Gutter Attachments

Correct spacing and slope are key to successful attachment. To effectively drain water, contractors should install gutters with a slope or pitch that leads gutters toward the downspout. However, gutters with a pitch that is too steep may cause flooding, and gutters sloped the wrong way may cause standing water. Sometimes during installation, contractors will increase the length of the run and install fewer downspouts, which may lead to additional problems. Spacing the attachments too far apart is another shortcut some contractors use. By doing this, contractors save the time needed to install additional gutter hangers and the cost of the hangers themselves. No matter what method is used, if the attachments are placed too far apart, they will not adequately support the weight of the gutter during a heavy rainstorm or when gutters become clogged. Sagging gutters may result. In addition to being aesthetically displeasing, sagging gutters can also lead to leaks and standing water.

The two most common methods of attaching a gutter are the gutter spike method and the hidden hanger method:

Gutter spikes. The traditional method of installation is the gutter spike. The gutter spike method uses long spikes to attach the gutter to the fascia board and, depending on the home construction, to the underlying structural members. The spike is driven through the front of the gutter, through the ferrule tube, the back surface of the gutter, and into the fascia board. The ferrule tube is designed to keep the gutter from collapsing during hammering. Some spikes are smooth, while other spikes have ridges or rings to help prevent the spikes from pulling out. One drawback of the gutter spike method is that the spike heads are visible on the front of the gutter. Over time, smooth gutter spikes may work themselves out of their original holes during temperature changes that cause small expansions and contractions of the gutters. This motion places pressure on the spikes themselves, slowly wiggling them out of the wood. Because of these issues, gutter spike installations are less common today.

Hidden hangers. The newer and more common method of gutter installation is the hidden hanger. The hidden hanger method involves fitting a bracket inside the gutter and screwing it to the fascia board. As the bracket does not penetrate the front edge of the gutter, it is hidden from view.

Drip edge flashing. Drip edge flashing is the flashing that covers the transition point from the sloped roof decking under the shingles to the vertical fascia board. To prevent dripping between the flashing and the gutter as well as associated leaks/stains on the fascia board under the gutters, the drip edge flashing should be lifted so that the back surface of the gutter can be installed behind the drip edge flashing. With proper installation of the gutter, water running down the flashing will run into the gutter and not between the gutter and the fascia board. Water that runs onto the fascia may cause rotting wood and possible leaks.