We have provided a few of our most frequently asked questions when asked about gutter systems.
In normal modern construction the roof system consists of a 2×4 truss system, which creates the pitch of the roof and supports the roof decking. These trusses are generally spaced every 24 inches. The fascia board is the trim board the gutter sits on and is attached to the tail ends of the trusses. Using the spike and ferrule method of gutter attachment, the spike is driven through the gutter, through the fascia trim board and into the solid 2×4 wood truss. If the installer missed the 2×4 when driving the gutter spike, the spike is simply floating in air once it passes through the fascia board and has nothing to grip to.
No matter how many times the spike is hammered back in, with only air to grip – it will soon pull out again. In other cases, the spike has hit the truss tail, but over the course of the years, the wood has expanded and again, the spike has nothing to grip to. In these cases, the spike can be redirected a half inch of so and re-nailed into solid wood.While the spike and ferrule method was the standard for years, many gutter installation companies have changed to some form of the hidden hanger with screw anchoring method.
While these gutter systems are functional during an average rainfall when new, they can be quickly overwhelmed during thunderstorms and as they age, the combination of thin material and poor attachment can lead to the gutters pulling away from the home, further reducing the function and appearance of the system.When shopping for replacement gutters for your home, consider meeting with a knowledgeable gutter installer that can assess your current gutter configuration and make suggestions for improvements such as revised downspout placement, the use of additional downspouts, an increase in gutter size and/or downspout size, screening options and, while not an aspect of function – color options to blend with or enhance your home’s trim color. When comparing prices, first determine the quality of the product based on thickness of the aluminum coil, the use of hidden-hangers and the correct spacing of the hanger system.For maximum durability and appearance with our seamless aluminum systems, Signature Roofing uses only heavy-weight .032 gauge aluminum coil and premium hidden-hanger with screw anchoring method.
For maximum performance we recommend our Signature Performance Gutter System which are designed using 6 inch gutters and 3×4 downspout configurations. Standard 5 inch gutters have a collection opening of 4.25 inches and are capable of holding 2 1/2 quarts of water per foot. Performance 6 inch gutters have a collection opening of 5.25 inches and a holding capacity of 4 quarts of water per foot – a 63% improvement over the standard system. This holding capacity combined with the increased dispersal rate of the 3×4 downspout will ensure performance in all but the heaviest of rainfall rates.
To maximize the gutters ability to collect water in heavy rains, traditional screening products have an open mesh that easily allows water to flow into the gutters. These open-mesh screens also often work well in the Fall with dry leaves. However, in the Spring season – these open-mesh screens become a magnet for the various systems designed by Mother Nature to deliver seed-pods. Maple ‘helicopter’ seeds and Oak ‘spaghetti’ pollen stick to open-mesh screens like Velcro. We have found cleaning the screening system is often more difficult than simply keeping the gutters clean. Traditional screening systems can also be packed down into the gutter by a heavy layer of wet leaves or snow and many of the less expensive products simply won’t stay in the gutter at all and are prone to blow away.
To counter the weaknesses of the open-mesh screening systems, many companies offer some type of “closed” gutter protector. Using a helmet, louver or staircase system as a cap – the bulk of the gutter itself is blocked off, preventing leaves and seed-pods from getting into the gutter. The downside of these systems is that by blocking off up to 90% of the gutter opening, you also reduce the amount of water the gutter is able to collect. This problem is more prevalent on homes that have steep-pitched roofs or roofs with valley areas that collect water on the roof level and channel it to one small gutter area. Many of these systems continue to let small debris enter the gutter and this debris may clog the downspouts over time.