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If you’re thinking of replacing your old, leaky gutters, or you’re realizing your need for a first-time gutter installation – either way, that’s some good thinking on your part! One of the purposes of your roof is to shield your home from precipitation. But where does all that water go as it leaves your roof? That’s where gutters come in! They collect water from your roof’s edges, send it through the downspouts, and then direct it away from your building’s foundation.When gutters are designed and installed properly, it’s a beautifully effective, and honestly pretty impressive, system!
Many homeowners assume that putting up gutters is nothing more than a simple DIY project. However, unless you’re a general contractor or have specific training and experience in working with gutters and roofing, gutter installation can be much trickier than it looks. Gutters that are improperly installed can result in some serious water damage to your home and property. Here are some common gutter installation problems you really want to avoid:
Many homeowners just want to go with the cheapest gutter material, assuming that all materials work the same. They don’t! Vinyl is a great choice for home siding, but isn’t the most durable or reliable choice for gutters. Metal works better. But which metal? Copper is hard to beat, but it’s also expensive. Galvalume steel is another incredibly durable and low-maintenance material option, and it has a much friendlier price tag than copper.
The size and profile of gutters you need should be based on more than looks or style alone. Two factors you really need to consider are the average amount of precipitation your area receives, and the square footage of your roof. The bigger your roof, the bigger your gutters need to be to accommodate the corresponding volume of water they have to move. Don’t forget about the pitch of your roof, either. In general, the steeper your roof, the faster it will shed water – meaning more water for your gutters to collect. If your roof is fairly steep, then it’s a good idea to think bigger in terms of gutter sizing.
Some homeowners make the unintentional mistake of not installing enough gutter hangers, and/or spacing them too far apart. The result is that gutters can start to sag or pull away, which can produce some costly damage to your structure. As a general rule, gutter hangers should be spaced no more than 3 feet apart. And if you’re in an area that receives a lot of snow and ice, plan on shortening that spacing to every 2 feet.
Gutters should not be hung level; there needs to be an adequate amount of pitch for water to flow correctly to the downspouts. Too little pitch can result in a lot of standing water, while too much pitch can easily overflow your downspouts. The ideal angle for gutter placement can vary based upon your gutter size and profile, but a good rule of thumb is to make sure the downspout end of the line is ¼” below the high end for every 10-20 feet of a gutter run.
The number and position of downspouts you install with your gutters is incredibly important. It’s best to position downspouts right at the corners when possible. No downspout should cover more than 20 feet of linear gutter, and if you have a stretch longer than that, you should really have downspouts positioned at both ends of the run. If the run ends up being longer that 40 feet, it’s also advisable to place a downspout in the middle, as well.
A final potential source of problems is having too many gutter seams, and/or not sealing those seams properly. Every seam and point of connection is a potential source of leaks, so this is an area to which you really can’t pay too much attention!
Now that we’ve listed some pitfalls to avoid, here’s a pro tip. The absolute BEST way to prevent gutter installation problems is entrust the job to the pros! The expert team at Skywalker Windows & Siding can come out, custom fabricate seamless gutters that are tailor-made for your roof right on site, and then install them for you with precision!
What makes seamless gutters better than sectional gutters you could purchase and try to install yourself? Plenty. Custom-made seamless gutters are made in complete runs, with no seams in the middle – meaning no opportunities for leaks. With sectional gutters, each junction between sections creates another opportunity for leaks to form over time. And because they’re custom-fitto match the exact measurements and contours of your roof, there’s less opportunity for foul-ups at the corners, too. And while seamless gutters aren’t necessarily the cheapest option out there, they don’t have to be the most expensive, either. Much of the price is determined by the metal material you choose, so you actually have a lot of control over the final price tag. Plus, the design advantages of seamless gutters really make them a longer-lasting, more cost-effective choice in the long run!
The Skywalker Windows & Siding team offers several residential and commercial building improvement services, including window replacement, siding installation, blown insulation, drywall repair, and home additions including decks and porches. But roofing is really where we got our start, and gutters are really one of our specialties!
Skywalker stands behind every one of our products and services, and we’ll be there for you every step of the way. We’re proud to be the preferred home improvement services and roofing provider for the NC Piedmont Triad, Triangle, Charlotte Metro, and Roanoke, VA areas, and we’re here to take care of you, too!Reach out to us online or give us a call at (336) 265-9595. today, and let us show you the Skywalker difference!
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