Factors that Affect Gutter Performance

Most homeowners know the importance of cleaning the gutters in the spring, and then again in the fall. But a lot of people might be surprised to find out that gutter cleaning is not the only thing to impact the functionality of a gutter system. To ensure your gutters stay in top condition throughout the years, consider these factors that affect gutter performance.

Type of Gutter Material

The type of gutter material you choose will have an impact on the system’s overall effectiveness. For example, aluminum gutters made from a lower gauge metal dent easily. Vinyl gutters experiencing colour-fade are susceptible to eventual peeling or cracking. Any type of damage compromises the gutters’ ability to protect your home from water damage.

Depending on the manufacturer, half-round copper gutters don’t handle the comparable volume of water as a seamless aluminum K-style gutter system of the same size.

Size of Gutters and Downspouts

Gutter size and the corresponding size of the downspout depend on a number of conditions including the amount of rainfall, roof pitch, and the square footage of your home. A  2 x 3 inch downspout typically is used in a standard 5-inch gutter system. However, if a medium size house experiences heavy rainfall, 5-inch gutters might function better if a larger downspout (3 x 4 inch) was installed instead.

Roof Configuration and Pitch

It is understandable the larger the house, the more water a roof has to handle. But it’s not just the size of the house; the roof’s configuration and its pitch also determine the amount of water that exits the roof and how it enters the gutters. When roof pitch is too steep or insufficient, often water lands where it shouldn’t, reducing the functionality of the gutter system.

Gutter Pitch

The gutter pitch, also referred to as gutter slope, is the amount of downward angle required to direct water toward the downspouts. Rule of thumb dictates a ¼ inch slant for every 10 feet of guttering. Gutters function better when proper pitch ensures continuous water flow.

Condition of the Gutters

Cleaning the gutters inside and out prevents clogs from forming and the protective finish from becoming damaged by environmental toxins. But a gutter system, if it’s to function optimally, should be inspected from time to time in between gutter cleanings. Scheduled inspections reveal what got damaged in a wind storm, if the downspout is still properly attached or when the downspout extender was tripped over during a backyard football game. Restore their functionality and improve the gutters’ performance by fixing issues right away.