InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.
This article explains how gutters are attached to or supported on buildings, describing different sorts of gutter hangers and their pros and cons. We also discuss the recommended sized or capacity of roof gutters as a function of the size of roof area being drained. This article series discusses how to choose, install, diagnose & maintain roof gutters & downspouts, & roof drainage systems to prevent building leaks and water entry.
How Are Gutters Attached to the Building? Types of Gutter Hangers
Gutters won't survive the occasional extra weight of water, wet leaves, ice or snow that weigh down gutters when they have not been kept cleaned. But you can increase the durability of the building's roof gutter system by using enough connections to fasten the gutters to the structure so that those occasional extra stresses can be endured.
The sketch at left informs us that
Roof gutters should slope at least 1-inch in every 200 inches of run
Roof gutters should be secured to the building every 2-3 feet.
Four-inch gutters are good for relatively small roof
areas; however, five-inch gutters are preferred because of their additional capacity. Five-inch
gutters are also less likely to allow water to overshoot the gutters when the water is draining
off a steeply pitched roof.
While "rules of thumb" for both gutter size and number of downspouts needed often are based simply on the length of roof edge that is being drained, this approach is flawed in that it fails to consider the total roof area that is being drained.
A roof that is very small in total area, even if very long, may get along just fine with a smaller 4-inch gutter, while a much larger roof area with the same length of roof eaves needs a 5-inch gutter or larger.
Also, as our (photographs below illustrate) odd roof shapes or complex multiple roof designs may end up sending a large volume of water from multiple surfaces into a relatively short gutter length that cannot possibly handle that volume. The result will be spillage by the building foundation and a high risk of a wet basement.
Some homeowners install larger gutters and leaders not because of difficulty handling the volume of water being drained, but because they believe that they'll have to clean the gutters less often. Nevertheless, it doesn't take a much larger handful of leaves or debris to clog a large downspout than a smaller one.
Before Installing a Larger Gutter System: Things to Check if Your Gutters are Overflowing
Double check that the overflow is not gutter back-flow due to a gutter or roof drip edge installation error
Check that the gutters are not loose and pulled away from the roof edge
Check that water is not "overshooting" the gutter, especially at or below roof valleys
Check that the gutters slope properly towards downspout drains
In sum, if the area of roof being drained is larger than usual and there are no defects in the gutter or downspout system, then if gutters still overflow during heavy rainfall you may need to install a larger gutter system.
Also see DRIP LINES INDICATE OVERFLOW This article describes ground-level visual clues that tell the story of the history and location of gutter overflows at a building.
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
No FAQs have been posted for this page. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Questions & answers or comments about roof gutter hangers, straps, & supports: installation & repair.
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Mark Cramer Inspection Services Mark Cramer, Tampa Florida, Mr. Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. Mr. Cramer serves on the ASHI Home Inspection Standards. Contact Mark Cramer at: 727-595-4211 mark@BestTampaInspector.com
John Cranor is an ASHI member and a home inspector (The House Whisperer) is located in Glen Allen, VA 23060. He is also a contributor to InspectApedia.com in several technical areas such as plumbing and appliances (dryer vents). Contact Mr. Cranor at 804-747-7747 or by Email: email@example.com
Home Inspection Education Home Study Courses - ASHI@Home Training 10-course program. Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Home Reference Book, a reference & inspection report product for building owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Home Reference eBook, an electronic version for PCs, the iPad, iPhone, & Android smart phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter inspectaehrb in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.