Gutter slope is key to properly functioning gutters. Whether you plan on installing your own gutters, having them installed by a professional, or they are already installed, it will be helpful to know what gutter slope is and the role it plays in maintaining your home.
What is Gutter Slope?
Since water naturally runs downhill, it’s important that a gutter system slopes toward the downspouts to allow rainwater to flow freely along the gutter channel. Gutter slope, also referred to as gutter pitch, is the amount gutters should slant downward to maximize the gutter system’s functionality. The standard rule advises a ¼ inch slope for every 10 linear feet of gutter. To correctly calculate gutter slope, other factors, such as the roof configuration, the number of downpipes and the location of each downspout, are included. More is not necessarily better. Too much slope will reduce the gutter’s water handling capacity and/or visually detract from the home’s exterior.
Poor Gutter Slope
There are three main reasons gutters end up with poor gutter slope: gutters were incorrectly installed; gutter slope was inaccurately calculated; gutter sections have shifted since the original installation. Possible signs gutters are not properly sloped are:
- leaks at the corners of the gutter system
- standing water
- water has drained from the gutter channel, but wet debris or sludge remains even after a couple of days of no rain
- debris sinks to a lower level opposite the downspout
Good Gutter Slope
Gutters that work the way they’re supposed to guide water and debris toward the downspout. When gutter slope has been properly calculated:
- rainwater freely exits the gutter system
- debris broken up by flowing water is guided toward the downpipes
- when debris is left behind, it dries out