What is Gutter Pitch?
Gutters are fastened at a slight angle so that water flows out rather than remaining stagnant. Gutters don’t look slanted because installation pros know what they’re doing, but we assure you they are.
Gutters should have an angled 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 place the downspout so that heavier amounts of precipitation can flow smoothly from your roof. The side of your home’s roof where the downspouts are is the side that should be lower.
Long areas of gutter, like across the front of a house, may require a downspout on both sides. When this is the situation, the gutters will be pitched from the middle, meaning 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 gutters are installed incorrectly or if they are loose or bent, it can lead to problems that can be costly and difficult to repair.
When there is a gutter pitch problem, it can make water back up in your gutter channels. Water is a common issue around the home, as it can result in all of the issues below:
- Water inside of the gutters can cause roof damage due to the standing water. When it backs up in the gutters, water can get underneath the shingles and cause harm to the fascia, sub-roofing and even leak inside your home.
- Pooling water is one way mold and mildew can grow on sections of your roof, gutters or siding. Removing mold is a very hard project, especially when it grows on your roof. Mold is known for destroying organic materials (many of which exist in your house) and making people feel ill.
- The weight of blocked water inside your gutters can cause them to tear away from your roof. The gutters can pull fasteners from the siding, destroying your vinyl or other exterior materials. It can also damage surrounding landscaping and windows.
Do You Have a Gutter Pitch Problem?
To be confident your gutters are correctly pitched, here are a few things you can check:
Look for Hanging Spots
Like we mentioned before, you shouldn’t be able to notice the slope of your 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 be able to see a dip in the gutters from the ground, so this is a safe job that you can do on your own, with both feet on the ground.
Check for Standing Water
Water naturally follows the path of least resistance, so any amount of water in your gutters is an issue. Try to check the gutters right after rainfall so you can see the flow of the water.
This may require you to climb a ladder, so exercise caution. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can have a local handyman or a gutter specialist from Chicago Gutters Plus check it out for you.
Inspect for Shingle Particles
Any small granules remaining in the gutters from your roof shingles are a sign that the gutters might not have enough pitch, so the water can’t carry these heavier materials out. Seeing grit or sludge in your gutters is more 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 and take a look, or you may see some of these particles making their way out of your gutters through the downspouts. If you notice a small amount 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 due to incorrect gutter pitch. If water is flowing the wrong way, called “back pitch,” you will see water overflowing at the end cap. This can cause damage to your roof, gutters and surrounding 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 you are still seeing overflow, it’s one more sign that your gutter pitch may be wrong.
Professional Gutter Damage Repair
If your gutter pitch is distorted, it can create many problems for your house. All of the problems above can let you decide if your gutter pitch is wrong.
Regardless of whether your gutters were damaged during a storm or if they were installed poorly in the first place, they need to be re-pitched in order to avoid major home repairs, including damage to siding, leaks and landscape damage.
Gutter Repair in Chicago
The first option will be repairing the existing gutters so the correct pitch is restored. If the rain gutters are in excellent condition and undamaged, this will be the route Chicago Gutters Plus recommends.
To correct gutter pitch, Chicago Gutters Plus will loosen the gutter, but they won’t need to take it all the way down. This saves labor costs and time. Then the technician will measure and determine the pitch needed and reinstall the gutters, adjusting fasteners if necessary, to fit the specific measurements.
Gutter Installation in Chicago
If your gutters are permanently damaged, or if they are starting to rust or wear down with age, Chicago Gutters Plusmay recommend that you replace them rather than re-pitching them. This can be more economical over time and time-saving.
If your gutters have to be replaced, they will come compete with new fasteners, hardware and downspouts. The installer will set the gutters at the appropriate pitch. You can use the tips above to ensure the new installation is done the right way.