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Residential roofline after new gutter installation.

Gutter Installation 101

Gutters are an important part of any home. They safely direct water from rainfall and snow melt away from your home through downspouts—ensuring that moisture does not damage your property. This simple system prevents issues like flooding, erosion, wood rot and mold. Yet, even if gutter cleaning is a part of your annual home maintenance routine, there might be times when that just doesn't cut it, and you need new gutter installation.

Perhaps you've just moved into a fixer-upper and its gutters are in poor condition, or maybe your gutters were damaged in a storm and you need to install new ones. Either way, it can be a big investment—so you should do a little research to be sure you get the best gutters for your Central Maryland home.

That's where this blog comes in. Put together by our experts at Mr. Handyman of Greater Columbia and Eldersburg, it will outline everything you need to know about gutter installation. Continue reading to discover our top tips, and learn when to call local pros for help.

Choose the Right Size

Your gutters need to be large enough so that they can drain away water from your home. Much like Cinderella's slipper or Goldilocks's bed, finding a perfect sized pipe is crucial. Too small, and you run the risk that your pipes will become overloaded with too much water, mud and other debris. When this happens, not only might your home experience significant water damage, but it also could cause the bracket to fall off completely.

To find the right size, it's important you take into consideration: the amount of rainfall your area receives annually, and the size of your roof. If you're not sure, one of our expert technicians will be able to let you know what size is best for your home.

Space Hangers Correctly

The hangers, or brackets, are how you mount the pipes to your roof. They go on your roof's fascia. It's integral that the brackets are spaced properly. If too much space is left between sectional gutters during installation, they will sag under the weight of pooling water. This means the system will not be able to drain correctly—subsequently damaging your home. Enough pooling water, and eventually the system will break.

Too close together, and you wind up spending unnecessarily on brackets that you don't even need. The best rule of thumb is to place gutter hangers roughly 2 to 3-feet apart during installation. If you're unsure of what spacing is best, it's wise to err on the side of caution and opt for a 2-foot spacing. Damage to your home is far more costly, stressful and time-consuming than buying a few extra brackets.

Watch the Pitch/Angle

The angle of your gutter sections directly impacts how successfully they will assist with water drainage away from your property. It's basic science; the larger an angle, or pitch, the faster water will move away from your home; the smaller an angle, the slower it will move. You might be tempted to install the system at a steep angle so any debris moves away quickly—but that is not the best choice.

Moderation is key when it comes to installation for this critical system. Supposing the water is expelled at a safe distance from your home, if it moves too quickly it could cause serious erosion at its exit point. If it travels too fast around corners near your fascia, it could cause moisture damage on your trim, or create siding issues. The guideline for pitch is that you allow for a 1/4-inch, slight slope towards the downspouts for every 10-feet of gutter.

Important!

Gutters should never be level after installation. If so, water and debris will not drain at all, and you could wind up with serious structural damage to your house trim. Your gutters should also be hung a few inches lower than the roofline. This prevents water from damaging fascia boards and siding.

Avoid Having Too Many Seams

Just like how it's more likely to get a hole along the seam of your jeans, it's more likely gutters will spring a leak along their seams too. The connection point of two pipes is actually a weak point in the system that is more likely to allow water and debris to seep through. When purchasing a new system, be sure to buy one that doesn't have too many seams—or even better, opt for seamless gutters.

Place Downspouts Strategically

Downspouts are fundamental to protecting your home from damage. They need to be placed a safe distance from your home to prevent flooding, erosion and structural damage. Generally, 6 to 10-feet is a sufficient distance. Also ensure you have enough downspouts, otherwise the water will not be able to drain efficiently.

Invest in Quality Materials

There are many types of gutters, and it's important you invest in a system that is going to last well throughout the years. Poor-quality, cheap materials will wear down faster and require more repairs. This winds up costing you more in the long-run.

Some Common Materials Are:

  • Copper

  • Vinyl

  • Aluminum

  • Stainless steel

Be Precise and Avoid Damage

This almost goes without saying, but you should be careful while installing your new system to prevent any damage. Certain materials, like aluminum, can be bent and dented easily. If this happens, you'll have to buy another part because the gutter section will be unusable.

Follow Safety Protocols

Most importantly, always follow appropriate safety protocols when installing gutters. If you don't feel safe completing this task on your own, then be sure to hire the experts at Mr. Handyman of Greater Columbia and Eldersburg to take care of it for you.

Correct Safety Protocol Includes:

  • Being honest with yourself. If you're afraid of heights, or you’re not in the physical condition to climb up a ladder, don't risk it. You could fall and seriously injure yourself.

  • Have a spotter assist you and ensure that you are safe while putting up the system.

  • Wear safety gloves and protective eyewear at all times.

  • Never lean too far out from the ladder.

  • Ensure the ladder is steady and on even footing throughout the job.

Additional Tips

While you're installing your new system, here are a few other insights to help you maximize your purchase and protect your property:

  • Install gutter guards and leaf catchers to prevent too much gunk from entering the system.

  • Schedule annual cleaning appointments, or carefully clean the system yourself.

  • Regularly inspect your property's exterior for signs of wear, mold, wood rot and pests.

Hire Your Local Pros!

If you're not entirely comfortable installing gutters on your own or if you just don't want to waste a precious Saturday making multiple trips to the hardware store in an attempt to hack away at a DIY project, then call the experts at Mr. Handyman of Greater Columbia and Eldersburg.

Our team of professional technicians have the correct tools and years of experience in installing gutters to successfully complete this project for you. We'll ensure the system is set up correctly—without any damaged or faulty sections—and ensure that your home and landscaping do not suffer from improper installation.

We've helped countless homeowners in the Central Maryland area with their home maintenance, repair and installation needs, including in Clarksville, Dayton and Elkridge. To get started today, give our friendly team a call at 410-593-1920. We look forward to helping with your next installation or repair project!