Gutters 101: Everything You Need To Know

You know you’ve got to get some roof gutters up, but you’re not sure what you need to do. Don’t worry: we’ve got a complete overview of roof gutter solutions, from figuring out how to install gutters, how material much you need, and how to keep it clean when it’s up.


There are two considerations when designing roof gutter systems on paper: the length of the gutter itself, and how wide it needs to be. The first part is fairly simple: you and a friend use a measuring tape to figure out the length of the roof along each slope.

But how about the width? That’s a little more involved. First, check local zoning laws; it’s very possible some official has already determined the gutter size you need. You’ll need to figure out the square area of your roof, which is just some basic math, and note the average rainfall of the area you live in. The bigger your roof and the more rain you get, the bigger the gutters you’ll need. The most common residential gutter size is five inches. For downspouts, a good rule is one for every 40 feet of gutter.

Then you’ll need to choose material. All materials have their benefits and drawbacks; as a general rule, choose the most durable material you can afford, in the thickest size it comes in.

Installing Gutters

If you’re installing them yourself, first lay out your roof gutters in front of the part of the house where you’ll be installing them. Weld on any end caps and cut any holes for downspouts you may need. Then go up and install your hangers, keeping safety in mind.

Install your hangers on architectural supports, such as rafters, and space them closely together. This keeps the gutters from sagging, which can lead to stagnant water, or being ripped off your house in high winds. Hang the gutters so there’s a slight pitch towards the downspout; one to two inches every forty feet will do fine. Weld together any corners and attach the downspouts with welding or zip screws.


Maintaining your roof gutter is fairly straightforward: every three months or so, go up and take a look. Clean out any debris if you don’t use a gutter protection system; there are dozens of tools on the market to help with that. Keep an eye on your gutters. Look for signs that they’re not draining, such as icicles or water dripping over the sides. Patch any holes as soon as possible.

For a permanent solution to gutter cleaning, call for professional installation of Gutter Helmet® gutter guards along with Helmet Heat® heated gutters. Do all that, and you’ll have a roof gutter that’s long-lasting and keeps you dry, even in the worst weather.


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