Water 101: Understanding Water, Understanding Your Gutters


How does water movement impact your gutters? As you debate how to install gutters on your home, you need to consider more than the home and the gutters themselves. The key to successful gutter installation is also an understanding of how water acts and moves. Improve water flow and protecting your home are the ultimate goals of gutter installation.

Water Moves Downhill

You know that water moves downhill, but it’s convenient to try and forget this when you’re installing or repairing gutters. However, no amount of wishful thinking will allow water to move uphill. If your gutters are on the incorrect slope, the water won’t move downhill quickly enough, and debris in the gutters could back up along with the water. According to House Logic, “you want at least a quarter inch of slope for every 10 feet.”

Water Can Make Its Way Into Tiny Spaces

While the leaves that accumulate in your gutters will stay in your gutters until you clean them or until they rot enough to move down the gutters again, water will always find a way into tiny cracks. When your gutters are warped, sagging, or developing small holes due to standing water, this means that water will move into those holes and increase their size over time. It’s all too easy for a minor gutter problem to become a rusty gutter mess.

Cleaning out the gutters.
Water soaks into gutter debris, and you’ll need to remove that sodden debris before it backs up the gutter.

Water Soaks In

Water doesn’t just move through all materials and move away from the area. It soaks in. This happens to water when it mixes with debris in your rain gutters, and it can make it very difficult to remove the heavy, sodden material that’s now sticking to the bottom of the gutter. It also happens when water falls from your gutters onto the ground. It moves into the soil, where it causes the soil to become more liquid and prone to motion. According to Mike Holmes in The National Post, “soil is fluid; it’s in motion, and it’s shifting and exerting pressure at all times on your foundation.” That jiggly soil and pressure from groundwater is a problem for your home’s foundation, which shifts and can crack if the soil around it shifts as well.

Water Expands As It Freezes

The fact that water expands as it freezes is very relevant to the wellbeing of your home, particularly your roof shingles. During the winter months, snow and ice accumulate on your roof. Your roof is warm, and if the temperature is right, your roof unfreezes some of that snow and ice. It gradually trickles down under the snowy layer and into your gutters. However, as the icy water moves into your gutters, it moves away from the warmth of the roof, and it can freeze again. The water that freezes in or next to your gutters can creep under your shingles, freezing and thawing and freezing again. The same can happen with water that leaks into small cracks in your roof where the shingles are loose. This freeze-thaw action damages your roofing, and over time it can lead to roof damage and rot.

While you can’t stop it from snowing, you can add gutter heat to your home. A gutter heating system encourages water to stay in liquid form and move down into your gutters instead of freezing and thawing at the roof’s edge.

At Lednor Home Solutions, we’re dedicated to helping your home. Talk with us today about how to install gutters, gutter covers, and gutter heat on your home to make sure that it’s protected all year round. Schedule a free estimate today.

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Written by Del Thebaud

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