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Can gutters be too small?

 There are many situations in which you should consider replacing your gutters. If they’re falling down, lower in the middle than on the ends, or sticking out away from the house, then they’re damaged and need to be replaced.

But can your gutters be so small that they need to be replaced? The short answer is yes, they can.

In the Oklahoma City metro area, there are many roofs that we consider to be a steep pitch. In other words, the slope of the roof is very steep. And water runs down a steep roof faster than a roof that isn’t as steep.

We find that around 90% of the roofs in the metro area have five-inch gutters. Only a small percentage of them have six-inch gutters. But five inches isn’t big enough to handle a steep roof! You’ll end up with water splashing out or overflowing, causing just as much damage as if your gutters were clogged.

We’ve talked about clogged gutters before on the blog, but the problem is that they cause the soil by your foundation to be washed away, which can cause expensive damage over time. So, you want to be sure your gutters are big enough.

The difference with a bigger gutter is volume of water they can handle and the discharge rate. You’re collecting more water if you have larger gutters, so you also need to be able to discharge more through the downspout off the roof.

That’s why our standard practice is to use a 3 inch by 4 inch downspout, not the smaller 2 inch by 3 inch that is commonly used. The larger downspout carries a lot more water out of the gutter than the smaller option.

If you think your gutters or downspouts might be too small, contact us for a free inspection. We would be happy to come out and take a look!

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