What is Gutter Pitch?
Rain gutters are installed at a slight angle so that water flows out rather than remaining stagnant. Gutters don’t appear slanted because installation pros 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 gutter
This formula tells your gutter installer where to attach the downspout so that heavier amounts of rain can flow unobstructed from your roof. The side of your home’s roof where the downspouts are located is the side that should be lower.
Longer areas of gutter, like across the front of a home, may require a downspout on both sides. When this is the case, the rain gutters will need to be pitched from the middle, which means that the middle of the roofline will be the highest point, and both downspouts need to be lower than this middle point.
Gutter Pitch Problems
If your gutters are installed the wrong way or if they have become loose or bent at all, it can cause problems that can be costly and difficult to repair.
When your gutter pitch is wrong, it can cause water to back up in your gutters. Water is a typical issue around the home, as it can result in all of the issues below:
- Water inside of the gutters can cause roof damage because of the standing water. When rain doesn’t flow from the gutters, water can seep under the shingles and cause damage to the fascia, sub-roofing and even leak inside your home.
- Pooling rain water is one way mold and mildew can grow on sections of your roof, gutters or siding. Removing mold is a difficult task, especially when it appears on your roof. Mold is known for destroying organic materials (many of which are common in your house) and even making people sick.
- The weight of standing water inside your rain gutters can cause them to pull away from your roof. The gutters can tear out fasteners from the siding, damaging your vinyl or other exterior material. It can also damage 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
Like we said above, you shouldn’t be able to see the slope of your rain gutters. If you can visibly tell where the low spot is, it 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 both feet on the ground.
Check for Standing Water
Rain water follows the path of least resistance, so any amount of water in your gutters is an issue. If possible, check the gutters right after rainfall so you can see the draining of the water.
This might require you to climb a ladder, so exercise caution. If you aren’t comfortable doing this, you can have a local handyman or a gutter specialist from Federal Way Gutters do it for you.
Inspect for Shingle Particles
Any tiny granules remaining in the gutters from your roof shingles are a sign that the gutters may not have enough slope, so the water can’t carry these materials out. Grit or sludge inside of your gutters is common after having a new roof installed because it will tend to shed a lot of excess particles in the first couple of years.
You can climb up a ladder and look, or you might notice some of these particles flowing out of your gutters by way of the downspouts. If you see a little in these areas, there is a good chance there is more that can’t make its way out.
Why is There Overflow?
Gutter overflow is usually caused by a blockage, but it can also be the result of incorrect gutter pitch. If water is flowing the wrong way, know as “back pitch,” you will see water overflowing from the end cap. This can cause damage to your roof, gutters and nearby landscaping.
To remove the possibility of a blockage, schedule gutter cleaning at least once a year or install gutter guards. If the gutters are clean but there is still overflow, it’s another indicator that there is a gutter pitch problem.
Professional Gutter Damage Repair
When your gutter pitch is incorrect, it can lead to many problems for your home. All of the issues above can let you know that your gutter pitch is not right.
No matter if your gutters were damaged during a storm or if they were installed incorrectly in the first place, they need to be re-pitched in order to prevent expensive home repairs, including siding damage, leaks and landscape damage.
Gutter Repair in Federal Way
The first option will be repairing the existing gutters so the correct pitch is restored. If the rain gutters are in good condition and undamaged, this will be the route Federal Way Gutters encourages.
To restore gutter pitch, Federal Way Gutters will loosen the gutter, but they won’t have to take it all the way down. This saves labor costs and time. Then the technician will measure and calculate the pitch needed and reinstall the gutters, relocating fasteners if necessary, to fit the correct measurements.
Gutter Installation in Federal Way
If your gutters are permanently damaged, or if they are rusting or wearing down with age, Federal Way Gutters may recommend that you replace them instead of re-pitching them. This will be more economical over time and time-saving.
If your gutters need to be replaced with new ones, they will come compete with new fasteners, hardware and downspouts. The installer should set the gutters at the correct pitch. You can use the tips in this blog post to make sure the new installation is done the right way.