If you notice that your gutter’s slope looks off and your drainage isn’t optimal, don’t wait to fix the problem. Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibilities – one of them being keeping your gutters in good shape. This is especially important in areas where there is heavy rainfall, as proper drainage is essential to prevent water damage. When they are not pitched correctly, water can overflow, leading to damage to the building’s exterior and landscaping. A few simple adjustments can make all the difference. In this blog post, we’ll show you the signs of an improper gutter slope and how to easily fix your gutter pitch for improved drainage.
What is the correct pitch for gutters?
First, let’s define what a properly pitched gutter is. A properly pitched gutter has a slope of approximately 1/4 inch per every 10 feet, which allows water to flow towards the downspout and away from the building. The slope must be consistent throughout the gutter’s length, with no low spots or valleys where standing water can accumulate.
Why are gutters supposed to be pitched?
It is important to fix improperly pitched gutters because neglecting to do so can result in serious and costly problems. Improperly pitched gutters can cause water to overflow and collect in low spots, which can lead to numerous problems. Here are some of the reasons why it is important to fix improperly pitched gutters before damage occurs:
- Prevent water damage to the building’s exterior: Improperly pitched gutters can cause water to overflow and penetrate the building’s exterior, causing damage to the fascia boards, soffits, siding, and other components. Over time, this can lead to rotting, warping, and other forms of deterioration, which can result in costly repairs.
- Prevent water damage to the interior: In addition to causing damage to the exterior of the building, improperly pitched gutters can also cause water to seep into the interior. This can result in mold growth, water damage to the walls and ceiling, and other water-related problems.
- Prevent ice dams: During the winter months, improperly pitched gutters can cause water to accumulate, freeze, and create ice dams. As snow and ice accumulate on the roof, water is forced to overflow the gutter, which can cause damage to the building’s exterior and interior.
- Prevent landscaping damage: Improperly pitched gutters can also cause water to overflow and damage landscaping, including patios, walkways, retaining walls, and other outdoor features.
- Reduce the risk of health hazards: Standing water in gutters can attract insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks, which can carry diseases. Additionally, water that overflows from the gutters can create a breeding ground for mold, which can cause respiratory problems and other health issues.
Signs that your gutter is not properly pitched
There are several telltale signs that your gutters are not properly pitched:
- Gutter overflow: If the gutters are not pitched correctly, that means that the surface is too flat and the water will not drain fast enough. If the water is not drained fast enough, this will eventually lead to gutter overflow and potentially cause damage to the building’s exterior or landscaping.
- Standing water: If the gutter has a low spot, water may collect in that area, which can also lead to water damage, rust, or insect infestations.
- Leaks: Improperly pitched gutters can cause water to leak at the seams or joints of sectional gutters, which can cause water damage to the building’s structure or interior. This may not be as common if you have seamless gutters and are using durable products such as copper gutters or aluminum gutters.
- Clogged gutters: If the gutter is not pitched correctly, excess debris such as leaves, sticks, and other organic material can accumulate, leading to clogging, which can cause water to overflow or backup, leading to water damage.
- Sagging gutters: Improperly pitched gutters can cause water to drain unevenly, which can put extra stress on the gutter system and result in sagging gutters. The sagging gutters can then pull away from the building and potentially cause damage to the roof or the building’s structure.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect and repair your gutter system to ensure that it is functioning properly to protect your building from water damage.
How do you fix improperly pitched gutters?
Prepare your tools
Before you begin, you will need several tools to assess the current condition of your gutters and re-pitch them if necessary. You will need a ladder, measuring tape, level, drill, screws, hangers, and sealant.
Examine your gutters to see if they are sloped correctly
Here are some steps to help you assess improperly pitched gutters:
Inspect the gutter system:
Begin by inspecting the gutter system from the ground, looking for signs of overflow, such as water running over the sides of the gutter or pooling in low spots. This can indicate that the gutters are not pitched correctly and are not properly directing water away from the building. Be sure to mark these areas for re-pitching.
Check the slope:
Climb up the ladder to the starting point of the gutter and use the level to check the slope and determine if the gutters are pitched correctly. First, measure the distance from the bottom of the gutter to the level at the starting point. Then, move the ladder to the ending point of the gutter section and repeat the process. The gutter is properly sloped if the difference in measurement between the starting and ending points is approximately 1/4 inch per every 10 feet of gutter.
Check for blockages:
Another factor that can cause gutters to overflow is blockages, such as leaves, twigs, and other debris. Check for blockages in the gutters and downspouts, and clear them out as needed.
Look for signs of corrosion:
Corroded gutters can also cause water to overflow, as the corrosion can cause the gutters to lose their shape and slope. Check for signs of corrosion, such as rust spots or holes, and repair or replace the gutters as needed.
Check the downspouts:
Finally, check the downspouts to make sure they are clear and functioning properly. Downspouts that are clogged or obstructed can cause water to overflow, even if the gutters are pitched correctly.
What direction should I pitch the gutter if there are 2 downspouts?
If there are two downspouts on a gutter system, it’s recommended to pitch the gutter in such a way that the water is evenly distributed between the two. Again, the gutter should have a slope of approximately 1/4 inch per every 10 feet, with the low end of the gutter towards the downspouts. This will allow the water to flow smoothly towards the downspouts and ensure proper drainage.
Steps to re-pitch the gutters
Adjust the hangers
The hangers are the attachments that secure the gutter to the building’s fascia board. If the gutter is not pitched correctly, adjust the hangers to achieve the proper slope. This can be done by loosening the screws that secure the hanger to the fascia board and repositioning the hanger so that the gutter is pitched correctly. Tighten the screws to secure the hanger in place. Repeat this process along the entire length of the gutter, adjusting the hangers as needed to achieve the proper slope.
Securing the hangers in place with screws is important for several reasons. First, it ensures that the hangers do not move or slip, which can cause the gutter to lose its slope and become misaligned. Second, it ensures that the hangers are securely attached to the fascia board, which can prevent the gutters from sagging or pulling away from the building.
Seal the joints and seams to prevent leaks:
To prevent leaks in the gutter system, it is important to seal the joints and seams. This can be done using silicone caulk or gutter sealant. To seal the joints and seams, follow these steps:
- Clean the area: Clean the area around the joint or seam with a cloth or rag to remove any debris or dirt.
- Apply the sealant: Using a caulk gun, apply the silicone caulk or gutter sealant to the joint or seam, making sure to fill any gaps or cracks completely.
- Smooth the sealant: Use a finger or a tool to smooth the sealant, making sure that it is evenly distributed and that there are no air pockets.
- Repeat the process: Repeat this process for all of the joints and seams in the gutter system.
Check the slope again:
After making the adjustments, double-check the slope of the gutter to make sure it’s correct. Repeat the process as necessary until the gutter has the proper slope.
Clean the gutters:
Once the re-pitching is complete, clean the gutters to remove any debris or clogs.
Test your gutters by running water through them
One of the best and most effective ways to test the effectiveness of your re-pitched gutter system is to check them by running water through them. This helps identify any clogs that could hinder the performance of the gutter and prevent proper water drainage. Have a one gallon bucket of water ready to run water towards different parts of your home’s gutters. Even if you don’t detect any clogs, running water can help reveal any weaknesses in the gutters such as loose seals or cracks that would eventually lead to more serious problems down the road.
Note: Re-pitching a gutter is a relatively simple process, but it does require working at height and handling tools, so it’s important to follow proper safety procedures and use caution. If you’re not comfortable performing this task, consider hiring a professional to ensure that the gutter is installed correctly and functioning properly.
A properly functioning gutter system is essential for the health and longevity of your building. It helps protect the building from water damage by directing water away from the structure, which can reduce the risk of mold, rot, and other issues. Regularly maintaining your gutters can save you a lot of money and headaches in the long run. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your gutters will last for years to come. If you need help installing or repairing your gutters, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We offer free quotes so that you can make the best decision for your home or business.