4 Things Everyone Always Gets Wrong
Planning on a new roof and gutters this season? Too often, your roofer or gutter installer will take short cuts that wind up leaving you with problems afterwards. Want to be savvy about gutter guards and gutter heaters to make sure you’ll get the job done right? Read on.
Gutter Trip Edge Flashing Problems
How to Properly Install Gutter Drip Edge
1. No flashing at the roof edge.
Shingles extending off your roof deck (the plywood, OSB or wood tongue and groove over your rafters) and ice barrier or felt should extend over a metal drip edge, roof apron or flashing. In many markets, this is mandatory. In others, it’s not. In fact, in some markets in the South, roof decking stops a few inches before the rafter ends and the fascia board begins, leaving shingles to hang in mid-air over the gap! Extending the ice shield or roof felt from your roof onto your fascia is no compensation for the real drip edge. It’s just another shortcut. If you want your shingles to last longer with less damage plus have a neat look along your roof edge, insist on drip edge or flashing with your new roof and gutters.
The drip edge doesn’t just protect your shingles, it also helps protect your fascia board. Water often follows around your shingle edge and can wind up flowing down your fascia, behind your new roof and gutters. Water can also splash up from the interior of your gutters, constantly wetting your fascia. Exposing your fascia to water means the paint on it will peel faster and ultimately, your fascia can rot, leaving nothing to hold your gutters in place. With the simple step of adding flashing/drip edge, you’ve stopped a big, expensive problem from developing over time.
2. Shingles extend too far.
Too often, to compensate for lack of drip edge or flashing, shingles are installed too far forward, covering what is supposed to be the open trough of your new gutter. In some markets, you’ll see roofers drop shingles down into the gutter. When exposed to all of the water that can flow through a gutter (worse if there’s a clog and the gutter fills like a bathtub) your shingles will wick water up like a straw. Not good to start off with a new roof and gutters with this problem built in.
Shingle manufacturers say to use a 1/4- to 3/8-inch shingle overhang over the eave (where your roof ends). We’ve seen other references that suggest extending the shingles a bit more than the manufacturers suggest to compensate for wavy eaves, but they do not indicate extending more than 1 inch over the eave. For more information on this, see our post on shingle overhang.
3. Gutters hung too high or too low.
Gutters should be hung where a straight edge laying on your roof shingles can easily extend over the front lip of the gutter (this is the proper installment location for the high point of the gutter). In almost every instance, gutter installers take the path of least resistance and shove the gutter right underneath the roof shingles instead. While it’s easier to install a gutter this way, it’s not an ideal install. If you live in a cold climate, you’re left with a gutter more likely to be pulled away from your home from snow melting off your roof. Tom Silva explains this in a video he did for This Old House. You’ll find him covering this point for about 30 seconds starting at 7’30”.
Gutters have to be sufficient in size to handle the roof (in square feet) above the gutter. In many modern homes with beautiful, intricate roof lines, there isn’t sufficient guttering to handle all the water flowing off the roof. Sometimes this can be handled with larger gutters, but often, you’d be better off with your new roof and gutters having extra downspouts or installing a “Y” downspout. Check the connector piece the gutter installer uses and insist on the widest possible to fit the downspout. Too often, gutter installers use tiny connectors, impacting the gutter’s ability to drain. Think of your gutter like a tub. The bigger drain pipe, the faster the tub drains. Add a second, and you’ll double the speed the water drains from the tub.
Why not consider gutter guards with your new roof and gutters? You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle in the long run if you end the chore of gutter cleaning with all the other problems you’re trying to avoid by fixing your roof and gutters. Before going through the more than 100 options (most versions of systems sold over 100 years ago), why not check out the state of the art features in MasterShield, a gutter guard for the 21st century. Its technology has been rated top in the field by independent testers and no other system has more patents backing the technology. Click below to get an estimate with your new roof and gutters!