Most people know that gutters are the long, pipe-like devices attached to virtually every house you see. A gutter system is an essential component of every building. It serves a simple purpose but helps prevent potentially devastating water damage to your home. Many homeowners don’t realize the importance of gutters, and many don’t understand how gutter placement works. Here is a comprehensive guide on the importance of gutters and gutter placement.
Why Are Gutters Important?
Gutters direct and manage water flow when it rains. They direct from the roof through the downspouts and away from the compound. By facilitating water management, gutters serve several essential functions. They help prevent water stagnation on the roof by collecting and displacing water and debris, such as leaves. Water stagnation can cause damage to the roofing system, including wood rot and rusting of metal components.
Gutters also help prevent potential water-related damage to your home’s basement and foundation. Water flowing directly from the roof to the ground can collect and pool in the basement, causing damage from long-term molding to flooding. The water can also seep through your home’s foundation, slowly weakening it.
The damages caused by nonexistent or defective gutters can cost a fortune to repair. All of the repairs these damages would necessitate would not only inconvenience homeowners monetarily but also disrupt their family’s living arrangements and everyday routines. Damage like mold, flooding, rot & rust can pose health and safety risks.
Gutter Placement: Where to Install Your Gutters & Why
Gutter placement refers to your gutter system’s positioning – where and how you install it. Your home’s gutter system will not work correctly if the gutter placement is wrong. This can result in the damage discussed earlier, costing you thousands of dollars in home repairs.
Now that you understand the importance of gutter placement, here is a three-step overview of how it works:
Pitch measurement involves calculating the angle to which you will install your gutter system. Generally, the gutters should slope slightly downward to facilitate the unobstructed flow of water and debris. Gutters installed at a level or upward-sloping angle can cause water stagnation, which can cause various damages to your home’s roof, sidings, foundation, and basement. An awkward gutter position can also affect your home’s overall appearance.
Your gutter system should be sloped about ¼-inch per ten inches to channel water and debris downwards. However, pitch measurements may vary depending on other factors, primarily your home’s style and roof type.
The next step after measuring the correct pitch is installing the gutters. Many DIY enthusiasts make the common mistake of installing the gutter channels at a position level to the roofline.
This mistake essentially makes the gutter system useless because water cannot flow into the gutters. Instead, it leaks through the space between the roofline and drains, causing water-related damage.
The gutter system should be placed slightly below the roofline to ensure that water from the roof flows into the gutters. However, placing it too low can still cause leaks, especially when water flows off the roof in longer streams during storms – it will flow beyond the gutters to the ground below or drip through the sidings.
Properly fastening your gutter system is also crucial. Water and debris can collect in the gutters during severe or prolonged storms, and the weight can cause the system to break down or come off.
Hanger spacing depends on the amount of rainfall your area receives per year. That spacing should be a maximum distance of 36 inches apart from the center of the gutter system for homes in areas with low rainfall. In contrast, the spacing should be a maximum distance of 18 inches from the center of the gutter system for homes in areas that experience heavy rain.
Spacing is crucial because it determines the gutter system’s strength. Gutter systems in areas that experience heavy rainfall require narrower spaces between hangers to help support the water’s excess weight – the gutters would likely break apart if the spacing were wider. On that note, buying structurally strong gutters for durability and easy maintenance is also advisable.
Leave It to the Experts
Gutter placement can be a complex process for an unskilled DIY enthusiast. Even minor errors can result in extensive water-related damage to your home, causing financial losses and disruptions at home. This is why consulting a professional is always prudent – a professional will install the gutter system properly, saving you time and money.
Quantum Roofing is the go-to contractor for all gutter and roofing services in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Get in touch today to learn more about our services.