Gutters are installed at a slight angle so water drains out instead of remaining stagnant. Gutters don’t appear slanted because installation companies know exactly what they’re doing, but they are.
Gutters should have a specific slope based on this formula:
¼ of an inch of drop per 10 feet of horizontal gutter
This calculation tells a gutter installation technician where to attach the downspout so that heavy amounts of rain can flow unobstructed from your roof. The side of your roof where the downspouts are is the side that should be lower.
Long sections of gutter, like across the front of a house, may require a downspout on both sides. When this is happening, the rain gutters will be pitched from the middle, meaning that the middle of the roofline will be the highest point, and both downspouts should be lower than this center point.
Gutter Pitch Problems
If your gutters are installed incorrectly or if they have become loose or bent, it can cause problems that might be expensive and complex to repair.
When there is something wrong with your gutter pitch, it can cause water to back up in your gutters. Water is a common problem around the home, as it can lead to all of the following issues:
- Rain inside of the gutters can lead to roof damage because of the standing water. When it doesn’t flow from the gutters, water can get underneath the shingles and cause damage to the fascia, sub-roofing and even get inside your house.
- Pooling rain water is one way mold and mildew can grow on areas of your roof, gutters or siding. Removing mold is a very hard project, especially if it appears on your roof. Mold is known for destroying organic materials (many of which exist in your house) and even making people feel ill.
- The weight of standing water inside your gutters can lead them to pull away from your roof. The gutters can tear out fasteners from the walls, destroying your vinyl or other exterior materials. It can also destroy landscaping and windows.
Do You Have a Gutter Pitch Problem?
To be confident your gutters are correctly pitched, here are a some of the things you can check:
Look for Hanging Spots
As we mentioned above, you shouldn’t be able to see the slope of your rain gutters. If you can visibly tell where the low point is, this is a sign that your gutter is damaged or that it is getting old.
You should still be able to notice a dip in the gutters from the ground, so this is a safe job that homeowners can do on their own, with their feet on the ground.
Check for Standing Water
Rain water naturally follows the path of least resistance, so any amount of water inside of your home’s gutters is an issue. If possible, check the gutters right after rainfall so you can see the flow of the water.
This might force you to climb a ladder, so be careful. If you aren’t comfortable doing this, you can have a handyman or a gutter specialist from DC Gutter Service do it for you.
Inspect for Shingle Particles
Any small granules left behind in the gutters from your roof shingles are a sign that the gutters might not have enough slope, so the water can’t carry these heavier materials away. Seeing grit or sludge in your gutters is more common after having a new roof installed because it will tend to shed excess granules in the first few years.
You can climb up and look, or you might notice some of the particles flowing out of your gutters from the downspouts. If you notice a little in these areas, there is a good chance there is more that is unable to make its way out.
Why is There Overflow?
Gutter overflow is sometimes caused by a blockage, but it can also be because of incorrect gutter pitch. If water is flowing the wrong direction, know as “back pitch,” you will see water overflowing from the end cap. This can cause problems for your roof, gutters and landscaping.
To remove the possibility of blockage, schedule gutter cleaning at least once a year or install gutter guards. If the gutters are clean but you are still seeing overflow, it’s another sign that there is a gutter pitch problem.
Professional Gutter Damage Repair
If your gutter pitch gets distorted, it can lead to many problems for your home. All of the problems above can let you decide if your gutter pitch is off.
Regardless of whether your rain gutters were damaged or if they were installed poorly to begin with, they need to be re-pitched if you want to avoid major home repairs, including siding damage, leaks and landscape damage.
Gutter Repair in Washington DC
The most affordable option will be repairing the existing gutters so the pitch is restored. If the rain gutters are in prime condition and undamaged, this should be the route DC Gutter Service encourages.
To correct gutter pitch, DC Gutter Service will loosen the gutter, but they won’t need to take it totally down. This lowers labor costs and time. Then the technician will measure and calculate the correct pitch and reinstall the gutters, adjusting fasteners if necessary, to fit the correct measurements.
Gutter Installation in Washington DC
If your rain gutters are permanently damaged, or if they are starting to rust or wear down with age, DC Gutter Service may recommend that you replace them instead of re-pitching them. This will be more economical in the long run and time-saving.
If your gutters need to be replaced with new ones, they will include new fasteners, hardware and downspouts. The installer should set the gutters at the appropriate pitch. You can use the tips above to ensure the new installation is done correctly.