Metal roofing has grown in popularity in recent years for several reasons. Not only can a metal roof come in hundreds of colors and textures, accommodating any design style, but it is also longer-lasting and more durable than traditional asphalt shingling. A metal roof can withstand almost any climate - salty air, aggressive hail, heavy snow - and is less susceptible to ice dams and snow.
While it is important to understand the benefits of a metal roof, it is also crucial to know how to maintain your roof to ensure a long and healthy life. One way to do this is installing a gutter system to protect your home and land from water damage.
What exactly are gutters?
Gutters protect your home from water damage by diverting water caused by heavy rain, snow, or ice dams to drains that lead away from your home’s foundation. Poor drainage can cause major damage to your home, so it is important that your gutter system is high quality and regularly maintained. If there are signs of a water leak on your ceiling or roof, ground erosion around your home, or siding damage, it may be time to improve your gutter system or install a new one.
Gutters don’t just protect the roof itself. They also protect your home’s foundation and the area surrounding your home. So, to do their job properly, gutters need to be installed correctly. Since a metal roof is constructed differently than the traditional asphalt system, gutters also need to be installed in a different way.
How to install gutters on a metal roof.
Metal roofing allows both rain and snow to quickly drain off the roof, so it is not unusual to see a metal roof without a gutter system, depending on where you live. Gutters aren’t usually necessary in areas with low rain and snowfall. However, if your area receives moderate to heavy rain and snow, it is crucial to install gutters - even to your metal roof.
For traditional roofing systems, gutters are attached to the roof deck with metal brackets. However, for a metal roof, the gutters need to be attached to the fascia board. This is the long, straight board that runs along the lower edge of the roof. Water slides off metal much faster than asphalt, so the gutters need to be stable enough to catch the water at that rate. Installing the gutters to the fascia board instead of the roof deck will provide that extra support needed. And, for a metal roof, gutters may need extra brackets and hooks to secure them to the fascia board. As an added step, consider also installing a drip edge. This is metal flashing that is designed to protect the fascia board by diverting water away into your gutter.
Attaching gutters to a metal roof can be tricky, so it is very important to contact roofing professionals with experience in metal roofing systems. Your chosen roofing professional will be able to not only correctly install the gutters to better protect your home and its foundation, but also help you decide what material and style of gutter is best for your roof.
Gutters can be made from copper, zinc, aluminum, vinyl, PVC, and even galvanized steel. A roofing professional will decide how much weight your roof’s fascia board can withstand and choose the appropriate material from there.
Common issues with gutters on a metal roof.
For the most part, gutters work well with a metal roof - as long as they are installed correctly and maintained regularly. However, it is always important to learn about any potential downsides. Gutters on a metal roof may be difficult to clean, and if they get too heavy, they can fall off or sag, which hinders their ability to continue draining rainwater. Like any gutter system, they can retain too much water if clogged.
One of the most common problems, though, is called water overshooting. This means that water shoots over the gutter system as it falls rapidly down the side of the roof. You can help prevent this by ensuring an ideal distance of your roof’s overhang. This typically depends on the pitch of your metal roof and your local climate, but most experts recommend an overhang of at least 1 to 1.5 inches.
Are there alternatives to gutters?
There are other options to water drainage if you feel like gutters are not the right option aesthetically for your home. French drains, sometimes called curtain drains or perimeter drains, are trenches filled with gravel and perforated piping that direct groundwater away from your home’s foundation. Consider also drip edges with no gutters, drip paths, or rain dispersal systems instead of gutters.
Another alternative is to adjust the grading of the house itself. This is the slope of the land around your home. Grading adjustment can ensure that water runs away from the foundation toward other drainage points. However, this option can be extensive and costly, as it could mean reworking much of the land around your home.
Installing a gutter system to your metal roof is not a DIY job. Contact a local roofing professional with experience in metal roofs, like the experts here at Hedrick Construction. For more advice on maintaining your home’s roofing system, subscribe to our blog today!