9 Mistakes to Avoid with DIY Gutters
Last Update: 26 Jan 2023
As first time home owners, we rarely have a true understanding of how much time and money goes into keeping our homes standing upright. The rain gutters are just one example of an unobtrusive part of the house that doesn’t seem like much until it breaks down. Then you truly appreciate its function in your home.
If your rain gutters are old and starting to break down and not do its job correctly, then it is time to install a new one before the next rainfall leaves a small pond in your basement again. The big question when it comes to home gutter systems is whether to install it yourself or have it installed by a professional company.
Money and time will always play a role in your decision. If you have the time to do it yourself and really don’t have the money to hire a professional installer, then make sure you keep in mind these nine mistakes to avoid with DIY gutter:
1. Avoid Choosing the Wrong Size Gutter
Because your gutters need to be large enough to drain away all the rain from your home, finding the right size is crucial. If you go too small, the gutters will only get overloaded in heavy downfalls leading to a lot of water damage to your home. The wrong size can also lead to gutter damage and structural damage to your home. For the most accurate size, you need to take into consideration, the size of your roof and pitch as well as how much rainfall you tend to get in your area.
2. Avoid Hanging the Gutter Hangers Too Far Apart
The gutter hangers are the way you mount the gutter system to your home so they need to be spaced properly. If you leave too much space between the hangers, the rain gutters will actually sag causing the water to pool instead of flowing through. If this keeps happening and you have a lot of water pooling in different sections of the gutter system, the extra pressure is going to make the system separate from your home. The rule of thumb is to place the gutter hangers about every three feet or so, unless where you live there is a lot of snow and ice, then every 2 feet is better. Remember that while you think you might be saving yourself time and money to use fewer hangers, in the long run all the damage that will happen as a result will end up costing you a lot more.
3. Don’t Ignore the Pitch of the Rain Gutters
And you thought you would never need geometry again. The angle at which your rain gutters are hung is an important detail when it comes to a successful installation. Both too much of an angle and not enough of an angle can affect the speed at which the water flows through the system. In this case, moderation is best. Experts recommend that you allow for a ¼ inch slope towards the downspouts for every 10 feet of gutter. The most important thing to remember is that the gutters should never be level.
4. Where You Place the Gutter System Matters Too
You know the gutters go on the roof, but do you know exactly where? It is not enough to just hang them on the edge of the roof. Technically they need to be a few inches lower than your roofline to prevent water from damaging the fascia boards and siding.
5. Avoid Having Too Many Seams
The seams in your gutter system are a weak point in the system where leakage can happen so you don’t want to have too many of them in your gutter system. When shopping for your gutter system, look for one that doesn’t have a lot of seams or better yet one that is seamless.
6. Don’t Forget the Downspouts
How you place the downspouts and how many of them you install is also important. Not having enough downspouts will lead to standing water and overloading of the system during heavy rains. And when they are not placed properly you open yourself to erosion around the area, structural damage and even insect infestation, all of which can end up being pricey to fix.
7. Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
Going DIY is already saving you money on the cost of labor, so go ahead and invest in a good quality gutter system. If you opt for cheaper, poor quality materials to install your system, you will definitely be able to see the difference. Why risk the chance of having it break down and cause damage to your home just to save a few bucks? A quality gutter system is a good investment and will last you a long time.
8. Don’t Damage the Gutters During Installation
The installation process needs to be precise and you need to carefully avoid damaging any of the gutters during installation. If you are installing aluminum gutters they are especially at risk of getting easily bent or dented so be careful that you don’t let one fall to the ground or hit it with the ladder by mistake. If it gets damaged, you are going to have to replace the whole section and you want to avoid that as much as possible.
9. Don’t Ignore Safety Protocols
Not everyone should be climbing on the roof to install gutters. If you have any health issues or are afraid of heights or not in good shape, you should not sign up for this demanding home project. If you decide to do the installation yourself, then make sure you have someone working with you who can spot you as you climb and make sure that the ladder stays steady and secure. Also don’t lean too far out while on the ladder either.
Besides the gutter system itself, you should also consider purchasing and installing gutter guard, leaf catchers or other products that help you maintain your gutter system with as little hassle as possible. For example, The SpoutOff are rain gutter outlets that can be easily added to a new gutter system and they are designed with larger openings which prevent leaves and debris from getting clogged up in the gutters. They also make it easier to check on your gutters because it comes with a removable downspout that allows you to inspect the system from the ground instead of having to climb a ladder.
Want to learn more about how The SpoutOff can make your seasonal outdoor chores a lot easier? Contact The SpoutOff today to learn how it can take the hassle out of cleaning your gutters.
I agree that you should make sure you don’t choose the wrong size gutter. This would make it impossible to install. I didn’t know that it could cause damage to the siding of your home though, like you said.
Great tips. I’m doing DIY gutters and would like more visual aids. Is this possible?
in the photo…Appears to be a BARE wooden block behind that gutter hanger… If so … POOR CHOICE … Wood will ROT in a few years and there goes the gutter!