External house gutters are available today made of both aluminum and vinyl materials. Gutters intended to catch rain water often become clogged with debris or filled with ice and snow in the Northern climates and quickly fail their anchors.
Aluminum gutters are fastened by one of three means. Gutter spikes and ferrules, internal snap in clips using screws or surface nailed brackets. Gutter spikes and ferrules (tubes) are the most commonly used method. Spikes with heads matching the gutter color are driven through the font edge of the gutter, pass through a ferrule inside the gutter itself and then exit the back of the gutter into the fascia board.
If the fascia board is in good condition it will support a great deal of gutter weight. You will find the many installation instructions say to space the spikes four feet apart but I find two foot spacing is far better. All corners and ends must have a spike as close to the end as possible. Leaves, pine needles, shingle materials and just plain old airborne dirt can quickly add pounds and pounds of extra weight to a gutter. Add rain or ice and the spikes get even more stressed.
When installing the gutter make sure you have enough slope to the down spout outlets to assure good drainage. You do not want water just laying in the gutter. Spikes work themselves loose over time so a yearly checkup to reset them is necessary.
Internal brackets with screws are a far better method although slightly more expensive at install.
These brackets are not colored coded as they are not visible when installed inside the gutter. The internal brackets snap into the inside of the gutter fitting into the angles of the gutter itself. Each bracket has a long screw which is then screwed into the fascia. Advantages are both a neater finished appearance and screws do not come loose making the amount of yearly upkeep far less.
Again install them closer together than four feet making sure all corners and down spouts areas are supported. Aluminum gutters can be made almost any length with a roll out gutter machine that a crew can handle. I have seen gutters made in one piece a hundred feet long.
Since they are very lightweight, four of five people can handle them into place for installation. Gutters of this length will have multiple down spout outlets and each must be supported at the outlet as well as the regular spacing. If your fascia board is of poor quality spikes and screw brackets simply will not hold in place.
The third and least visually desirable method of gutter install is roof brackets. These are an external bracket that wraps around the outside of the gutter, have a clip to snap shut and lock around the gutter and a protruding tab that gets nailed onto the surface of the roof shingles above.
In my opinion, their appearance detracts from a homes appearance. More importantly, by nailing through the shingles you introduce a point of leakage with each nail. Even when each roofing nail head is caulked, weather conditions and the sun’s UV rays will eventually make the caulk fail thereby exposing the nail head to water. Avoid this type if at all possible.
Vinyl gutters are generally used only in short ten foot sections over exit doors or canopies. Vinyl gutters have their own types of supports ranging from brackets, mounting bars or hanging clips.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully with these types.