- Improperly attaching hangers
- Selecting low quality hangers that will not stand up well to the elements
- Using the wrong hardware to attach hangers
Unfortunately, many gutter installation problems may not become apparent until some time after they were placed. This means it is extremely important to use a reputable contractor to avoid issues such as these from occurring. For top-notch gutter installation, please contact us by calling 888-399-0955 to obtain an estimate that won’t include shortcuts.