October 1, 2022

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Menards Home Improvement Topics: Gutter Guide

4 min read

Gutters are essential for routing roof water runoff away from your home, keeping basements dry, and protecting siding from backsplash stain and rot.

Materials

Vinyl
Vinyl is immune to rust and rot. It’s also a great choice for DIY installation projects because it’s one of the more inexpensive options and is easy to cut down to size.

Aluminum
Aluminum is the most popular material choice. It’s perfect for DIY installation projects because it’s lightweight, inexpensive, and available in custom lengths.

Steel
Steel is strong enough to stand up to ladders and fallen branches. Steel is the most durable gutter option available and holds 58% more water than standard 5-inch K-style gutters.

Copper
Copper is a naturally beautiful material, so there’s no need to paint it. Copper is generally used on high-end and historic residences.

Types of Gutters

Sectional Gutters
Do-it-yourself gutter systems are typically sold in “sections,” and installed as component systems. All sectional systems include end caps, corner pieces, and drop outlets for connecting to downspouts (vertical pipes that drains water from the roof). Sectional gutters are easy to handle and don’t require professional installation, made of stronger metal than their seamless counterparts and tend to be more cost-effective.

Half-Round/U-Style
Half-round gutters (also known as U-style gutters in certain materials) look like a round pipe that has been cut lengthwise. They’re often found on older, historic homes because they suit the style and design of these homes. One perk of half-round or U-style gutters is that they’re easier to clean than K-style gutters.

K-Style
K-style gutters – also known as “ogee gutters” – are more popular and have flat bottoms and backs. The front side has a decorative shape that mimics crown moulding. This style generally has twice the capacity of U-style gutters with the same width and are typically more durable than U-style gutters.

Installation Tips

Pitch: To ensure that gutters drain properly, they must slope toward a downspout. Typically, it’s best to install gutters so they slope 1/2-inch per 10 linear feet of gutter. For gutters that run longer than 40 feet, it’s best to pitch the gutter down from the middle to a downspout at each end.

Downspouts: One downspout should be installed for every 30 to 40 feet of gutter. Make sure downspouts run to a suitable drainage system or properly graded absorbent soil to prevent damage to your foundation. Downspouts usually include three elbow joints. One end of each section of the joints must be crimped in order to attach them together. You can use needle-nose pliers to crimp them yourself.

Hangers: Hangers are used to support gutters and strengthen the front edge. They should be installed every 2 feet. Reduce spacing to 18 inches apart if you live in an area with long-lasting snow and ice. Hangers attach to the fascia – the board that essentially acts as moulding to cover the area where the wall joins the roof – and the assembled gutters snap into them.

Accessories

Splash Blocks
Splash blocks are placed beneath the downspout elbow to help disperse water away from your home’s
foundation. They are lightweight enough to move easily, yet heavy enough to stay in place.

Gutter Covers
Gutter covers snap to the front edge of the gutter and slide under shingles to prevent large debris from
getting inside the gutter, which could cause clogs and buildup. Menards® offers a variety of affordable,
maintenance-free gutter covers.

Gutter Filters
Gutter filters provide many of the same benefits as gutter screens and covers. They fit completely inside
the gutter, so they’re not visible and also prevent debris that could cause clogs to build up.

Downspout Strainers
Wire downspout strainers are placed inside the outlet tube that connects the gutter to the downspout in
order to prevent leaves and other debris from clogging downspouts and underground drainage.

Gusher Guards
Gusher guards prevent gutters from overflowing with water at the valleys.

Flashing
Flashing prevents water from running behind your gutters, which could potentially cause the wood to rot.

Gutter Maintenance

In order to keep your gutters in good condition, it’s important to maintain them properly by cleaning the leaves from them twice a year or hiring a company that specializes in gutter maintenance. It’s also important to pay particular attention to the downspouts, as they’re the most likely to become clogged. During these inspections, check all of the spikes in the hangers. If they have worked their way out of their designated places over the years, it’s important to invest in new ones to keep your gutters secure. Finally, find the source of any leaks, and repair them with bead silicone sealing or caulk to keep water from getting down behind the gutters and rotting the boards


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