How to Measure Gutters

How to Measure Gutters

Even with the best maintenance, aging gutters can eventually deteriorate and fail. Poorly performing gutters prevent water from draining as it should, which can result in costly home damage. When it’s time to invest in a new gutter system, you should know how to measure gutters to estimate the cost of the project.

Why Gutters Are Important

Gutter systems were put to the test during the summer of 2018, when much of the East Coast, especially the Mid-Atlantic, saw rainfall up to 300% higher than normal. A properly functioning gutter system catches rain and diverts it away from your home’s roof edge and foundation. This is the biggest reason why gutters are important and why you may need to learn how to measure gutters if yours aren’t up to the task.

Although gutters aren’t required on a house, they offer a cost-effective tool for preventing water damage to your home. Gutters that are damaged or clogged by debris trap water against your roof, causing rot and deterioration of the shingles, soffits and fascia. This water may also make its way into your home, creating ceiling stains from leaks and eventually leave you facing interior and roof repairs or a full roof replacement.

When water isn’t properly diverted away from your home, it can also collect next to the foundation. This standing water can seep into the foundation and find its way into the basement or crawl space. Excess moisture may cause flooding of a finished lower level, weaken the foundation due to erosion and lead to mold growth and many other forms of costly damage.

Measuring Your Gutters

If you’re asking yourself how do you measure gutters, you have several options. Most involve climbing a ladder up to the edge of your roof to get the most accurate results. Keep safe by ensuring the ladder is in good repair and firmly positioned on the ground and against your home before you climb up.

An easy way to measure your gutters requires twine, tape and a pen and paper. Place your ladder at the end of one side of the roof, climb up to the base of the roof, then:

  • Secure the end of your twine with a piece tape at the edge of the roofline
  • Drop the twine to the ground and climb down
  • Move the ladder to the opposite end of the roofline
  • Climb back up with the twine
  • Stretch the line taut without yanking the tape loose at the other end
  • Place the twine at the edge of the roof on this end
  • Mark the twine where it meets the end of the roofline
  • Drop the twine and climb back down
  • Tug on the twine to pull it free from the tape
  • Measure the length of twine between the two points
  • Write down the measurement

Repeat these steps until you’ve measured every side of your home. Add up all the lengths you wrote down to get a total. Add 10% to this total to cover waste and potential errors.

How to Measure Downspouts

A gutter system isn’t complete without downspouts to carry the water down and away from your home. The follow up to your question, how do you measure gutters, should be how do you measure downspouts.

Using your twine, place your ladder next to an existing downspout. Climb up and secure the twine to the top of the downspout with tape. As you climb down, tape the twine along any elbows and bends to measure how much extra material you need at these points.

Calculate how many downspouts you need by including one for each 40-foot straight span of guttering. Add a downspout for each segment of the guttering that turns a corner. Once you have this total, multiply it by the length you calculated for each downspout, and add 5% to allow for waste and potential errors.

Upgrade Gutters for Better Drainage

Whether you’re building a new home, renovating your current home or replacing a defective gutter system, knowing how to measure gutters helps you calculate the cost. If you’re in the market for custom rain gutters, turn to the gutter installation experts at Thompson Creek. Contact us today for a free estimate on our clog-free Thompson Creek Gutter System.

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