Do You Need 5″ Gutters or 6″ Gutters?

worker installing gutters on home

Gutters have to catch all the water draining off of your roof and divert it away from your home. Sometimes your gutters aren’t able to keep up with the water being shed from the roof. This often leaves homeowners wondering if upgrading to a bigger gutter is the answer to their watery issues. The answer depends on a few factors; How much water in going into the gutter, how fast the water is going into the gutter, and how much installation would cost.

What Sizes Do Gutters Come In?

Gutters come in several sizes. The current standard for gutter sizes in our area is 5″. Older homes may be equipped with 4″ or even 3″ gutters, however. There are larger sizes ranging from 6″ to even 8″ as well. In this article we will focus on 5″ and 6″. They are the most common in our area. We should also touch on how gutters are measured. They are measured by how wide the top of the gutter is. The gutters are then made to be as comparatively deep as the other sizes. For example, a 5″ gutter would be 3.5″ deep while a 6″ gutter would be 4.5″ deep.

Factors in Choosing a Size for Your Gutters

How much water coming off the roof is easy to determine. It is based on how big the roof is and how much rain we are receiving. Obviously, areas that get torrential downpours will want to have a bigger gutter. That is why 5″ gutters are popular and standard in our area – we get lots of rain compared to other areas where 3″ or 4″ is common.

How fast it is moving is based on the slope (or pitch) or the roof and what the roof is made of. Materials that get really slippery when wet, such as wood, slate, and composite roofs like CeDur, will cause water to move really quickly off of a roof. By having a wider gutter, you lessen the risk of water shooting off the edge of the roof and not getting in the gutters at all. If you have a steep roof, the fast could be travelling so fast, the gutters simply act as a ramp to launch the water out as well! A larger gutter will slow the water down more.

The final factor is the cost. 6″ gutters will cost you 33% more on average per linear foot for the gutter alone! This adds up quickly, especially on larger homes where these gutters could be necessary.

A Note on Gutter Systems

Downspouts are just as important as gutters when it comes to helping water leave the roof. If the downspout is too thin, the water could back up and cause the gutters to overflow. They can also clog with debris from trees, making drainage even more difficult. Hometown Roofing now only uses 3×4″ downspouts on all homes, regardless of if a home is equipped with 5″ or 6″ gutters. We believe this upgrade will help every gutter system work more efficiently.

How your system drains is just as important as the size. For example, if you have an entire house trying to drain to a single downspout, even the largest gutters could struggle to keep water in during a storm. It’s very important that whenever you make a change to your roof that you have your gutter system looked at to make sure it will still work efficiently.

The Final Verdict

Since so many factors go into whether you may need larger gutters, it is always a good idea to have a professional evaluate your current gutter solution. Sometimes changing where a downspout is or even just the slant of one area can make a huge difference. Check out our gutter page to see how we can help you, and give us a call for more info.