Gutters are essential for protecting your home and backyard from heavy rain. When the gutters don’t work, people usually look for breaks, clogs, or leaks, ignoring a very important aspect; the gutter slope.
Gutters might look straight from a distance, but they’re actually sloped. When installing gutters, adjusting the slope can be one of the biggest challenges.
Do gutters need to slope, though? What role does the slope play?
In this post, we’re going to discuss why gutters need to slope and how to ensure your gutter is properly installed.
Gutters help protect your property from the damage rainwater can cause. They basically prevent rainwater from pooling on the surface or splashing down both sides.
They harness the force of gravity to push the excess rainwater down into the downspouts. So, if they’re not sloped, water will pool in the gutters and won’t fall inside the downspout. So, yes, it’s necessary for gutters to slope.
A sharply sloped gutter is not ideal, though, as it will cause water to splash outside during heavy rain.
A suitable gutter slope should be a quarter inch for every 10 feet of gutter. For oversized gutters (40 feet or above), it’s crucial to have a downspout at both ends.
How to Fix the Gutter Slope
If you suspect your gutter slope isn’t suitable, you can go ahead and check it yourself.
After a rainy day, get on the ladder and check the gutter; if there’s stagnant or overflowing water, then your gutter might not be appropriately pitched.
Here’s how you can fix your gutter slope on your own:
- Refer to your downspout’s location to determine where the gutter’s high point and low point should be.
- Start removing the gutter’s brackets (leave both end brackets on with a loose bracket in the middle).
- Remove the end bracket (on any side) and place the gutter correctly.
- Secure the gutter bracket using a drill.
- Repeat the same step for the opposite end. You can remove the middle bracket or keep it loose during this step.
- Loosen the middle bracket completely, and the gutter will adjust itself so that it’s a straight line from end to end.
- Reposition the gutter hanger so that the center is in the right place.
- Resecure the rest of the gutter with hidden hangers every 2-4 feet.
Check out this video tutorial if you’re having problems adjusting your gutter slope.
Gutter elbows are very important for the downspout to work. They redirect water through the downspouts and prevent debris from clogging the pipes. These elbows come in different angles, ranging from 30 to 90 degrees.
Although the most used elbow is the 75-degree, the 45-degree elbows are significantly more efficient and smooth as they increase water velocity and allow dirt and debris to flow easily.
How to Protect Your Gutter
Rain gutters are crucial for the safety of your home and your family. A leaking or broken gutter may cause severe damage to your property, such as:
- Wood erosion
- Basement flooding
- Collapsed deck
- Damage to landscape and garden
- Soil erosion
To protect yourself from these damages, you need to take care of your gutter and inspect it regularly.
Here are some tips for maintaining your gutter:
If downspouts get clogged with leaves and other debris, water will overflow and spill over the sides.
With that in mind, always check your downspouts for any clogs, and use your garden’s hose to clean them and test the water flow.
To ensure that no leaves or other debris obstruct the water flow, we advise cleaning your gutter every few months.
Use a gutter trowel to remove dirt or leaves from the gutter, then use your hose to flush and test the water flow.
Make sure to do this in autumn, as the leaves falling from trees have the potential to jam up your gutter and downspouts.
Gutter guards are devices designed to fit inside your gutter to prevent any debris from falling into it.
If you installed a gutter guard, then all you need to do is brush away leaves and debris from them.
Also known as gutter extensions, these devices flush water away from your home so that water doesn’t pool around your foundation.
Water pools can cause wood erosion, flood the basement, attract insects and create mold.
Gutters need to slope to establish a well-functioning gutter system. Choosing the proper slope and number of downspouts will help flush water in the right direction and prevent water from pooling around your house.
Adjusting the gutter slope on your own can be a bit time-consuming, but it might save you a few bucks. If the task is too challenging, though, we recommend opting for professional help.