Reasons New Gutters can Fail

It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that when you replace the old gutters of your home that the new ones will last for a long time. But whether you decide to buy medium priced aluminum gutters or high-end half-round copper gutters, there are factors that can cause new gutters to fail.

Gutters Weren’t Installed Correctly

Even when quality materials are used, new gutters can fail within one to five years if they have been installed incorrectly. Things that impact a gutter installation are:

  • position of gutter trough in relation to roof edge
  • the gutter slope
  • the number and placement of downspouts
  • the number and placement of hangers

Gutter installation mistakes can misdirect or impede the flow of rainwater into and out of the gutter system. When water sits in the gutter trough, it weighs gutters down, causing stress to fascia boards and gutter sections. Skimping on the number of hangers hinders how well a gutter system can manage the weight of rainwater as it moves through the gutter channel.

Gutter Materials and Accessories

If not specified in the contract, some contractors use a thinner grade or gauge of aluminum or metal coil. The use of cheaper materials can affect how consistently the gutters perform.

To keep the cost of a gutter installation down, some contractors use nails (gutter spikes) instead of hidden hangers that use gutter screws. Because metal such as aluminum gutters or copper gutters expand and contract, nails can work loose in one to five years.

Wherever gutter sections are joined together, including the corners of a gutter system, they must be sealed to prevent leaks. To be effective, sealants must be good quality and applied correctly.

Gutters Aren’t Cleaned

Gutters that aren’t cleaned regularly can cause trouble even if they are five or less years old. A number of factors determine how often and when gutters should be cleaned, including:

  • if you live near a factory, farm, plant, or warehouse
  • the amount of rainfall
  • the size of the house
  • the configuration of the roof
  • number of trees in close proximity to the roof and gutters

Maintaining your gutters, especially within the first two years of being installed, is important. For gutter cleaning to be the most effective, know what types of trees are on your property; keep trees trimmed back away from the roof and gutter system; clean the gutters more than twice a year if necessary; and clean them at the “right” time, according to when trees shed their leaves, blossoms, or needles.