“Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts.” This quote was given by my favorite American poet, Nikki Giovanni.
Certain times in our “D-I-Ys” we make mistakes because we want to do virtually everything and anything by ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, there is so much beauty in trying to do things yourself, but we need to understand that not all things require a D-I-Y. Gutter installation is a difficult thing and should be done by people who have technical experience or by professional which include contractors that deal with gutter installation job. A professional will accurately install your gutter so they are always the best option. Someone with technical experience might make little mistakes.
As I stated earlier, there is so much beauty in doing things yourself, so if you still want to install gutters yourself it is perfectly fine but to avoid installing the gutters incorrectly watch out for these common mistakes.
Mistake 1; Buying the wrong gutter system for your home:
This is the first mistake that is common when you want to Do-it-yourself. As persons different, so do buildings. All building is not the same. They have different factors affecting each of them. There are certain factors you must consider before purchasing a gutter so that you can buy the most suitable one for your building. These factors include:
A) Construction materials
B) Type/style/profile of the gutter
C) Seam/seamless gutter:
A) Construction materials: The climatic condition of an area affects the building greatly. That is why you must consider the construction material used in building the gutter, whether it suits the building’s climate. Materials that are used to construct gutters include:
- Aluminum: This is the most common material used in gutter construction due to its lightweight, strong, and affordable nature. It is cheap for the strength it possesses. Aluminum has a significant level of weathering and corrosion resistance but still corrodes with time. It is light, so it won’t put much pressure on the fascia. It can withstand climatic conditions like strong wind, wind rains. Aluminum is light but has stamina.
- Vinyl: Vinyl is the most affordable and most lightweight gutter construction material. Vinyl is plastic, so it doesn’t have much stamina like aluminum. Vinyl cannot rust or corrode. It is for buildings situated in areas with mild climatic conditions. Vinyl will crack or damage in areas with heavy rainfalls or wind. Any little force during installation will crack it.
- Copper: Copper is durable and is very good looking. Copper can never rust because it has a small quantity of iron. It forms patina (greenish substance) on the surface as time passes. Rather than flaking like rust, it will form a thick coating over the copper. Copper is expensive, so you will not be spending pennies but pounds.
- Steel: steel used for gutter construction is divided into stainless steel, galvanized steel (zinc layered), galvalume steel (zinc and aluminum layered). Stainless steel is not durable but galvanized and galvalume steel is significantly durable but once their coating (zinc, aluminum) is gone, it can still rust but it will take quite some time for this coating to leave.
- Zinc: Zinc just like copper is durable. Zinc develops patina as it gets older but can corrode. It is not as expensive or durable like copper
B) Style/Kind/Type of gutter: The four types of gutters are:
- Half round gutter: This type of gutter has a round and shallow bottom. Its round bottom makes water channeling easy. This type of gutter is found in homes built in the 1900s. Half round gutter have limitations such as they get easily clogged and are not suitable for places with extreme high rainfalls like the Pacific Northwest because of its shallowness.
- K-style gutter: This type of gutter toppled the half round gutters and is every homeowner or builder’s choice. They possess a flat side that can be easily screwed into the fascia. Everyone loves this gutter because it is good for rainy areas. It can transport a large amount of water and debris.
- Fascia gutters: Fascia gutters are best if you don’t have a fascia. This gutter acts as a fascia and a gutter altogether. These gutters are seamless and are good for areas like the Pacific Northwest because they can carry the largest amount of water.
- Box gutters: This type of gutter is installed in industrial and commercial buildings. These gutters are huge and large and cannot fit-in in homes.
C) Seam/Seamless gutters: A gutter is either seam or seamless. Seamless gutters are not prone to leaks, but gutters with seams (sections) are very prone to leaks. To install a seam gutter can be done by yourself, but you need to be extremely careful to avoid damaging the seam. Seamless gutters can also be self-installed but it is best for a professional to install it.
Mistake 2: Incorrect pitch/slope
Pitch here implies the angle of a gutter. If the totality of your gutter is not on the right angle, it will result in improper water disposal. Gutters installed by contractors look as if they are on the same level, but they are not. Gutters are installed to slope for an inch for every 40 feet. A gutter that is too downward or too upward will lead to difficulty in channeling water. On the other hand, a gutter on the same level or angle cannot channel water out. Therefore, water will be stuck in the gutter. Make sure your gutters pitch is slightly downward.
Mistake 3; Type of hanger and improper hanging space
Gutters are hung on hangers. These hangers act as clips that hold the gutters in place so the material used in constructing them is important. Gutter hangers can be constructed with steel, zinc, copper, aluminum, etc. Hangers constructed with zinc, aluminum, copper are strong and durable.
Hanging space is another important factor. You must use enough hangers to hold the gutter. Normally gutters should be spaced 2 feet apart but in snowy regions or regions with high rainfall space less than 2 feet.
Mistake 4; Wrong Gutter Size:
In places with high rainfall, a large sized gutter is recommended. A small size gutter cannot handle much rainwater it will eventually lead water pouring down the building. Three things you should consider to determine the right size of gutter for your roof are:
- Average rainfall of your location.
- Size of your roof
- Your roof’s pitch
Mistake 5; Damages procured during installation
vinyl gutters are fragile and contain a lot of seams. To install vinyl gutters, you must be extremely careful to avoid cracks. Cracks has made the gutter ineffective and when installed, won’t channel water effectively even in the mildest climatic condition. Gutters that consist of seams are susceptible to damages. However, aluminum gutters can bend when pressure is applied. If an aluminum gutter falls to the ground, it will bend therefore it is damaged.
Mistake 6; Wrong placement
Gutters are placed at the edge of the roof, or that is what it seems on the outside. Actually, gutters are installed beneath the edge of a roof to catch any droplet of water.
It is best to leave a gutter installation job for professional. But it is important to note that most times our gutters are clogged with leaves and debris which result in improper drainage of rain water. So as you watch out for these mistakes, ensure you clean your gutters when due.