How to install rain gutters to prevent water damage
Great safety from Mark Mancuso on cleaning your gutters before winter hits.
In the United States, having to repair water damage costs over $2,000 on average. One of the best ways to protect your basement from water damage caused by flooding is by installing rain gutters. If properly installed, your rain gutters will get water away from your home, not let it pool up against your foundation. Most people don’t think about the role that rain gutters play in protecting a home and property. They are easy to forget. We often remember to clean out the gutters, but their actual job is overlooked. Doing so exposes you to financial risk and property damage.
What rain gutters are and how they work
Sitting up against our home, rain gutters keep water from cascading down the walls of our home. Water damage can occur because of flooding and regular precipitation. Guttering is designed to protect your house foundation from erosion. It is not just rain that gutters protect us from. When the snow melts, it also causes water to flow through our gutters. If the gutters aren’t properly installed, then water will pool up under the spout from which it was released. This will cause water to build up against your foundation.
When installing rain gutters, you need to start with the basics. You are going to need full coverage of the roof and any area in which water can drain off your roof. Certain areas have higher than average rainfall, and in those areas, this becomes even more critical.
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom
1. Measure your roof
You need to know how much guttering you will need. Any gap will cause water to fall against your home and can cause damage. Remember that the length of your rain gutters won’t be the same as the length of your home. This is because you need to leave extra in order to lap the seams of your rain gutters. You should plan for between 2 and 4 inches of lapping at each seam in order to ensure that no water leaks. Once you have measured and calculated the extra you will need, you are ready to start the next step.
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom
2. Cut your rain gutters
Accuracy is important when you are cutting rain gutters. They need to fit snugly against the wall, and not overhang or under protect anywhere. If your house is not symmetrical, make sure to prepare pieces for each section.
Photo by Zachary Keimig
3. Assemble rain gutters on the ground where possible
It is much easier to work from a stable platform, like the ground, than it is from the top of a ladder. You want as many pieces of your rain gutters assembled before you climb up the ladder as possible. This isn’t just to ensure correct installation, but also to help you work safely and not be injured.
Photo by Åsa Lundqvist
4. Downspouts and pipes of rain gutters
You will want to make sure that you have no obstructions to your downspouts. Measure from the corner of the house to where the downspout will be and make these holes before you begin the installation. This will help you because you will need to install pipes that can help carry the water away from the home.
Photo by Renespro
5. Water needs to flow away
When you are installing your rain gutters, make sure you keep note of how your yard is landscaped. The grading should be so that water will be able to flow down and away from your foundation. If there are obstructions, plan your downspouts so that the water won’t be trapped. This will help prevent water damage from occurring to your foundation. Another important aspect of flushing the water away is the angle of your rain gutters. You will need to make sure that they slope down at about a half inch for every ten feet they run. So for a gutter that is twenty feet long, make sure they slope down at least a full inch. If you have long sides of your house, you will need to pitch them so that both sides of the rain gutter slope towards the middle. This will make your rain gutters look professional and do their job better.
Photo by Marie Bellando-Mitjans
6. Rain gutters go all the way down
Rain gutters don’t just work against the roof, but all the way to the ground. This is because the pipes and downspouts drain the water towards the ground using gravity. When it reaches the ground, make sure that you have proper splash blocks installed.
Photo by Zane Lee
Why splash blocks are important for your rain gutters
Splash blocks are a vital component of your rain gutters. They keep the water from reaching the ground against the side of your house. The water hits the splash block and then flows outward into the yard. Make sure this flow is unobstructed, and the water can escape. If you are buying or selling a home, the inspector that looks at the house will inspect the guttering system. They will pay very close attention to the drainage offered by the rain gutters, including the splash block. Make sure these systems are clear, clean, and operational before you have someone look at your house.
Photo by Pedro Sandrini
Weather and your rain gutters
Rainfall can be predicted and watched as it approaches. If the area you are living in is approaching peak rainfall season, make sure your rain gutters are ready. Repair anything that is broken or missing from your gutters. Rainwater, wind, and storms can all cause damage to your gutters. As long as you are prepared for what is coming, your home has a much better chance of surviving unscathed. The wintry months, in particular, can cause significant damage to your rain gutters if you don't take proper precautions. Be sure to winterize your home to protect yourself from any rain gutter issues and water damage.
Photo by Adrien Olichon
Do it yourself or hire a professional for rain gutters
When you want to install new rain gutters, you have two options. You can do it yourself, or you can hire a professional contractor to install your gutters. Rain gutters are important, and if you lack the tools or expertise to properly install them, make sure you call someone who can. Don’t risk substantial water damage to your home, foundation, and basement. This can be an expensive repair and potential health risk to you and your family. We can’t prevent flooding, but we can take the steps that are necessary to protect our houses from the forces of nature that will damage it. In the end, the integrity of your property is in your hands. If you found this article about rain gutters helpful, be sure to browse our website for other related topics.Report a Typo