When you look at your home’s gutters, or your neighbours’ gutters, they should look like they run parallel to the roof. If they slope away from the roof drastically, it not only looks strange, but you might suspect there could be problems when the rain hits.
What you may not realize is that gutters should not run exactly parallel to the roof. Why not? And how much of a slope should there be? We’ll teach you about all of the above – and more – in this quick piece on gutter slope.
Why gutters need to slope
Gutter slope (or pitch) is how much the gutter slants downward. All gutters need some amount of slope – if they were perfectly flat, water would simply pool in them, instead of traveling toward the downspout.
That means that with too little slope, water will begin to pool and splash out of your gutters and toward your home’s foundation. Pooling water can also add to the weight of the gutter, potentially causing it to tear away and damage your walls and fascia.
We’ve already mentioned that gutters with too much of a slope look strange. There’s more to it than that, though. When a gutter slopes too drastically, its capacity to contain water is reduced, and splashback can also lead to water pooling around your home’s foundation.
How much should a gutter slope?
There’s actually an extremely simple answer to this question: you want ¼” of downward slope for each 10’ of gutter. That means that on a 10 foot section of gutter, one point of the gutter will be ¼” lower than the other point.
The gutter should also always slant downward toward the nearest downspout. For buildings with more than one downspout, that means it’s important to find the middle point and slope downward in both directions.
Imagine you have 100 feet of gutter with a downspout on the east and west sides. The eastern and western extremes of your gutter would both be 5/4” below the middle. This means the two extremes are level with each other.
What you can do about improper gutter slope
If you’ve lived in Calgary for a while, you know that basement flooding can be a real problem – and as you’ve just learned, improperly sloped gutters can lead to water seeping into your foundation.
You can try to assess the slope of your gutter on your own. Get a string and string level, determine the slope, and make sure it’s accurate using the ¼” per 10’ calculation we discussed.
When it comes to installing new gutters, or changing the slope using the gutters you already have – well, we recommend calling the pros. After all, if your gutter slope is off, it’s probably because someone made a mistake.
So give us a call! We offer gutter repair in Calgary – and yes, that includes ensuring that your gutter slope is perfect.