Do you want to install and hang gutters yourself? If so, you need to be careful. There are many mistakes you can make that can damage your home or put your safety at risk. Here are five of the most common mistakes DIYers make when installing gutters and the best way to avoid them.
1. Choosing the Wrong Gutters
Gutters come in a wide variety of gauges, styles, sizes, and materials. Each different type of gutter has a different benefit and drawback. If you choose the wrong type of gutter for your home, it can be a nightmare.
You want to pick a gutter with the most durable material you can afford. Take the time to speak to a contractor or someone at your local hardware store about the type of gutter you should choose based on the roof shingle size and your style of home.
Most standard residential homes use a K-style aluminum gutter. These gutters are 5 to 6 inches wide. However, if you live in a raining climate or want a different style, then you might choose another type like a 1/2 round aluminum gutter.
The gutter’s gauge is just as important as the type. The standard gauge for a residential home is 26 gauge. However, it’s better to use 32 gauge, just to be safe. This is especially true for people who live in areas that have extreme weather events, like heavy rains, high winds, and heavy snow/ice.
2. Incorrectly Calculated Pitch
Gutters look perfectly even. However, that is only an illusion. There is a slight pitch to gutters that allow the water to flow towards the downspouts. Generally, for every forty feet of length, there is a one to two-inch decline.
The decline is hardly noticeable. However, it’s important because it keeps debris from clogging up the gutters. IF the gutters are clean, water will flow to the downspouts without overwhelming them. The water needs to move unobstructed in order to keep from backing up your system. When you mount your gutters, make sure to use a level to ensure you’ve calculated the proper pitch.
3. Improper Spacing of the Hanger or Mounting System
Gutters are attached to your house using various types of hangers or a mounting system. The hangers can be straps, inside, or outside, but they all need to be spaced correctly. They should be close enough together, generally 3 feet or less, to offer support to the gutter.
If there is not enough support, the gutters will sag over time. When sagging occurs water collects in lower places which will tug at the hanging or mounting system which will cause the system to be ripped from your home.
If you use hangers, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You can place the hangers a bit closer if you need to. With proper spacing the gutters, and the water, where stay where there belong.
4. Improper Gutter Placement
When it rains, water runs down your roof’s surface and goes over the edge. So most people believe the gutter should go on the edge, but that’s actually wrong. The gutter actually needs to be a few inches under the roof’s edge. Why? Simple, it’s physics.
Put a paper towel on a drop of water. You’ll see that the water is sucked into the paper towel’s fibers, in a capillary action. Your roof does the same thing. Water drips off the edge of the roof, but it can also be pulled back into the underside of the roof shingle. This would cause the water to drip a few inches under the roof’s edge.
The best solutions would be to install a drip edge. Drip edges are installed under the shingles and allow water to flow freely from the roof’s edge into the gutter. Without the drip edge, water may run down the siding and fascia board, causing damage to your house.
5. Using Too Many Seams
Gutters are either soldered or welded together. This is how they are attached. When you plan your gutters, design your system so that you use as few welds as possible. Gutters are exposed to extreme temperatures, water, and force. This means that the materials and seams are put under a great deal of stress.
This strain can cause a break in the solder or weld. You should check all of the seams periodically for damage and give it a quick touch up. The gutter’s seams are a weak point so make sure you treat them accordingly.
Continuous rain or seamless gutters are an option some contractors offer. This type of gutter is recommended if you want to avoid potential future problems with welds and solders.
Installing gutters can be a tricky job. If you want to make sure the job is done right, you should contact a professional roofer.