Your Home Gutter System – By the Barrie Home Inspector

 

Most homes have gutters installed to collect and discharge water away from our home.  Without gutters water would splash when hitting the ground and possibly enter our basements.  For every inch of rain that falls on a roof of 1,000 square feet, you can expect to collect and drain approximately 600 gallons of rainwater.  Improper drainage is probably one of the main causes of water penetrating into basements.

Leaking Gutter Joint on Barrie HomeInstalling gutters is easier now with rolled seamless aluminum eaves trough being the most popular type for new homes.  Sectional gutters are typically for the Do It Yourself type of installation.  The joints in a sectional gutter system will eventually leak.  For proper drainage you should ensure your gutter slopes a minimum of 1/2 inch for every 10 feet of gutter.  When your length of gutter exceeds 40 feet you should raise the gutter in the center and slope down to opposite downspout locations.  This is why it is important to plan your gutter and downspout drain locations prior to starting job.  Many new home designers do not take winter into consideration,  and as you often find in Barrie ON home inspections,  you end up with downspouts discharging onto sidewalk and driveway walking areas.

When selecting your gutter you most likely will have a number of options to choose from.  The most common options are material, profile, size, production, and coating.  Many new homes and replacement roofs are using steel or metal roofing material.  One downside to metal roofing is that snow and ice tend to start sliding off these roofs in fairly large sheets.  Many metal roofs have snow guards or other devices which break up the sliding snow and ice before it leaves the roof.  The snow and ice slides can rip your gutters right off your fascia even with snow guards installed and many home owners opt for the more expensive steel gutters rather than the aluminum gutter for this very reason. Vinyl and plastic gutters are usually not installed by professionals and are generally considered a waste of money.  Seals tend to leak at joints and they quickly degrade in sunlight.

The lower edge of your shingles should extend beyond the fascia board by about 3/4 inch so that runoff drains into the gutters. If the overhang  is too short, water will drip behind the gutter, resulting in  rotted roof sheathing and fascia, water stains of your siding, and even soil erosion and a flooded basement. Fix this problem by installing sheet-metal drip edge, which is installed under the first course of roof shingles.  Most professional roofers will install this product when shingling your roof.

Gutter Protection from LeavesIf you have lots of trees around your home you probably have to clean your gutters on a regular basis.  Many home owners in the Barrie On area are choosing to protect their gutters with one of the many forms of gutter protection available today.   These gutter protection systems range from a clip in screen to a complete cover which allows water to run over the edge and back into gutter, keeping gutters free from leaves and other debris.