Since 1901, the yearly precipitation in the 48 U.S. contiguous states has increased by 0.2 inches per decade. Furthermore, the country has recently seen more extreme single-day rainfall events.
That should be enough to prompt you to prepare your home for more frequent and intense rains. One way to do that is to ensure your gutters are still efficient in routing rainwater away from your house. If they’re not, it may be best to consider replacing them.
Just as crucial, however, is to know the common gutter installation mistakes to avoid. Otherwise, your gutters may not work as they should, resulting in heftier water damage.
To that end, we came up with this guide on the blunders you don’t want to commit when getting new gutters. So read on to discover what they are to help you make the installation process a success.
1. Replacing Gutters Too Early
Well-maintained galvanized steel gutters and downspouts can last for at least 20 years. Those made of aluminum can last for about four decades, while copper ones can last for five decades or more.
So if you have been caring for your gutters, consider their age before replacing them. If they’re only about ten years old and in otherwise good condition, you may not have to replace them yet. However, it may be wise to get a professional to see if your gutters can benefit from a protective coating.
Protective coats are available for several types of gutters, such as copper and steel. They aim to prevent the metal from tarnishing, weathering, and UV damage.
2. Failing to Factor in Roof Condition
Before installing rain gutters, check the condition of your roof, such as if it has sagging edges. Those are the areas where you need to attach your new gutters. Thus, if they sag, they may not be able to support the weight of the rain-collecting channels.
If you push through and attach gutters to a deteriorating roof, expect them to wobble. Even worse, they may collapse, especially with the added weight of rainwater.
If you’re replacing old gutters and your roof is also old, get the latter inspected by a pro first. The roofer may then only have to repair or replace sagging areas.
While you’re at it, consider hiring the pros for the gutter installation process.
3. Choosing the Wrong Gutter Size
The steeper the pitch of a roof, the larger the gutters it usually requires. One reason is that water gushes faster down steeper slopes. And the quicker it cascades, the more rainwater the gutters have to collect and channel away.
Aside from the roof pitch, factor in the precipitation your area often receives. For instance, consider investing in wider gutters if you usually get heavy rains.
Just as important is the length of the gutters; they should be proportional to your roof’s edges. If they’re too short, loads of water from the rooftop will fall straight to the ground below. However, some may also drip down the underside of your roof to your home’s exterior siding.
Either way, those problems can give rise to indoor water penetration. Aside from causing thousands of dollars in damage, all that moisture can also lead to mold growth.
If you’re unsure about choosing a gutter size, it’s best to consult a professional.
4. Installing Gutters Without a Slope
They may look level, but gutters, like roofing systems, must have a slight pitch, too. They generally have about half an inch of slope for every 10 feet. Then, the lower side of the incline must be toward the downspout.
Don’t forget about that slope; otherwise, some of the water the gutters collect will stay in them. That can promote early degradation, not to mention mold and microbial growth. Moreover, insects, such as mosquitoes that kill over a million people yearly, can breed in them.
5. Attaching Gutters to Rotting Fascia
Fascia is the attractive finishing board you see below the roof and along the side of the overhang. That’s where you attach one side of your gutters.
Therefore, the fascia must be in top condition; otherwise, it may not be able to support the gutters.
So check your fascia for signs of rotting before installing new gutters. Repair holes or spots with decay and splinters, or replace the board altogether.
6. Not Planning for Downspouts
Each gutter system requires downspouts, the vertical pipes that route water away. In most cases, you must install one of these pipes for every 30 to 40 feet of gutter length. For most homes, that means having one of these downward pipes on each end of the horizontal channels.
Aside from the spacing, don’t forget to factor in the slope of your roof. If it’s steep, consider getting an extra downspout or two to help your gutters drain water faster.
However, if you plan to get wider gutters, you may follow the general 30 to 40 feet guideline. After all, larger systems can accommodate more water. Just be sure to get larger-sized downspouts to facilitate quicker drainage.
7. Forgetting to Install Gutter Guards
Unless you want the added chore of seasonal gutter cleaning, then it’s best to invest in gutter guards. Also known as gutter covers, they protect your gutters from debris, leaves, and twigs.
Aside from simplifying maintenance, gutter guards help prevent clogs and ice dams. In that way, they can help extend the life of your gutters and downspouts. Plus, they keep pests and wildlife from making nests on your roof’s drainage system.
Some of your options include K-Guard, A-M Gutter Guard, and LeafFilter. Be sure to research them and their pros and cons to determine which system best suits your home.
Avoid These Common Gutter Installation Mistakes
And there you have it, your guide on the common gutter installation mistakes to avoid at all costs. So to ensure your project’s success, steer clear of these errors. Doing so can also help you avoid costlier problems, such as pests and water penetration.
Alternatively, you can always contact a professional gutter installation company. Besides, they back their work up with a warranty, ensuring you’ll be happy with their service.
Would you like to read other home improvement guides like this? Then feel free to check out more of our blog now!