At MasterShield, we often make a big deal about how to install gutters. We want our product to become an extension of a roof, so we show the gutter lowered to accomplish this. In snowy climates, it’s actually the preferred place to hang it so that snow can’t easily pull it off your home, yet few installers take the time to install them in this manner.
There are no national standards on how to install gutters, just some basic information in some plumbing code on managing water off your roof. That gives installers a lot of leeway that doesn’t always result in the best installation on your home.
How to Install Gutters: 5 Tips Every Homeowner Should Know
- You don’t need more than 1/4 inch drop towards the downspout for every 10 feet legnth of gutter. On some homes, a gutter can look like a rainbow, high in the center and low on both ends of the house where the downspout outlet and downspouts are located. Water does need to drain, but an installation like this is unattractive and unnecessary.
- Your gutter should extend beyond your roof shingles, not align with it. Water will run down the shingle edge and even run underneath it. Unless you give this water the ability to drop into the gutter trough, it’ll flow onto the end cap and likely cause an unsightly drip that will occur every time it rains. On some roofs, they detail the gable ends with shingles, so you won’t install gutters under this feature.
- You should not drain a gutter from an upper roof onto the roof below. In April 2011, GAF updated report 150-11 about shingle damage from gutters and downspout runoff. They note that when this occurs, shingle granules on a conventional asphalt shingle roof will erode along the water path. Their solution (and we concur, since we insist it be a part our our installation process) is that the downspout gets extended over the roof and drains this water directly into the lower gutter.
- You may not be able to capture all the water with a conventional gutter. Have you seen the architectural details being built into the roof lines of homes over the last decade? While they are very attractive, they leave little room for gutters to be hung nor a reasonable way to handle the volume of water these features concentrate into one place. Installing a bigger gutter can help, but even this may not completely solve the problem. Few homes can handle the appearance of anything larger than a 6 inch, commercial sized gutter.
- Shingle installation can impact gutter performance. Companies like GAF have shingle installation guides, usually stating that the shingles should extend no more than 1/2 to 3/4 inch beyond the drip edge. In many markets, drip edges aren’t code and roofers install shingles deep into the gutters. You may want to have your installer trim the shingles back rather than let them drape into the trough. If the gutter fills with debris and traps pools of water, these shingles will wick water up to the roof and damage can occur.
Poorly controlled water can lead to lots of problems around your home. Having a basic understanding of how gutters should work can save you from other expensive problems so common when water isn’t kept moving away from your home swiftly and efficiently.