There is a science to gutters greater than that water runs downhill. The proper number and size of downspouts, the correct leaf screen, and even the size and shape of the gutter itself are variables. A professional gutter company has charts and equations they use to figure these things but afterward the customer needs to do his job.
One such gutter professional is Robert King of A-1 Aluminum Gutters. He has been installing gutters since the start of time and has an excellent track record. Robert, tell us about your company:
“We began in 1969. I narrowed my home building and remodeling business of nine years to just gutters. Sometimes we have to repair other items connected to the gutters and downspouts but my true passion is gutters.”
What would you consider to be the most common mistake of gutter companies?:
“The fatal flaw is not engineering the gutter system from the beginning and then sending out apartment gutter installers to do homes. All this begins with the inspection process. They even put the supports or fasteners too far apart and sometimes rely on eyesight rather than a level. The placement of the right size downspouts is critical to drainage in heavy rains and the elimination of debris from the gutter. Of course there's many other things to go wrong from start to finish. Then there's the roofer who must integrate the gutter to the roof to prevent water damage to the overhang.”
How often and what time of year should gutters be inspected?:
“Twice a year, for leaves in the fall and for tree blooms and limbs in the spring.”
Should everyone have gutters?:
“It may not seem apparent but I believe so because I have seen what happens over time. A home may not need gutters today because its on a hill and the water runs away from the home on all sides but eventually the runoff will erode not just the earth but even concrete. This damage can be obscured by shrubs and before you know it a foundation man is needed. After he raises the house the homeowner will need your services, Jon, to fix the roof structure.”
What's the difference in gutter profiles?:
There is “Straight Face” which is hard to match for any repairs or the “O G” that is considered standard. Some contractors call it “K Style.”
Tell us about downspouts and the gutter size itself?:
“There are 5” and 6” gutters with 2”x3” or Texas Size 3”x4” downspouts. Sometimes we use the larger downspouts with the smaller gutter if the volume of water requires it. You must engineer for the heaviest of rains.”
How should gutters be attached to a house?
“We use to use spike and ferrule but since they backed out over time we went to support hangers with screws.”
Are there ever exceptions like the shape or angle of the roof or fascia?:
“There are five or six major installation techniques that we usually use.”
Are all roofs alike when it comes to installing gutters or do some require different flashing details?:
“The procedure for batten mounted stone coated steel roof require a lot of expertise. Otherwise, after we leave, if you change out your roof you better use a roofer who knows and cares about what he's doing.”
Would you like to add anything else?:
“If you have a lot of trees you should consider screens to prevent leaf clogging. The supposed leafless gutters systems can get clogged and they're difficult to clean. They also are shallow and have little recovery for hard rains. We'll stick with what has been proven for hundreds of years.”
Thanks Robert. You know your business.
one last comment: Dallas and Fort Worth are polluted enough. Let's do our part to help mother earth not be sucked dry by our generation. As roofing contractors, customers, and associated vendors we can do a lot to help the environment. Let's get started!