The Most Common Gutter Installation Mistakes To Avoid

By Gutter Expert Henry Gerbin
Updated On

Are you wondering what the most common gutter installation mistakes are and how to avoid them?

Well, you definitely came to the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • The importance of proper gutter installation
  • Common gutter installation mistakes to avoid
  • Why the mistakes matter and how much they cost
  • How gutter pros can help

And much more!

RGR FEATURED Gutter Installation Mistakes To Avoid

So, if you’re looking for answers on the most common gutter installation mistakes and how to avoid them, keep reading our guide below to learn everything you need to know.

Why Is Proper Rain Gutter Installation Important?

Proper gutter installation is vital for a number of reasons. However, the main reason goes hand in hand with their singular purpose: To reroute water away from your home and prevent water damage.

Although they have a single job, improperly installed gutters can wreak havoc on the rest of your home.

Pooling water can lead to all sorts of costly repairs around your house, including foundation damage, landscaping issues, basement flooding, water damage, and many more expensive damages.

In most cases, it is best to have a professional install your gutters around your home, as they have the experience, training, skills, and tools to do it right.

Enlisting the help of a professional to install new gutters will ensure that you have smoothly functioning gutters that will save time and money in the long run.

Prevention Of Foundation Damage

Poorly performing gutters due to improper installation can have detrimental effects on a home’s foundation. When water pools on the surface near the perimeter of your home, it will begin to seep into the ground next to your foundation.

Over time, the excess water can penetrate the foundation and cause extensive damage.

Water seepage degrades mortar and concrete foundations, which causes stability issues within the house and will likely lead to expensive repairs or even the collapse of your home (but luckily most people notice something is wrong long before this outcome).

You can prevent foundation damage by simply ensuring your gutters and downspouts are guiding the rainwater away from your home. Downspouts should always point away from the house so the water doesn’t pool.

Positioning the downspout outlet down a hill or near a french drain are perfect examples of the correct way to install gutters and downspouts.

Keeps Your Landscaping Nice

Another perk of gutters that are functioning correctly is the preservation of your landscaping. All your beautiful flowers, hostas, and zebra grass are expensive, and take a lot of your time and money to maintain and correctly-installed gutters to help keep them safe.

Regardless of your landscaping plants and features, you have likely spent substantial amounts of time and money creating a beautiful yard. If gutters aren’t correctly installed, rainwater may lead to pitting and erosion as it washes away soil, gravel, and all your hard work and sweat.

In seasons where heavy rain is common, misaligned gutters may fail to divert the water. Instead of shooting water down and away from your home, the gutters may cause you to end up with a landscaping travesty.

Prevents Basement Flooding

Properly installed gutters direct water away from your home. This prevents water pooling around its perimeter and since it doesn’t pool near your home, it doesn’t leak in either. 

If your gutters are misaligned and not installed correctly, water can surround your home. As the water pools, the soil around the home becomes very saturated with water, which increases pressure on the foundation walls.

With constant exposure to moisture, cracks will form and mold will grow. After prolonged exposure to water, these cracks will open wider and grow longer. Then, bam! All it takes is one heavy rainstorm to flood your basement.

If you have gutters that are correctly installed, water will not have the chance to collect near the house’s perimeter. And without the buildup of water, you will avoid the issues altogether.

Which Common Gutter Installation Mistakes Should You Look Out For?

Installing a gutter system is not as simple as it may appear. In fact, it can be very tricky! Getting the gutters sloped correctly, so water flows to the downspout is a skill that comes only from practice.

Plus, knowing what gutters to use on your home is important too. That is why it is vital that you choose the correct gutter size, space gutter hangers at correct intervals, and consider the roof’s pitch.

Incorrect Gutter Size

One of the most common mistakes in gutter installation is using incorrectly sized gutters.

The average gutter is 5 to 6 inches wide. The downspouts are typically 3 to 4 inches in diameter. If you have a “normal” home and live in an area that gets an average amount of rainfall, your gutters are probably within these sizes.

However, you must choose a gutter size appropriate for your home’s roof pitch and the amount of rainfall that your area receives. Roofs with steeper slopes generally need larger sizes, around 7 to 8 inches wide. This is because the rain on steeper roofs rushes down into the gutters faster.

Additionally, if you live in a region with freezing winters and frequent snow, you could have problems with ice dams if your gutters are too small.

Ice dams are a common issue in cold climate areas. They typically occur when snow on the roof melts then refreezes at the edge of the roof.

For the most part, this happens due to poor attic insulation and ventilation, but it can result from water pooling in your gutters because they’re the wrong size, then freezing.

Prevention of ice dams starts with attic insulation and good ventilation, but you also need to ensure that your home’s gutters are large enough.

Installing Gutter Hangers Too Far Apart

Gutter hangers connect the gutters to your fascia boards along your roof and keep them secure and stable. If you install the gutters with hangers at incorrect intervals, you’ll have problems down the road.

When they are spaced too far apart, the gutters could sag between the hangers. Sagging gutters can accumulate water, snow, and ice, leading to even more weight on the hangers already bearing too much load.

This additional weight can cause gutters to sag even more and potentially make the entire gutter, fascia, soffits, and even some shingles come crashing down to the ground with a thud.

Gutter hangers should sit no more than three feet apart from each other.

In areas with winter snow, the gutter hangers should not be any more than two feet apart from each other. The smaller hanger spacing will help accommodate the additional weight of snow and ice in the winter months. Steel gutters, which weigh more, may need closer spacing too.

Not Factoring in Gutter Pitch

Gutter pitch is the angle of your gutter, and it is a vital component to consider when installing them. You need to find the perfect pitch so there is no pooling or overflowing water in your gutters.

You’ll need to get the pitch just right for your home’s gutter system to avoid unwanted problems. All water should easily flow to the end of the gutter.

If the pitch is too steep, you will run the risk of water rushing into the gutter and downspouts, potentially overflowing. If the angle is too low, water might pool in portions of the gutter, which could lead to clogging, corrosion, and excess weight to strain parts of the gutter system.

Why Do These Gutter Installation Mistakes Matter? (And What Will They Cost You?)

Improperly installed gutters will only create expensive problems down the road. Although you might be able to save money doing a DIY gutter installation project yourself, the chances are high that you’ll do something wrong, leading to costly issues in the future.

Even minor mistakes can lead to pooling or overflowing water, which causes unwanted expenses, including foundation damage, landscaping erosion, and basement flooding, among other things.

Foundation Damage

Gutters with a shoddy installation can cause pooling and overflowing water to damage your home’s foundation, which is just as bad as it sounds.

Not only does a damaged foundation lead to other issues around your home, but it is one of the most expensive home repairs.

Cracks in the foundation, which can develop due to prolonged water damage, can multiply and worsen when water freezes in the cracks (water expands as it freezes and widens them).

Usually, foundation repair costs at least $4,000 but can be much greater if there’s significant damage and hydraulic piers are necessary. In that case, you may need to add an extra “zero” to the end of your repair check, as it could cost you $10,000 or more.

Even worse, an unstable foundation can also cause additional damage to the structure of your home. If settling of the foundation happens from water damage, you might notice cracks in the ceiling or walls as a portion of the compromised foundation settles.

Landscaping Erosion

Another of the potential problems we mentioned earlier falls to the landscaping around your home. The countless hours you spent crafting the beautiful landscaping around your home could easily be washed away by overflowing gutters.

If your home’s perimeter has standing water, removal is not inexpensive. On average, it costs around $3,500 to have standing water removed from your property.

If the water erosion caused substantial sloping in your yard, it usually costs around $1,500 to regrade your land.

To replace your landscaping (mulch, plants, flowers, etc.), you’ll have to pay landscapers or buy the materials yourself and get to work.

Professional landscaping usually costs between $350 to $750 for smaller tasks and between $2,000 and $4,000 for larger jobs. However, this is highly dependent on local rates, the amount of work, and the materials you need for your property.

Basement Flooding

Flooding in your basement will obviously cause water damage but could also lead to significant environmental and health issues.

If you get water leaking into your basement, the longer it goes unnoticed, the more likely you will have issues with mold, mildew, and compromised construction. Any areas of the walls and flooring that the water is in contact with may end up overrun by mold.

If you have a finished basement, the damage and repair costs will be more severe than an unfinished basement. Worst of all, it will make your entertainment area or exercise zone completely unusable until the area is thoroughly cleaned and repaired.

To clean up a flooded basement, the national average is about $4,000. However, your repair costs could be as high as $15,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on your location, extent of the damage, if your basement is finished, and the quality of building materials.

If the floors and walls of your basement are severely permeated with mold colonies, mold remediation costs are around $700 to $1,600 on average.

Most mold remediation experts typically charge between $15 to $30 per square foot (depending on your area). If the mold has spread to multiple floors, repair costs will multiply just as fast as the mold.

How Can A Professional Gutter Installer Help?

If you are planning on installing gutters, it is always best to hire a professional. Our gutter pros are well versed in the technicalities of gutters and can determine the best course of action specific to your home.

Hiring our professionals will ensure your safety, save you time and money, and allow you to get customized gutters for your home. Plus, you won’t have to worry about all of those potential issues from improperly installed gutters.

Ensure Your Safety

Gutter installation might look easy on paper, but we assure you, it is not a simple and straightforward task.

It can be a dangerous job, as you will need to be high up on ladders near the roof and rafters while handling power equipment, other tools, and the large aluminum or vinyl gutter sections.

Falling from such a height can be catastrophic, so it is best to leave this task to professionals who have safety training, equipment, and experience.

Save Yourself Time And Money

Correctly installing a gutter system is a time-consuming task, and any mistakes, even a minor pitch issue, may cost you thousands to tens of thousands of dollars later on.

By enlisting our gutter professionals to install your new gutter system, you will save yourself not only time but also future repair costs.

Our seasoned gutter professionals know all the ins and outs of properly installing a gutter system and can do so quickly and efficiently. They’ll complete the job much more efficiently, and you can rest easy knowing a professional handled the installation and did it right the first time.

Customizable Gutters

Choosing the proper size and type of gutters is essential, as is spacing the gutter hangers at the appropriate length of gutter while determining the correct gutter pitch. Our gutter experts can help you choose the best size, style of gutters (such as K-style and half-round gutters), and extra features like gutter guards.

They will ensure correct gutter hanger intervals and pitch to create the most efficient gutter system for your home.

Not only that, our gutter pros can customize gutters precisely to fit your home. They can correctly determine the pitch of your roof and make the proper adjustments in gutter size to compensate for extra water flow.

If you were to do the installation yourself, you would need to pick up the appropriate hardware and gutters, which can turn into a complex and overwhelming home improvement project quickly.

Many hardware stores sell aluminum gutters in sections, which are prone to leaking due to the visible seams between the sections even with gutter sealant. Plus, it is hard to estimate how much and exactly what materials you’ll need without having experience.

Expect multiple trips to the hardware store if you do a DIY project. You’re bound to forget end caps, a caulk gun, tin snips, and other gutter materials.

On the other hand, if you choose our pros to complete the task, they can install seamless gutters for your home. Unlike a do-it-yourself gutter system, seamless gutters rarely separate or leak, allowing you to protect your home and avoid costly issues.

If you need gutter replacement or installation service, give us a call or fill out our form below today.

Meet Your Gutter Expert

Henry Gerbin


Whether your gutters are leaking, broken, or you're just someone considering the purchase of your first set of gutters Henry is here to help. He regularly contributes his thoughts and knowledge with the RegionalGutterRepair readers publishing guides and studies on the latest in gutters.

More Gutter Guides

Request A Free Gutter Service Quote

By submitting your info on this form, you are agreeing to be contacted regarding your service request by means of telephone, email, or text including using pre-recorded or auto dialed phone calls or text messages to the phone number you have provided, including your wireless number, if provided. Consent to contact doesn’t require you to purchase service. Please note you may be matched to one of our trusted partners such as Craft Jack or Angi. By using this service, you agree to our Terms Of Service as well as to Angi Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Fast Free Quotes
All Gutter Types Covered
Punctual Service
Best Pricing
Simple Payment Plans
Clean & Courteous Crew