A well-functioning guttering system is essential for protecting a home against water leaks and foundation problems. However, many homeowners tend to make mistakes that adversely affect the efficiency of their guttering. Here are eight common errors – four of which occur during installation and four which homeowners make while maintaining their guttering.
- Putting guttering up in the wrong spot. This may seem silly, since all you have to do is hang the gutters at the edge of your roof, right? Wrong. Guttering should be place a few inches below the roofline. That way, runoff water flows into your gutters and doesn’t drip over the their back edges and onto the ground next to your home.
- Improperly pitching the guttering. Gutters aren’t supposed to be level with the ground. They should be pitched slightly (about 1-2 inches per 40 linear feet) toward the downspouts so the water will run downhill. Otherwise, the water will just fill up inside the guttering and then spill over the sides.
- Not spacing the gutter hangers correctly. Guttering is attached to your home with hangers that are placed just under your roofline. If these hangers are spaced too far apart, the guttering won’t get the proper support and will eventually sag under the weight of the runoff water. If this problem isn’t addressed, the guttering could be pulled right off of your home.
- Having too many guttering seams. The seams are the weakest points of any guttering system. So you must strive to minimize the number of seams that you will have when attaching the gutter sections together. The more seams you have, the greater the chance of damage from heat, cold, or water.
- Forgetting to clean your gutters often enough. You should clean out your guttering at least twice a year. Otherwise, all of the pine needles, leaves, twigs, and sludge-like debris will build up and cause clogs. When that happens, rainwater starts falling onto the ground near your foundation.
- Forgetting to flush your downspouts. Gutter cleaning is more than just scraping out the stuff sitting inside the gutters. You have to make sure that your downspouts are free of clogs as well; otherwise, all of your hard work won’t amount to anything. Take a hose and spray water into the top opening and make sure that it flows out of the bottom one.
- Forgetting to check for leaks. After you remove all of the debris from your guttering, inspect the gutters themselves for rust spots, holes, or cracks. Focus on the seams where the gutters are soldered together. If a gutter section is leaking, replace it as soon as possible.
- Damaging your guttering during cleaning. The most common way this occurs is by leaning a ladder against the guttering instead of your home itself. The extra weight may cause the gutter sections to bend, buckle, or separate at the seams. It’s also important not to lean your body on the guttering or brace your weight against a gutter section while up on a ladder. We recommend investing in a ladder stabilizer to give you easy access to your gutters while not damaging your system.