What is Gutter Pitch?
All gutters are set at a slight angle so water drains out rather than remaining stagnant. Gutters don’t appear slanted because installation pros know exactly what they’re doing, but we assure you they are.
Gutters have a specific slope based on this formula:
¼ of an inch of drop per 10 feet of gutter
This calculation tells your gutter installation technician right where to attach the downspout so that even heavy amounts of precipitation can flow unobstructed from your roof. The side of your home’s roof where the downspouts are is the side that should be the lower end.
Longer areas of gutter, like across the front of a home, may require a downspout on both sides. When this is happening, the 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 should be lower than this middle point.
Gutter Pitch Problems
If your gutters are installed the wrong way or if they are loose or bent at all, it can lead to problems that can be costly and difficult to repair.
When there is something wrong with your gutter pitch, it can make water back up in your gutters. Water is a typical problem around the house, as it can cause all of the following issues:
- Rain in the gutters can cause roof damage due to the standing water. When water doesn’t flow from the gutters, water can get underneath the shingles and cause damage to the fascia, sub-roofing and even get inside your home.
- Standing water is one way mold and mildew can grow on 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 making people sick.
- The weight of pooling water inside your rain gutters can lead them to pull away from your roof. The gutters can tear out fasteners from the siding, destroying your vinyl or other exterior material. It can also ruin landscaping and windows.
Do You Have a Gutter Pitch Problem?
To be confident your gutters are properly pitched, here are a few things you can do:
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 identify where the low point is, this is an indication that your gutter is damaged or 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 homeowners can do on their own, with both feet on the ground.
Check for Standing Water
Water naturally follows the path of least resistance, so any amount of water inside of your gutters is a problem. Try to inspect the gutters right after rainfall so you can see the draining of the water.
This might force 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 St. Paul Gutter Solutions do it for you.
Inspect for Shingle Particles
Any little granules remaining in the gutters from your shingles means the gutters might not have enough pitch, so the water can’t carry these heavier materials out. Grit or sludge in your gutters is common after getting a new roof installed because it will tend to lose excess particles in the first couple of years.
You can climb up and take a look, or you might notice some of these particles flowing out of your gutters from the downspouts. If you see a little in these areas, chances are there is more that can’t make its way out.
Why is There Overflow?
Gutter overflow is typically caused by a blockage, but it can also be the result of incorrect gutter pitch. If water is flowing in the wrong direction, called “back pitch,” you will see water overflowing from the end cap. This can cause problems for your roof, gutters and surrounding landscaping.
To prevent the possibility of a blockage, schedule gutter cleaning at least once a year or install gutter guards. If you know the gutters are clean but there is still overflow, it’s another sign that your gutter pitch may be wrong.
Professional Gutter Damage Repair
If your gutter pitch is distorted, it can create several problems for your house. All of the problems above can let you decide if your gutter pitch is off.
Regardless of whether your gutters were damaged or they were installed poorly to begin with, they need to be re-pitched in order to avoid major home repairs, including siding damage, leaks and landscape damage.
Gutter Repair in St. Paul
The first option will be repairing the existing gutters so the pitch is restored. If the rain gutters are in prime condition and undamaged, this will be the route St. Paul Gutter Solutions encourages.
To re-establish gutter pitch, St. Paul Gutter Solutions will loosen the gutter, but they won’t need to take it completely down. This lowers labor costs and time. Then the technician will measure and determine the correct pitch and reinstall the gutters, adjusting fasteners if necessary, to fit the correct measurements.
Gutter Installation in St. Paul
If your gutters are permanently damaged, or if they are rusting or wearing down with age, St. Paul Gutter Solutions may recommend that you replace them instead of re-pitching them. This will be more economical in the long run and time-saving.
If your gutters have to be replaced with new ones, they will come compete with new fasteners, hardware and downspouts. The installer should set the gutters at the appropriate pitch. You can use our tips in this blog post to ensure the new installation is done correctly.