Do Fascia Gutters have to be installed over the top of fascia boards?

Gutter with Fascia
Gutter Without Fascia
No! They call them Fascia Gutters because they can act as a fascia board. The reason for installing fascia boards is to cover the ends of the rafter tails, that are either 2x4's or 2x6's, which are part of the roof's structure. Fascia Gutters have a deep bottom with a tall back, which allows the gutter to completely cover the ends of the rafter tails. OGee Gutters and half round gutters are only 3-1/2 inches deep which does not cover all of the rafter ends. This exposes the ends of the rafter tails, which can then lead to dry-rot over time. OGee Gutters should only be installed over fascia boards. Fascia Gutters can be installed with or without fascia boards.

Are there other reasons why Ogee gutters should only be installed with fascia boards?

Tape Measure in the Gap

Besides having the ends of the rafter tails exposed because the Ogee Gutter is too small to completely cover them, they also don't have a wing which completely covers the edge of the roof. So looking at the gutters from the backside you will be able to see the top back part of the gutter, with another piece of flashing over the top. If any slope is added to the gutter, this will intensify the negative appeal from the backside. Looking at the picture of Ogee Gutter attached without fascia boards you can only imagine what it would look like from the ground on the backside.

What are the most common gutter failures and what causes them?

Clogged Gutters

gb1

The most common reasons gutters will fail are clogged drain holes, gutters without a wing installed without flashing, weak gutter support attachments, not enough downspouts or wrong downspout locations. When gutters become clogged with leaves, dirt or pine needles just about any type of gutter will fail no matter how it was installed. Installing gutter guards in areas that are under trees will help keep drain holes from clogging up. Also the size of the drain outlet used by the installer. A lot of gutter installers will use a 2 inch round outlet for a 2-inch x 3-inch downspout. Thats like installing a garden hose in the middle of a firefighters hose. Action Rain Gutters uses a 2 x 3 punch which punches a hole in the bottom of the gutter thats the same size of the downspout. This allows more water and larger debris to pass through from the gutter to the downspout. When installing gutters without a wing, the gutter must be flashed with metal to keep water from dripping down the backside and down the fascia boards. Although this is not a water tight seal. If gutters without a wing fill with water, odds are water will be coming down the back of the gutter even if it is flashed. The only way to prevent this is by installing gutters with a wing. These gutters have the gutter and flashing all in one, eliminating the potential of water getting behind the gutter.

Should all gutters be installed with a slope to drain?

Gutter Wing

No! All gutter styles don't play by the same rules. Fascia Gutters have a wing that lays on top of the roof plywood deck and under the roofing paper and shingles. This wing must lay as flat as possible as to not hold up the roofing. Since fascia gutters are also the fascia boards, they need to be straight and plum as possible with the roofline. It would be like installing new fascia boards with a slope. Your house would look like the foundation is sinking. Fascia Gutters should be installed as level as possible just as if you were installing fascia boards.

Which gutters can be installed with a slope?

Ogee Gutters, Half Round Gutters and Box Gutters do not come with a wing, so they can be hung at a slight pitch for drainage. The bad thing about not having a wing is if the gutter becomes clogged and fills with water, water will make its way through the flashing and it will overflow the backside of the gutter, draining back on the home's structure.

Why do some DIY builders say gutters without a slope are installed incorrectly?

Fascia Gutters are only installed on the west coast. Which means the rest of the world most likely have never heard of them. Other states mostly install Ogee Gutters which is the gutter the article is referencing. Finding a website that talks about Fascia Gutters is rather difficult to find, but there are some. If the DIY builder websites is talking about sloping gutters, then its a gutter without a wing. Those who insist all gutters must be sloped for drainage, obviously have never worked with or installed Fascia Gutters. Most have never heard of a gutter with a wing.

Will my gutters drain if they are not sloped?

Absolutely! Fascia Gutters that are installed level and plum with the roofline will drain just fine. There is normally a downspout installed every 30 feet to allow for drainage. The water amount that will remain in the gutters is no more than the water puddles left on the ground after it has rained. When the ground has dried up so do the gutters. If the homes roofline is not level and plum, downspout locations can be changed or added to the lowest point of the gutter run.

Can too much slope be bad?

Bad Gutter Install

In the picture you can see an example of what happens when the installer gets a little crazy with the slope of the gutters. Gutter sloping only needs to be 1/4 inch per 10 feet. This gutter looks to be over 1 inch per 10 feet. It's sloped so much the flashing or drip edge is no longer covering the back of the gutter. The red chalkline is even more scary... it means they meant to do it. A piece of flat stock will need to be installed under the roof flashing and into the gutter to prevent water from running behind the gutter. Or better yet, raise the gutter up to a 1/4 inch per 10 feet. The flashing installed in the picture is 1-1/2" x 1-1/2", if the gutter is all the way up under the flashing at one end and 1 inch lower than the flashing at the other, thats a 2-1/2 inch drop. Which is enough slope for a 100 foot run of gutter, 1 inch drop per 40 feet. Also notice the gutter continues to drop even after passing the downspout. Hope there is another downspout at the other end.

Final Thoughts?

Having a drainage system that keeps water away from the structures wood and foundation is the key. As all gutter systems should function with the quick removal of this water as to not be overrun with its capabilities to handle whatever mother nature throws at it. When you are dealing with a small 3 inch style ogee gutter having a good slope helps this small size not to be overrun in a heavy downpour and doesnt affect its curb appeal. Whereas when you increase the size of the rain gutter to a 5-1/4 inch Fascia Gutter any extreme slope will greatly amplify the negative look of the homes curb appeal, while only offering small improvements of water removal of the drainage system.

I believe when using a larger Fascia Gutter which can hold twice the amount of water as an Ogee Gutter, the importance of gutter sloping is more overrated and can even have negative effects. Finding that midway point between function and appeal should be the installers main concern. As everyone may have differences of opinion on which is more important, its a good idea to voice your opinions with your installer before they begin, so they can give you the installation you are looking for.

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