Having a properly-functioning gutter system is essential in protecting your home from flooded basements, eroded landscaping, damaged foundations, and other problems caused by misdirected runoff water. Upon first glance, hanging a gutter system appears to be pretty easy; however, the actual installation process can be very difficult in order for the gutters to work as intended.
One of the biggest challenges involved in gutter installation is establishing the proper slope of the guttering. From a distance, gutters appear to parallel the roofline; but in reality, they must be sloped ever so slightly so the runoff water can flow “downhill” to the downspouts.
What is Gutter Slope?
An incorrect slope can cause substantial gutter system malfunction.
Technically speaking, the slope (also called the pitch) of the gutters is the amount by which the gutters slant downward along the path of the water flow. If gutters are not sloped enough, the water will simply pool in the gutters and eventually spill over their sides. If the gutters are sloped too sharply, their capacity is reduced and splashover could occur in heavy rains; plus they tend to look strange to the naked eye.
Gutter Slope Rules
So what’s the ideal amount of slope for your gutters? Most contractors tend to set the slop at one quarter inch per ten feet of guttering. So if you have a 25-foot section of guttering, you should set the downspout end of the gutter 5/8 of an inch lower (1/4 x 2.5 = 5/8) than the other end.
This brings up another important rule to keep in mind: all guttering must slope toward the nearest downspout. So if your roofline is 50 feet long and you have a downspout at either end, then you should build in a 5/8 inch slope from the middle of the roofline to both ends.
Usually, the downspout is placed near the corner of a home.
In addition, it’s wise to install one downspout for at least every 30 feet of guttering. So in the example of a 50-foot roofline, it wouldn’t be wise to slope the entire run from one end to the other; this will look unsightly and may not work as well. In addition, since runoff water doesn’t generally move around corners very well, it may be necessary to install extra downspouts where the roofline bends.
How To Determine Gutter Slope
The best way to calculate the slope of a gutter run before hanging it is to use a long string and a string level. First, determine the location of each one of your downspouts. Then fasten one end of the string at the highest point of the gutter and the other at the spot where the downspout will be. Use the line level to make sure the string is perfectly parallel to the ground.
Next, measure the length of the string and calculate how much slope you will need. Using the above example of a 25 foot gutter run, the correct slop is 5/8 of an inch. So for that project you should take the end of the string (where the downspout will be) and lower it exactly 5/8 of an inch, then reattach it. After marking both ends of the string with a pencil, remove the string. Then snap a chalk line from the two marks you have made to illustrate the line along which you will install your gutters.
This is what a chalk line tool looks like.
Harry Helmet Can Install Seamless Gutters
Unless you are very handy with tools or have an extensive DIY background, you may be best served to call in a contractor to hang your new gutters. Harry Helmet provides high-quality, attractive seamless gutters that are made with 32-gauge aluminum, which exceeds the industry standard. These seamless gutters will be installed by certified professionals and are backed by a 20-year warranty.
To schedule a free, on-site appointment for seamless gutter installation, contact Harry Helmet at 1-888-5-HELMET or fill out and submit this form today.
Written by Del Thebaud