At MasterShield, we’re in the business of keeping homes safe and beautiful by creating the highest quality gutter guards possible. But first, you need to have well-working gutters. We know that gutters function best when they are installed correctly with all the necessary customizations and specifications for your home. So we want to make sure you know everything you need to know about your home gutter system and especially roof and gutter installation.
Proper installation makes a difference in the short-term and the long-term for you, the homeowner, your home, and your land. Sometimes simple adjustments can mean
- a fully functioning gutter system
- gutter longevity
- safer home maintenance
- better aesthetics
- and more
Do You Know if Your Gutters Are Installed Properly?
How can you find out? We’re here to help. We aim to support homeowners like you in finding the highest quality gutter resources available, including the information you need to know to ensure your gutters are properly installed so you can keep your home free of water damage and other issues.
Here’s a great example of why information like this is so important. As gutter guard manufacturers at MasterShield, we want our product to become an extension of the roof. So, to accomplish this, the gutter must be placed low at the edge of the roof. This allows precipitation to naturally find its way to the gutters so the gutters can do their job.
In fact, in snowy climates, the placement of gutters at the low edge of the roof is especially preferred. In this case, when the gutter is improperly installed, snow can build up on the roof and the gutter and even lead to an ice dam. The accumulation can pull your gutters off your home much more easily than it could with correct placement. Even so, some installers don’t take the time to install gutters low at the edge of the roof to prevent this issue.
You can see how fundamental questions like how far your gutters should extend past the roof can make a big difference in the functioning and longevity of your gutter system. You should factor potential problems and future repairs into the cost of gutters and consider what kind of long-term investment you want to make now. If you’re a homeowner asking these sorts of questions, you’ve come to the right place.
How to Install Gutters: Tips Every Homeowner Should Know
As you may have gathered from that example, there are no national standards for how to install rain gutters. All that’s required is attention to some basic information in the plumbing code about managing the water from your roof. That gives gutter installers a lot of leeway, and it doesn’t always result in the best rain gutter install on your home.
Whether you’re considering replacing your gutters or you’re wanting to be sure your system is working to its best possible functioning, we have some suggestions for you to consider.
1. Choose Your Gutters Wisely
Not all gutters are the same. An unfortunate truth of gutter installation is that you may not be able to capture all your rainwater management needs with a conventional gutter system.
Have you seen the architectural details being built into the rooflines of houses over the last decade? While they are very attractive, these designer details leave little room for gutters to be hung. Truly, there’s not much of a reasonable way to handle the volume of water that is concentrated into one place by some of these features.
Installing a bigger rain gutter can help, so that is something to consider. However, even this may not completely solve the problem. Few homes can handle the appearance of anything larger than a 6 inch, commercial-sized gutter, so these wider gutters may not suit your home.
If you find yourself managing this unexpected issue with your home, we recommend working with experienced installers to find a customized gutter option. They can help you ensure your beautiful home is well-prepared for rain and other types of precipitation. For example, at MasterShield, we offer additions to typical gutter situations to accommodate the particular needs of homes like yours.
No matter what kind of home you have, quality gutters make a difference. Choose an option that will keep things running smoothly, so you can treasure your time and work on the other important things in your life.
2. Installing Rain Gutters with a Tilt
Have you ever seen how gutters can take on the shape of a rainbow? We’re talking about gutters that are high in the center and low at both ends of the house near the downspout outlet and downspouts.
Water does need to drain, of course, but a gutter installation like this is unattractive and unnecessary. Your gutters can have a much slighter drop from the center to each end. In fact, for every 10 feet of gutter length, you only need a ¼ inch drop from the center to the downspout for your gutters to drain properly.
Follow the ¼ inch for every 10 feet rule for gutters that are both more aesthetically appealing and potentially longer-lasting and higher-functioning overall.
3. Proper Placement for Your Gutter Installation
Your gutters should extend beyond your roof shingles, not align with them. Water naturally runs across shingles, down the shingle edge, and even underneath it. When gutters are installed directly in line with your roof shingles, the shingles impair the natural flow of water. Rainwater can flow onto the end cap and will likely cause a drip.
No one actually wants that unsightly drip that returns every time it rains. But this problem is fixable. If you install the gutters so that they extend beyond the shingles, you allow the natural flow of water to fall into the rain gutter trough, just like it’s supposed to. Yep! It’s that simple. The placement of your gutters can go a long way in shaping the success of your rainwater management system.
As always, there are some unusual roof structures and circumstances that require alternative processes. For example, if you have gable ends on your home, your roofers may have detailed this attractive roof feature with shingles. We don’t recommend installing gutters under these. If you know your roof structure has unique features that require a professional perspective, we recommend you consult with a skilled installer before making changes.
4. Roof Drainage & Gutter Installation
Not all roofs drain the same way. If you have multiple levels to your roof, you definitely want to look out for issues.
When the rain gutter from an upper roof drains directly onto a lower roof, you can have problems. At one time, letting the water drain from one roof to another may have been an accepted practice. However, a 2011 GAF report update discussed how shingle damage can be caused by runoff from your gutters and downspouts. In the report they note that, when this occurs, the water will erode granules from the shingles on a conventional asphalt shingle roof.
This leaves a visible and unappealing mark along the spilling water’s path as it travels across your roof. It also damages your shingles and may affect the functioning of your roof over time.
We’ve seen this problem, and we simply won’t install our gutters this way. Is this problematic setup familiar to you? There’s a simple solution if you follow the GAF report’s recommendation.
Just extend the downspout over the roof to move the flow of water straight into the lower gutter system. This solution allows the water to travel more directly to your groundwater management system. It eliminates the need for the water to pass over your roof more than once.
5. How Far Should Your Gutters Extend Past the Roof?
Have you noticed your shingles lately? The way your shingles are installed can affect your gutters’ performance too. You can find more information about proper shingle installation from companies like GAF who offer a shingle installation guide.
One problem you may find is that your shingles extend too far out at the base of your roof. Shingle installation guides usually state that the shingles should extend no more than ½ inch to ¾ inch beyond the drip edge of the roof flashing. In many markets, drip edges aren’t code, which means they’re not required. In these cases, roofers may install shingles deep into the gutters. This can lead to gutters filled with debris and trapped pools of water. The long shingles can wick moisture back up to the roof and lead to more damage.
Rather than let them drape into the gutter trough, you may want to have your gutter installer trim the shingles back. This way water will drain into the gutter without issue.
Replacing Your Gutters
Well, if you didn’t know already, now you’ve got some real examples of gutter-related issues to consider when installing new gutters. You can have more confidence as you figure out what you need for your home.
Maybe you need to address a roof shingle situation or you need to add a downspout between an upper roof gutter and a lower roof gutter. Maybe you want to find an installer who will take the time to install your new gutters below the edge of the roof.
Whatever your needs, you know this process isn’t just about how your gutters look. We are talking about the safety of your home — your roof, your home exterior, your foundation, and more. Poorly controlled water can lead to lots of problems around your home. When moisture isn’t kept moving away from your home swiftly and efficiently, you can wind up with some expensive problems.
If you’re having trouble with your gutters or if you’re ready for an upgrade to your home gutter system, having a basic understanding of how gutters should work can save you from these issues. It’ll also help you make a reasonable choice about gutter installation cost. If you’re ready to make the next move, reach out to us today. We’re happy to support you in finding your next step for your new gutter installation.