Should Gutters be Longer than The Roof?

This article was written and published by Rain Gutters Solution.


There are many things to keep in mind when it comes to Residential Gutter Installation. Even before actually installing your rain gutters, there are many things to consider, from materials to the most fitting gutter profile. Size and dimensions are among the defining factors that should be discussed in advance, as they will be essential for the gutter to work properly. With that said, it can be hard to keep track of all the measurements involved in the installation process, especially if you don’t have a professional contractor leading the whole thing.

Why Install Rain Gutters?

Rain gutters are not a luxury. They are a practical advantage and, as such, their installation must be handled with care. A rain guttering system catches the rain falling on your property from the roof and redirects it directly down a drainage path. No matter how intense a rainstorm is, the gutter will keep the water from pooling on your foundations and around your home’s soil, preventing costly structural issues that could endanger the stability of the whole building. This also helps preventing the growth of mold and mildew on your foundations, so you’d be protecting your home’s integrity on all ends and safeguarding its residents’ health.

While gutters involve a straightforward process in most cases, there’s no way to avoid all the size specifications that come with adding a guttering system to an existing construction. A miscalculation not only renders the gutter ineffective but can also prompt serious damage on the building’s roof and walls.

Defining Your Gutter’s Size

On the one hand, they need to be positioned just right to catch the water rolling down your roof. It’s actually fairly common for homemade gutters to leave a too-great gap between the roof and the siding, leading to spills, peeling paint, and potential roof/fascia damage. For their size, a gutter’s width could be anywhere from 4 inches to 8 inches depending on the case, with 5 and 6-inch aluminum gutters being the most common options in most modern houses. The building’s architecture and the local climate have a role to play in defining the right size to hold as much water as possible.

To expand on the pointers above, here are important measures you need to keep tabs on:

  • The gutter should extend slightly past your roof’s shingles. 3/4 of your gutter’s width should stick beyond the shingles to catch all the water and lead it properly down the downspouts.
  • The gutter should be between 2 and 3 inches away from the roof’s edge. The exact number depends on the roof’s pitch and the placement of your downspouts.
  • The gutter should be slightly pitched. It should have a slope of about 1/2 inch towards the downspouts for every 10 feet. Rain gutters can be as long as they need to be in order to match a building, but on average, a gutter’s lengths tends to sit somewhere around the 20-feet mark.
  • The gutter should sit behind the drip edge to prevent water from slipping through the gap and into your sidings.

What Happens if I Don’t Get the Measures Right?

If you miss any of the steps described above, the main issue will the all the water slipping behind your gutters. Your walls would get soaked after every storm, and there would be nothing to prevent the progressive damage this would cause on your soil and foundations.

Another issue related to faulty measures is that the water doesn’t flow as it should, affecting your roof instead of following the gutter’s drainage route. If the gutter isn’t secured to the drip edge, the gutters won’t redirect it properly to the downspouts. Worst case scenario, this might rot your fascia and you’d have to cover major repairs on your roof, not to mention replace your gutters altogether.

An overtly pitched gutter is a common result of DIY methods, as well as too many seams that could make your gutter leak in multiple places. Faults caused while the seams are screwed in place or incorrect hanger placing will make the gutters unstable to the point of tilting forward or sagging after a while.

Why Hire a Professional Installer?

As you can see, installing a gutter the right way is harder than it looks, not to mention a potential safety hazard when you only know the process on a surface level. A professional installation service will provide the materials and equipment needed, saving you time while ensuring the best quality.

More importantly, they will identify all the structural factors that come with your property and adapt their methods accordingly. Your contractor knows the importance of each measurement and the outcome when a gutter doesn’t fit those measurements accurately. Through a portable machine that builds custom-made gutters on the spot, the installer will make a durable seamless gutter system and use all the necessary tools to ensure its stability once it’s attached to your roof.

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