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Gutters and Downspouts

»Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters and Downspouts

April 22, 2020| Lester Yat

Posted by adminlemus on April 13, 2020

What is the proper size of a roof drainage system (gutters and downspouts)?

That all depends on the kind of home you have. Smaller homes will be fine with what are called five-inch K-style gutters, as well as 6-inch half rounds – both customary for residential housing because they accommodate the size of the roof and the exterior without compromising any safety.

However, bigger houses – especially ones with steeper roofs or those that are accustomed to heavy rainfalls due to their proximity and location – may need wider gutters and extra downspouts to assure that water goes where it should: on the ground, and in a safe manner.

When you look at your own place of residence, you first need to figure out the square footage of the area where your gutters are (or would be). For a “normal” roof, this would require measuring each of two slopes.

Once that is figured out, the next step involves the roof-pitch factor and maximum rainfall intensity.   Because rain has a tendency to sit longer on a steeper roof, measuring a roof slope with a level and tape can help determine the roof pitch. Then, identify what the average amounts of rainfall are in your area to estimate how your gutters need to perform (especially under pressure). Then, once the roof-pitch factor and rainfall intensity are determined, multiply those numbers by the drainage area to find out the drainage area.

If you’re not entirely good at math or assessing such statistics, it would be wise to ask a professional to measure and determine what the best course of action would be for your specific roof.

Is your roof ready to handle the rainy/snowy weather?

It is important to determine whether your roof has any issues that could pose a problem for you down the road in terms of a leaky roof and extensive damage that result from big thunderstorms and potential snowfall in the later months of the calendar year.

There’s never a bad time to assess the situation and prepare for all kinds of climate-based scenarios. This includes checking for damaged or missing shingles, checking the edging of the roof to make sure it’s adequate, and making sure gutters and downspouts are clean and open for rainfall to move freely from the roof to the ground.

Checking for nearby trees is also a good idea because even if you clean your roof (notably the gutters and spouts), falling leaves and branches can clog up said parts of the roof. They also pose dangerous threats if they get stuck up there during a storm and later have the possibility of falling down on someone at ground level.

These are all aspects of winterizing a roof for the cold season, especially if you live in the Midwest or the East. Caulking shingles and assuring security is also encouraged. Leaks, condensation and ice dams are also a big portion of winter weather effects.

In summation, a roof involves many components that compose your house’s ‘protective shield’. Don’t just focus on shingles, or gutters, or spouts; rather, make sure to look at everything and identify what needs work before it might be too late.

What are the characteristics of a good drainage system (gutters and downspouts)?

Gutters and downspouts sometimes fall in the shadows in terms of the value they possess in maintaining a healthy roof.   It’s true that roofs hold just about all the aesthetic value of a home’s exterior, with different types of shingle placements and designs taking hold of someone’s line of vision.

But what keeps a roof sustainable and a house safe are those gutters and downspouts, as they are responsible for ridding a roof of water and maintaining a home’s foundation. This applies on a year­ round basis, especially in regions where four seasons are a reality and snowfall occurs annually.

Precipitation can be a stone-cold killer of a roof, notably when the ice and water have nowhere to go. But before one can legitimately prevent damage to their homes using gutters and downspouts, their use first has to be known. Gutters and downspouts work hand in hand, symbiotically, to maintain a good, solid roof.

Gutters help control the flow of rainwater and prevent  rain damage  to the exterior  of the house, as well as preventing  ground  erosion  and damage  to landscaping  and other  objects  around  the house.  Gutters are also known to keep insects from coming into the basement or into certain crawlspaces.

A gutter system is particularly important in the fall and winter months, where precipitation and more adverse conditions are a bigger reality than during the spring and summer months.   In the fall, a thorough cleaning of the gutter system is usually advised. When the leaves are changing, they are also finding their way onto a wide array of people’s roofs – and that can cause a major problem when leaves jam downspouts and don’t allow for the free flow of water from the gutters to the ground.

The process is important as it’s one of those things where an owner should make sure the system is clean as a whistle in the fall so that various problems don’t arise in the winter. If leaves are plugging up gutters and downspouts in the fall and are left without much urgency or proactivity, then an ice dam in the winter could both freeze a gutter and the leaves and debris that were there from the fall.

If you live in an area surrounded by trees, something as simple as gutter screens can help keep It’s a much better course of action to attack the problem before it forms, and to attack it in the fall rather than during a harsh winter. Just ask yourself, would you rather stand on a ladder when it’s mild temperatures or when it is freezing cold outdoors?

In the end, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Gutters and downspouts are on the lower end of the financial spectrum and they are an integral part of keeping not only a roof in good condition, but also a house’s foundation. It’s not wise to let water build up and sit on the roof, rather than run off properly. With downspouts able to be maneuvered and gutter systems able to be cleaned and maintained, a flurry of problems can be avoided by scheduling annual cleanings and checking on roof conditions.  The roof is like the lid of a house that keeps everything together, and a good gutter system will do that for you.