How To Check the Pitch of Rain Gutters

Your roof’s gutter, working hand-in-hand with the downspouts, redirects rainwater away from your house’s foundation.  It performs a very important role in the preservation of your house’s structure.  Rain gutters must be checked regularly, ideally at least thrice a year.  One of the things to check when performing your regular gutter check is the pitch of the rain gutters.  This article will assist you in checking the pitch of your roof’s rain gutters.

Rain gutter pitch refers to the gutter’s angle of inclination from the horizontal plane.  Rain gutters must angle somewhat so that rainwater from the roof would continue to move down the incline on to the downspouts where the water will be funneled down the pipes and away from the house.

To check the pitch of your rain gutters, you will need to do some measuring and some climbing (although the measurement can be approximated without having to climb the side of your house).  Specifically, you will need to find out three measurements: the length of the gutter, the distance of the gutter from the eave on the downspout side, and the distance of the gutter from the eave on the side opposite the downspout.

Set up a ladder against the side of the house where the downspout is located.  Climb to the top of the ladder so you can measure the distance from the eave to the top of the gutter.  Make a mental note of the measurement, or record it in a notebook.  The measurement should be expressed in feet.  This will make calculations easier later.

While you’re still up there, measure the length of the gutter by making your measuring tape slide along the roof or gutter until the measuring tape’s tip reaches the end of the gutter.  Again, make a mental note of the measurement (in inches this time), or record it in a notebook.  

Descend from the ladder.  Move and set it up against the side of the house opposite the downspout.  Climb to the top and measure the distance (in inches again) between the eave and the top of the gutter.  Again, take note of the measurement.  Descend from the ladder and get ready to do some basic mathematical calculations. Compute the ideal pitch, expressed in inches.  To do this, divide the actual length of the gutter (which you have measured in feet) by 10.  The result is the ideal pitch expressed in inches.  This is the ideal distance (in inches) that should exist between the gutters’s high and low ends.

Next, compute the actual difference between the two gutter ends.  You do this by subtracting the high end measurement (which you took from the high end of the gutter) from the low end measurement (which you took from the low end of the gutter, at the downspout side).  The resulting value is the actual difference or actual pitch expressed in inches.  Compare this actual pitch from the ideal pitch that you computed earlier.  If the actual pitch deviates from the ideal pitch by more than half an inch, you may need to have your gutter’s pitch readjusted by a guttering specialist.

Remember to check your rain gutter’s pitch regularly to ensure that your gutter continues to effectively and efficiently perform its important job of redirecting rainwater away from your house’s foundation.


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