How to Check the Pitch of Rain Gutters

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For rain gutters to smoothly and effectively funnel rainwater into a downspout and away from a structure, they must be pitched properly. While many guttering problems are related to clogs, leaks and corrosion, improper pitch can have just as significant an effect on gutter performance while being undetectable to the naked eye. If you want to see if your gutters are pitched properly, take the following measurements and get ready for some simple math.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Ladder
  • Set up a ladder against your home's exterior so that you will be able to take measurements along the eaves of the roof, where the gutter is. Start by setting up the ladder near the corner of the house opposite the gutter downspout.

  • Measure the length of the gutter. There are two ways of doing this: You can climb the ladder, extend your measuring tape and slide it along the roof or gutter to get your measurement. But you can also stay on the ground and simply lay out your measuring tape on the ground as you slowly walk the length of the guttered side of the house. If you use the latter method, be sure to look up to make sure the ends of the tape are lined up with the ends of the gutters. Don't worry about measuring to the exact inch; you can round off your measurements to the nearest foot.

  • Climb the ladder on the side of the house opposite the downspout. At the top of the ladder, measure the distance between the eave of the roof and the top of the gutter. Then climb back down.

  • Move the ladder to the side of the house with the downspout. Climb up and measure the distance between the roof's eave and the top of the gutter on this side.

  • Divide the length of the gutter, in feet, by 10. Your result is the ideal difference of the length, in inches, that you should have between the high end of the gutter and the low end of the gutter.

  • Subtract the distance in inches between the high end of the gutter and the roof eave from the distance in inches between the low end of the gutter and the roof eave. This is the actual difference, in inches, between the two gutter ends. If the pitch is off its ideal angle by more than half an inch, you may want to consider contacting a guttering specialist to make repairs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pitch can be affected greatly by settling home foundations. Accumulation of ice in your gutters during the winter can also put strain on gutters, bending the bracket hardware and affecting the pitch.
  • Be extraordinarily careful when climbing exterior ladders.
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