Gutters are an indispensable fixture on practically all homes. They protect your house from water-related damages by collecting rainwater and channeling it to the ground and away from the foundation. As gutter installation is not one of the more complicated construction projects, sometimes homeowners can take on the task themselves or hire a contractor that doesn’t have the expertise to install their gutters. However, as is the case with many other endeavors, there are many mistakes that can happen during installation — some of which can render the entire gutter system useless. Learn more about common mistakes during gutter installation and things to look for in your system.
Common Gutter Installation Mistakes to Look For:
Below are some of the most common pitfalls during a gutter installation:
1. Wrong Gutter Placement
The placement of your downspouts can significantly affect how well your system works, as can the number of downspouts that you use. If there are not enough downspouts installed in the right places, it can lead to many undesirable issues such as standing water or overflow during heavy rainfall. Incorrect placement can also cause erosion of the soil around your house, infestations of insects in the gutters, and damage to the siding or foundation. And all of these issues are often expensive to fix.
It is recommended that gutters are placed under or ‘behind’ the drip edge of your roof. A drip edge refers to a component that hangs over the roof and has an outward projecting lower edge. The water then follows the line of the drip edge through a process called capillary action and eventually ‘drips’ right into the gutter. When working correctly, the drip edge and the gutter work together to control the direction that the dripping water travels and helps to protect the underlying components of the building. However, if the drip edge is installed wrong and the gutters are installed below the drip edge, water can drip behind the gutter and cause damage to the wood supporting the gutter system.
2. Choosing the Wrong Type of Gutter
Shopping for gutters can be an overwhelming experience, as they are available in many materials, sizes, gauges, and shapes. When choosing a gutter, we recommend the following specifications:
- Aluminum metal
- A thick gauge such as .032
- Strong, hidden hangers such as Raytec Hidden hangers
- At least .019 thickness for all elbows and downspouts
- A color that matches your home (typically the metal on the eave of your house)
- An adequate size for the amount of water flow
3. Choosing the Cheaper Option
Many homeowners are tempted to choose a more economical gutter system, but the less costly options tend to be made of lower-quality materials. A proper gutter system should last as long as you live in the home, and some can last the lifetime of the home if installed properly. Although a cheaper system might seem the same, the weaker materials can result in many types of damage or even need to be replaced at a cost more than you saved. Any gutter materials that can be purchased at a home remodeling store will not be as strong as what is offered by a professional gutter company. For this reason, we recommend only installing high-quality gutter systems.
4. Wrong Gutter Size
Gutter size is the width of the gutter’s top, and the size determines how much rainfall it can drain when it rains. If your gutters are too small, the system can be overloaded during heavy rainfalls. This will lead to inefficient drainage and may also cause damage to your gutters and perhaps even to your foundation.
When deciding on the appropriate size for your gutter, you should consider the following three factors:
- The average rainfall where you live
- The size of your roof
- The pitch of your roof
- Any areas that overflow
If your roof is more extensive than normal or you live in an area with more rainfall than average, you will need a larger gutter. Talk with your supplier or roof contractor about what dimensions would be most appropriate for your home. These days, most homes use 5- to 6-inch wide gutters. Both sizes can be installed on one house. If a particular area is an issue, then the larger can be installed in that section with the standard size installed on the rest of the home.
5. Improper Pitch
If you don’t look closely, gutters appear to be level on a house. However, they are actually slightly pitched.
The angle, or pitch, at which your rain gutters are hung will affect how well the water will drain away from your house. If your pitch is too steep or not steep enough, this will lead to problems. If your pitch is insufficiently steep, the water will sit in the gutters and not flow out. If it’s too steep, on the other hand, rainwater will travel too quickly through the gutters and overflow will result. Both of these consequences can cause damage and other issues around your home’s exterior.
A good rule of thumb — make sure your gutters slope toward your downspouts at one-quarter of an inch for every 10 feet of your gutter. A professional gutter installation company will use a level during the installation to make sure that the gutters are sloped. This will guarantee that the water drains correctly.
6. Improper Hanger Spacing
Gutter hangers are another important part of your system and refer to the components that connect your gutters to your house.
Even if your gutters are installed at the proper slope, this may all be for nothing if your hangers are not correctly spaced. If the spacing is not correct, your gutters may start to sag, which will lead to water pooling there. The additional load of this pooling water, in turn, can cause the gutters to detach from your home.
When checking your hangers, it is important that they are not spaced more than 2 feet apart. If you live in colder climates where the weight of snow and ice can put extra strain on the gutters, space them less than 2 feet apart. It’s also a good idea to check the recommendations for spacing provided by the manufacturer. Don’t hesitate to ask the installer where hangers will be placed or ask for more hangers if there is a concern. This should be accommodated easily.
7. Too Many Seams
Seams are the areas most vulnerable to damage, so keep seams to a minimum. Older gutter systems used to have a seam every 10″, which inevitably leak.You can avoid this pitfall altogether by having your gutter installation company install seamless gutters, which must be custom-made for your home by a professional contractor. Seamless gutters are made on-site to the length necessary for your home and should overhang the shingles by approximately one inch. Many customers are under the impression this will eliminate all seams. However, there is a seam at every end cap and every corner that may need resealed after a few years. This is a huge improvement over sealing a seam every 10′ though.
8. Damaging the Gutters During Installation
If you plan on having gutter installers hang gutters made of aluminum, which is the material we recommend, extra care is required during installation. It doesn’t take much to bend or dent your gutters — all they have to do is fall to the ground or get hit by your ladder. If this happens, the entire section will need to be replaced. It’s very important to hire a professional company that has the expertise to install very long sections of gutter and work safely from ladders.
Choose All Season Gutters to Install Your Gutters
While gutter installation may not be as difficult or dangerous as many other home improvement projects, it is not something beginners should attempt. Leave it to the experienced installers at All Season Gutters, who know how to install gutters properly.
Our family-owned business, based in Lemoyne, has been proudly serving the Central Pennsylvania region for over 13 years. We are committed to providing superior installations, high-quality materials, and excellent customer service.
Most of the gutters that we install are seamless, meaning that they are less vulnerable to damage than their traditional counterparts. Seamless gutters are the most popular guttering type, making up three-quarters of all gutters installed in the United States. The reasons for their popularity are many:
- More attractive: They feature no unattractive seams.
- Fewer leaks: This is also due to the absence of seams.
- Low maintenance: They are protected by an enamel finish and never need to be painted.
- More attractive yard: Because of the fewer leaks, your home and landscaping will look more attractive as a result.
- Perfect fit: Seamless gutters are made on the site so that the measurements are exact.
- Quick installation: Most seamless gutter installations are completed within one day.
- Customizable: Seamless gutters come in a variety of colors.
In addition to our seamless gutter installations, we also perform various other services, including:
- Gutter guard installations: As mentioned above, gutter guards are useful barriers installed on top of gutters to help keep debris from accumulating. With gutter guards, you won’t have to risk your safety by getting up on a ladder and routinely cleaning your gutters. You can also avoid the issues that result from clogged gutters, which include erosion of your landscape, dry rot, peeling paint, leaking windows, the pooling of water in your basement, and trouble with your foundation. All Season Gutters offers various gutter guard options to suit a variety of budgets and house styles.
- Roof installation: Anyone will agree that roofs are one of the most important aspects of a home, both aesthetically and functionally. For this reason, having a high-quality roof and keeping it in good condition is extremely important. Luckily, this is one of our areas of expertise. We offer professional consultations to assist you with picking a new roof and the materials most suitable for your needs, budget, and the architectural style of your home. In addition to protecting you from inclement weather, a new roof will also improve your property value, boost the curb appeal of your home, and lead to more energy savings.
- Soffit and fascia: To have an attractive home exterior, you need more than just high-quality shingles and siding. When you get a new roof, make sure to buy new soffit and fascia as well. You can install these two things at any time, and it is a quick, effective way to transform the look of your home’s exterior make it both sturdier and more attractive.
- Gutter cleaning: We recommend having your gutters cleaned twice a year — once in the springtime in preparation for heavy rains, and once in either the summer or early autumn in preparation for the winter months. If your home is near lots of pine trees, which are known to shed their needles throughout the year, then you should plan on cleaning your gutters at least four times a year.