We all recognize that our gutters are important. A well-functioning gutter system accomplishes essential work. It keeps water away from our home, avoiding issues such as flooded basements and damaged foundations. It keeps our landscaping from becoming eroded and addresses a bevy of other problems caused by misdirected water flow.
If you go to the exterior of your home and take a look at your gutters, everything looks pretty simple. Water enters in one location and comes out in another, right? The truth is, however, that there’s an art to establishing the right “slope” for your gutters so that water flows downhill to the downspouts. Sometimes, after several years and/or some wear and tear caused by weather or other issues, gutters need to be re-sloped so that they continue to function properly.
What is slope?
The slope or the “pitch” of your gutters is exactly what it sounds like. Slope is the amount that your gutters slant downward along the path of the water flow they carry. In other words, gutters must be sloped just right in order for the water they collect to flow properly.
Think about a playground slide. If it’s not sloped enough, you won’t slide down but get stuck at the top. If it’s slanted too much, it’s likely you’ll fall off. Well, it’s the same for gutters. If gutters are not sloped enough, the water will simply pool in them and not flow down. All the stagnant water will eventually spill over the sides. If the gutters are sloped too much, their capacity could be greatly reduced, depending on the slant. As such, splash-over could occur, especially when it’s raining really hard or if there’s several days in a row of rain.
What’s the ideal slope?
Technically, there’s a right and a wrong way to set the slope of a gutter. The rule of thumb is generally that the slope equals one-quarter inch for every 10 feet of gutter. That would mean, for example, that if you have a 20-foot length of gutter, your slope would be a half-inch. That also means that you would set the downspout end of the gutter a half-inch lower than the other end.
In addition, all guttering must slope towards its nearest downspout. If your roofline is 40 feet long and there’s a downspout at both ends, your contractor should build in a half-inch slope from the middle of the roofline to both ends.
Why do I need to re-slope my gutters?
Even if your gutter pitch is correct from the start, it can eventually be “off” a bit and re-sloping will be necessary.
What are the signs that you may need to call in a gutter installation professional to re-align your gutters? Well, if often helps to simply begin with a visual inspection. You can do this on your own or call Advantage Gutters to do this for you.
As you inspect your gutters, you’ll want to make sure that the downspouts aree at the low point of all your gutters and your gutters should be tilted towards the downspout. If this is not the case, re-sloping is definitely necessary. This is called “back-pitching” and it means that water problems are just around the corner! However, sometimes the angle is off so slightly that it’s hard to see with the naked eye, which is why it’s a good idea to have your gutters checked by a pro if you surmise there’s a problem.
Another sure sign that it’s time to re-slope your gutters is the presence of standing water in them. Look at your gutters after a rainstorm and if there’s water present, there could be a sloping issue. Remember, water doesn’t flow uphill so it has nowhere to go when the slope isn’t correct.
You might also spy grit from roof shingles in your gutters, especially if your roof is new within the last few years. Shingle grit and other small particles should flow right through if the gutters are correctly slanted.
Finally, water overflow could be a sign that re-sloping your gutters should be on your docket. (This could also be a sign that gutters are clogged. Either way, service is necessary.) If the water is going over on the end opposite the downspout, chances are it’s a pitch problem.
If you’re noticed issues with your gutters and have had problems with improper water flow or other things that indicate your slope might be off, call the pros at Advantage Gutters to schedule an inspection. We’ll provide prompt and courteous service at an affordable price and will fix your sloping issues before a catastrophe occurs. Call us at 604-514-9886.