Q: How much should my gutters slope?

A: There is a myth that you need to have a lot of slope on a gutter to get it to drain. This is not the case as water will self-level and find a drain. The advantage of hanging gutters with a slope is to help move the debris to the downspout and keep your gutters cleaner. The ideal gutter angle should be 1” to 2” of slope for a 40 foot long gutter. Too much slope very unsightly and actually reduces the holding capacity of the gutter. A gutter with a 3½” to 4” slope has lost half of its holding capacity. In a heavy downpour the water will quickly run toward the low end and overflow due to an inability to drain fast enough.

Q: Is a drip edge necessary?

A: Yes. Gutters should be installed under the drip edge or aluminum flashing should be added to keep the water from wicking back behind the gutter. This wicking action is most common on lower pitched roofs which can lead to moisture damage to your home.

Q: Can I have gutters installed in the winter?

A: Not a good idea. When gutters are installed at temperatures below freezing, it’s likely that come summer you will find that you have a very wavy gutter. For a 50 foot long gutter installed at 0 degree F, you should expect 3/4” of expansion when the summer temperatures get into the 90’s. (NOTE: This calculation is based on .000032″ of expansion for one inch of material for every one degree F increase. The expansion figure used for vinyl is an approximate figure. Test results range from .000031″ to .000037″.)

Q: What causes ice-damming, and how can I prevent it?

A: Every winter we get calls about ice dams. Ice dams occur when the snow melts during the day and then freezes when the temperatures cool down at night. The melting snow refreezes when it contacts the cold surface over the soffit and starts to form an ice ridge. After several occurrences the ice buildup can become significant.

Ice dams are typically due to inadequate insulation and/or ventilation. Properly installed insulation will reduce the heat loss from your attic, and keeping attic space well ventilated will maintain a cool dry underside of your roof both winter and summer. A properly vented attic will reduce the melting of the snow from heat loss and also help with keeping the roof cooler in the summer thereby helping with the life of your shingles.

Q: How should I take care of my new gutters?

A: The most import thing is to remember to keep your gutters clean so they flow freely, installation of a gutter cover will help keep the debris out of your gutters.  Otherwise, gutters are practically maintenance free.