Most rain gutters have an expected lifespan of 20 years. However, after weathering storms and continually being clogged by leaves and other debris, your gutters can become rusted and leaky. This can lead to other home repair problems like peeling paint, rotten wood, and mildew.
To prevent all this, it’s best to repair or replace your gutters as soon as you spot a leak. If it’s your first time doing so, or even if you’ve had some experience, you’ll want to avoid making mistakes that will turn one home improvement project into several others.
If you’re deciding whether or not to install rain gutters yourself, let this article help you decide if you have the moxie to get it done on your own.
Types of Mistakes When Installing Rain Gutters
The golden rule for positioning your rain gutters is that they should always be placed about three inches below your roofline. The reason being: if they are placed too high, they can allow runoff water to spill out over their backside. This will deteriorate the wooden board that runs under your roof edge, often called a fascia board.
Calculating Pitch Incorrectly
Rain gutters always need to be pitched, or slanted, slightly towards the downspout. There is a science to the degree to which they need to be pitched, however, and getting it wrong can lead to your rain gutters overflowing. They should slope about two inches for every forty feet. You can opt for slightly more than this, but it won’t look as aesthetically pleasing. They won’t appear as parallel to your fascia boards, and visitors may notice this.
Selecting the Wrong Type or Size
When choosing the size for your rain gutters, you should consider factors like average rainfall for your location, the size of your house, and the pitch you plan to use. You’ll also have options when it comes to the material of your rain gutters: aluminum, zinc, vinyl, or steel. If you want copper rain gutters, you’ll have to hire a professional, as copper seams need to be welded.
Using Too Many Seams
Seams are the fine china of rain gutters. Not in that they’re fancy but in that they’re easily broken. If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, rain gutters are only as strong as their seams. For this reason, you’ll want to keep the number of seams you use to a minimum.
Just as you had options when it came to the material of your rain gutters, you have the option between seamless or not. When shopping for your gutter system, try to find ones that are as close to seamless as possible.
Spacing Hangers Improperly
Hangers are what mount the rain gutter to your home. The most common mistake with these is spacing them too far apart. Gutter hangers should be spaced every three feet for proper support, and even closer in northern climates to accommodate for heavier snow and ice. Failing to do so will lead to a slight sag in your rain gutters. This can create pooling water that overflows and/or separates the rain gutters from your home.
Poor Downspout Placement
You’ve probably noticed this mistake at other residences before. Aside from looking good, proper downspout placement ensures that you don’t develop temporary moats during heavy rainfall or encounter erosion around the downspout area.
It’s also important to have the right number of downspouts. Failure to have enough can lead to standing water in your rain gutters. This contributes to rust, erosion, mosquitoes, and damage to the gutter support system caused by consistent excess weight.
Ignoring Safety Precautions
The last and most important guideline to abide by is to take care of yourself. Tens of thousands of patients are admitted to the emergency room each year in the United States alone due to injuries brought about by falling off a ladder. Home improvement projects involving the roof are one of the most common causes of falling off a ladder.
Before you begin climbing up, make sure the ladder is standing on level ground and that you have someone there at the base securing it. Your ladder height should extend at least three feet above the part of the roof you’re working with. Once you do climb the ladder, and never to the top two rungs, refrain from leaning too far out. Getting the job done faster isn’t worth risking injury.
Installing new rain gutters is a time-consuming process. It’s a significant undertaking and shouldn’t be started without hours of research. Instead of risking your safety, contact AHC Gutters to help you. We offer a wide variety of gutter services to help with installation and repair. Contact us today and see why we’re San Antonio’s best choice for gutter repair!