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Oxymoron 02-10-2010 06:45 PM

Seamless aluminum gutters in north New Hampshire?
While finishing our basement I discovered some early stage water damage from roof water flow....rain flow onto decks with no gutters. I have a quote for seamless aluminum gutters that is very reasonable...but was told by a local builder that snow and ice will rip them off of the house....which I think sounds a bit like a generalized exageration.

SO, I am a bit at a loss. My initial thoughts are to gutter it and continue to rake the edges of the roof as is practice in these parts [as things do not generally melt from November through April here ]....any thing else I should consider? I have some icing on eave overhangs but no icedams. The entire roof has been protected before shingling with ice and water shield wrapped under the drip hopefully no water back up issues at the eaves...

Grumpy 02-10-2010 07:30 PM

I don't know what yoru snow loads are, but I have a foot of snow on my roof as I type. It all fell last night within a period of less than 24 hours. That's about 1/2" per hour. While not a record setter, it's still a lot of snow. I didn't get a single call from any of my customers that the gutters fell off. When gutters are properly installed they will stay up for a very long time.

By properly installed I mean that enough downspouts are installed to handle the load of the water, laves and melted snow. Please consider 3x4 oversized downspouts. Also dpending on the size and shape of your roof you might also consider 6" oversized gutter instead of 5", but honestly in most cases 6" is overkill.

So what else is there to a proper installation? well if you ask a specialized gutter installer instead of a builder/handy man he will tell you. The brackets should be evenly spaced with the rafters, and each gutter bracket should be fastened through the fascia board into the rafter tail. This is by far the most commonly overlooked short cut that, yes, if not done properly the gutters can fall off. Every winter we do numerous jobs repalcing gutters that fell off and each and every time it's installation related. Also a gutter flashing is a must. This will prevent your fascia board from rottting and water backing up inside the building and/or overhang.

Raking the edge can't hurt but why rake? If the roof and gutters are properly installed there is no need to rake. if you are having the ice and water intrude into the interior, then you havea problem and raking is curing the symptom, not the problem. From your description, it sounds like the roofer did it right and raking the roof is nothing more than exercise for you or maybe an excuse to get away from a crying baby or something.

Let's talk about gutter fasteners for a moment. I just did a repair job where 28' of gutter fell off. Upon my inspection I saw that the brackets were spaced 3' apart, the screws were interior drywall screws, and the gutter was a cheap .027 (get a .032 if you care about your gutters). The gutters fell off because the fasteners rusted and couldn't bear the load of the snow and ice... but also because they were 3' apart and fastened into the fascia board instead of through the fascia board and into the rafter tails.

Speaking of crying baby, sorry i did not proof read and correct my typos because I have my own crying baby to deal with right now. And people wonder why I am Grumpy....

Oxymoron 02-10-2010 08:03 PM

Amazing how the snow has fallen this year....last year we had 14 feet....this year just a foot!

Thanks so much for your detailed reply....I really like to know what I'm doing before I do it!

So, the seamless gutter quote is for .32 gutter with a 2x3 downspout system and a 'hidden hanger system"...the definition of which I am unsure about...

My house has aluminum fasia trim and heavy aluminum drip edge. I'm not sure what you refer to when you say gutter flashing....Does my aluminum fasia trim constitute flashing????

I will add the downspouts you suggest....should I spec any thing else in my contract...spacing of fasteneres etc???

Thanks so much for your help and knowledge! [And good luck with the crying!!!!!]

Grumpy 02-11-2010 08:57 AM

The flashing would be in lieu of the drip dge. If you already have a drip edge, leave it alone. Hopefully it has a 2" face, not 1 1/2" but it can be made to work.

The hidden hanger is a hanger that you can not see from the ground. AKA bracket. If you go to this page on my site, the picture at the center column top row is a hidden hanger. fastener/bracket spacing should not exceed 24", 16" might be better, but remember the fasteners should penetrate THROUGH the fascia board and into the rafter tails. Therefore in a perfect world the spacing of the brackets will be dictated by the spacing of the rafters. Fasteners should be non corrosive exterior rated screws or screw shank nails.

Question. Is your fascia perfectly vertical, or is it on an angle? I find many houses designed not to have gutters have an angular fascia. If so, this adds a step to the process to get the gutters installed properly. Basically you have to trick the gutter into thinking the fascia is vertical. There are a few ways of accomplishing this. However if the fascia is straight up and down, there is no need.

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