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I have a shed withe following gutter/downspout configuration:

shed diagram brackets side B

The problem at the moment is that there is standing water in all of the gutters. The gutters are not sagging, but they are perfectly level (i.e. no pitch).

Side D is outside of a fence in an alley, while the other sides are in the yard, which is presumably why they went with this configuration??

The question now is how would you reconfigure the gutters to fix the standing water problem? It seems like I'd need to:

  • make side A look like an "A" where the center is highest (of the whole system) and the two corners are lower (by about 1/2")
  • Slope sides C and B down away from A by an additional 1"
  • Slope the corners of D down to the downspouts a little bit, and the center of D down to the downspouts a little bit.

So assuming that is the right approach, this seems like basically a full re-installation? Like I'd have to detach all of the corner joints, then setup A first and follow it all the way around to the downspouts?

Also, can you make an "A" shape with a single gutter piece? Or do you need a joint at the top of the "A"?

  • you only want one direction of slope per gutter (no middle hill). it looks to have slope in the last pic. your gutters are too high: a level set on the roof and hanging over the side shouldn't be able to touch the gutter. cleaning them would help by lowering surface tension that results in pooling. you can slightly bend the pegs to make minor slope adjustments to the front without re-hanging; giving a narrower channel back (and thus "deeper" at a given slop) than the full width of the flat bottom. In short: cleaning and making minor adjustments will go a long way to keeping them draining. – dandavis Aug 12 at 16:01
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    The first step is to clean the debris out of the bottom of the gutter. Even if the gutter is level the accumulation of water will cause it to flow out as long as there is no debris to dam it up. Any residual water remaining afterwards will tend to dry out rather quickly. If the gutter goes downhill against the intended flow then that is another story and a simple solution could be to add another downspout at the lowest spot. – Michael Karas Aug 12 at 16:05
  • @dandavis In this case I'm going to lower much of it, but for the parts that remain too high could I just gutter flashing (under the shingles, into the gutter) to avoid the problem you mention? – David Doria Aug 12 at 20:59
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Yeah, it sounds like you're going to want to basically remove and re-install. The good news is that gutter is actually somewhat flexible, so you'll probably be able to make the adjustments without fully removing all the pieces.

Cleaning the debris from the gutters is definitely a good idea, but it'll accumulate again. If you can get enough slope in the gutters then rainfall might be able to clean some of the debris automatically -- but the shingle sand will always have to be cleaned out manually. Cleaning the gutter before you begin will reduce the weight you have to deal with while working, too.

Yes, you can make an A profile with a middle hill. There are reasons why this is sometimes done but they don't apply on this job. When a gutter is very long or serves a large roof area (ie collects a large volume of water) it can be necessary to divide it into multiple zones. This is the case on my shop building -- it's 51 feet long. With a single slope the gutter would have to hang below the fascia at one end and the collected water would overwhelm the single downspout. Instead that gutter is crowned in the middle and the two ends drop half as much. Where your side A is only 15 feet long this isn't necessary -- but it won't hurt if you want to do it anyway. As I mentioned, gutter is somewhat flexible, so you'll be able to set the center at 1/4 to maybe 3/8 or even 1/2 inch higher than the ends without needing any joint.

Again, because gutter flexes, I think you'll be able to progress from the midpoint of A around the corner and down the B/C sides by unscrewing the hangers some 6-12 feet ahead of where you're working. If you're really lucky you might not even damage the sealant between the corner pieces and the straight sections. If it doesn't work out, complete removal followed by re-install is always an option.

It can be tricky to get the slope of the gutter "just right." Fortunately, it mostly doesn't matter -- just don't make any bellies (low spots). A water level could come in handy. This is a stunningly low-tech, inexpensive, simple tool you can build yourself. It's harder to describe in words than it is to use.. maybe look for a youtube video. You'll need a bucket and a hose. Clear vinyl tubing is great, but if the distance is longer than the amount of clear tubing you're willing to buy, then get a section 10 feet or so and attach it to the end of a garden hose or whatever you already have.

To set up and use the water level:

  1. Secure one end of the hose in the bucket, and position the bucket so it's about eye level. In this case, that would be somewhere near the level of the gutter.
  2. Fill the bucket with water to about 3/4 of capacity.
  3. Fill the hose with water, taking care to purge all air bubbles. Run pressurized water from the end of the hose back into the bucket, or siphon water out of the bucket through the hose.
  4. Move the end of the hose and watch the level of the water through the clear tube. No matter where you take it, the water level in the tube will stay perfectly level with the water level in the bucket.
  5. Take care to not allow any water to drain or spill from the system, nor to move the bucket. All of these will cause the reference level to change, and measurements at the new level can't be compared directly with measurements at the old level.
  6. Fix some kind of measurements to the tube. I like to tape it to a yardstick, but tape or pen marks on the tube work too.

With a bit of math you can work out the relative elevation for any point along the path of the gutters.

  • Ok, sounds like the next step is for me to find a helper :). For side D, does it make sense to just leave it level because the water coming in from C and B will "force" the water into the downspouts? And for side A, you were saying it wasn't necessary to make a high spot in the middle - so you're suggesting to just leave it level? Wouldn't the water just stand any time it is level? – David Doria Aug 12 at 21:03
  • Also, now that I knew what I was looking for I noticed that there is already a drip edge/flashing (inspectapedia.com/roof/Roof_Drip_Edge_Flashing_312_DJFse.jpg). With that there, I can't see the height of the gutters to re-slope them (and trusting the bracket placement seems like a bad idea as there seems to be a lot of slop in that placement). So do I have to remove all of the flashing, re-slope the gutters, then re-install all of the flashing? – David Doria Aug 12 at 21:57
  • Side A could crown in the middle and slope to both ends, or it could be high at one end and low at the other. If you picked to slope only one way, then between B and C one might have to be at a steeper slope than the other to make things work at D, but nobody will ever notice. Don't try to remove the drip edge; it should be nailed under the starter strip of shingles and removing it will make the project much more difficult than necessary. See my edit regarding checking the slope of the gutter. – Greg Hill Aug 13 at 3:58
  • ha that’s a neat level! My concern though is which part of the gutter am I measuring? I would have used the top edge against the building, but it’s blocked by flashing. It seems like everything else can easily be bent well mitre than the tolerances we are working with? – David Doria Aug 13 at 10:13
  • Measure to the bottom of the gutter. That's where the water runs, and it's also the most visible to viewers standing on the ground (not that anybody looks closely at gutters anyway). Don't fret over tiny adjustments; it's probably impossible to get a gutter to drain perfectly without an unreasonably steep slope - and that would be functional but visually objectionable. – Greg Hill Aug 13 at 15:58

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