Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Sagging Gutters
I've been talking about woodworking for the last few weeks. So I thought I'd turn my attention to home improvement and share some information I got from the guys at Workbench magazine about a problem on my home -- improperly installed gutters.

In my case, the gutter along the front of the house spills rain water in the middle. The problem, they tell me, is that the slope is incorrect. Gutters need to slope at a rate of 1" for every 16 feet of length to carry water toward the downspout.

Downspouts should be no more than 32 feet apart. If you have a run longer than 32 feet, it's best to run the gutter from a high point in the middle and put a downspout at each end.

You also need to consider how much rain your gutters can handle. If you have a large roof area to drain, a narrow gutter may not be able to handle the volume of water coming off the roof. The typical 5"-wide gutters drain up to 1500 square feet of roof. Wider gutters are available for draining larger areas.

Another consideration is the material the gutters are made of. The most common materials are galvanized metal, aluminum, and vinyl. Wood and copper gutters are also available (but if you've got that kind of money you're not likely to be installing them yourself).

At home centers, you'll most often find galvanized metal and vinyl gutters sold in 10 foot lengths. You'll also need to pick up joint connectors, drop outlets, end caps, and hangers. There are several kinds of hangers available that mount to the roof or the fascia. I prefer the U-shaped, clip-type hangers that mount to the fascia. They're sturdier than spikes, and their installation doesn't require making holes in the roof. Place hangers every 30" to 36".

If you use metal gutters, caulk the joints between sections and at the end caps to prevent leaks. Vinyl gutters usually have gaskets built in or available separately.

Finally, if you have trees nearby, it's a good idea to install gutter covers to keep out leaves and other debris.

Go to Tip #23
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