Like a belt holds your pants in place, gutters need something to hold them up, too. Gutter hangers have this role in the gutter anatomy. They support the weight of your gutters and all their contents, but only if they’re spaced right. So, how far apart should you place gutter hangers? That depends on factors like climate, your gutter type, and more.
Gutter Hangers: An Overview
A gutter hanger is a bracket made from materials like steel, aluminum, or copper that is used to attach gutter sections to your home. They are generally attached to the fascia boards, which is the outer band under your roof’s edge. But attachment and installation can differ depending on the architecture of your home.
The main purpose of these hangers is to support the weight of your gutter system, even when gutters are filled with water. Typically, these brackets have a mounting side that screws into the fascia and a support portion that engages the gutter frame.
Hangers bear a lot of weight and come in several different types. Remember that the placement and spacing of these hangers are more crucial than the type of gutter hanger or hanger material you pick. In that, gutter hangers must be installed according to industry standards (we’ll get to that later).
Why Gutter Hanger Spacing Matters
Hangers are an important part of gutter placement for any building structure. Gutter hanger spacing refers to the distance between each hanger attached to the house.
The space between gutter hangers essentially determines the amount of heavy rain your gutter can carry. Proper hanger placement simply ensures that your gutter system can handle weight equal to or maybe even a bit more than its actual weight capacity.
Problems Caused by Bad Spacing
Incorrect space between gutter hangers can seriously damage your gutters and home in the long run. What happens is that the weight of the gutter becomes unevenly distributed, making your gutters unable to carry the load or stay horizontal.
And if you don’t take action and contain or prevent the damage, the fascia board or even the roof itself may crack or crumble along with your gutters.
If spaced far apart, the entire system’s ability to support weight is compromised and causes the gutter sections to sag between two hangers. The sagging part will cause water to overflow and put additional pressure on the gutter that, eventually, causes it to separate from the home.
If spaced too close, it won’t make much of a difference. But it will surely increase the cost as you’ll be spending unnecessarily on brackets that aren’t needed.
A few factors come into play in determining the right spacing distance between two gutter hangers. Let’s take a look:
General Rule of Thumb
A universal rule for spacing gutter hangers, followed by many gutter contractors, is to place the hangers a maximum of three feet apart. Any more distance than this will not offer enough support for the weight of the gutter.
If you plan to hang any items on your rain gutters, install the hangers at least 1 foot apart to decrease the spacing and boost support.
Your gutter hangers must be able to carry the weight of your gutters plus everything in them – water, snow, ice, wet debris, etc.
So how do I know what amount of water, snow, debris, or ice my gutters are going to encounter?
Answer: Your location and the climate!
In warmer climates with little rain, gutters can do well with widely placed (still no more than 3 feet apart) hangers. Homeowners are advised to space gutter hangers every 2 or 3 feet or where the rafters are, close to the center of your gutter system.
With colder climates or rainfall-prone localities, you’d want to install gutter hangers closer together so your gutters can hold additional weight from snow, wet debris, ice, and heavy rainfall. The distance could go from 1.5 to 2 feet between each hanger.
Gutter Hanger Type
6 different types of gutter hangers are available in the market today:
- Bracket Hangers: These are secured to the fascia board of your roof and are amongst the strongest type of hangers. They feature a long screw or spike on the inner side that penetrates half the width of your gutter trough, giving exceptional stability. Brackets typically work well with half-round and K-style gutter profiles.
- Spikes and Ferrules: These hangers include a “spike” or a metal sleeve, tube, or ferrule that goes through the gutter trough to fasten the gutter to the fascia board. These spikes are easy to install and perfect for a DIY project. This hanger style is only suitable for K-style gutters.
- Hidden Hangers: Hidden hangers are not visible from the ground and make a great choice for sleek-looking gutters and homes. A hidden hanger is clipped underneath the front of the gutter and screwed through the back into the fascia. They’re compatible with seamless gutter systems and need a flat fascia for strong support.
- T-Bar or T-Strap Hangers: T-Bar hangers feature a vertical metal strap attached to the middle and are fastened below the shingles. They, too, are not visible from the ground. The structure creates a strong suspension system where the roof strap securely attaches to the roof deck. They do go with all kinds of gutter varieties, but remember that this one needs an expert for entire gutter installation process.
- Exposed Brackets and Straps: This hanger type wraps around the gutter and offers additional strength and flexibility to expand and contract. They are typically used to install half-round gutters and are screwed to the roofline.
- Wrap-around Hangers: This is a cross between an exposed bracket, a strap system, and a T-bar hanger. Wrap-around hangers support your rain gutters from underneath and offer additional strength.
Hanger spacing is different for different gutter types as well. This is because each gutter profile has a different capacity to hold water and snow. So let’s take a quick glance at each type’s spacing suggestions:
- Half-round Gutters: Hangers should go approximately 2 feet apart at the least and no more than that.
- K-style Gutters: Place hangers, preferably hidden gutter hangers, 2 to 3 feet apart.
- Fascia Gutters: Space out gutter hangers no more than 3 feet apart.
- Copper Gutters: Install gutter hangers every 1.5 to 2 feet on centers, since copper gutters are heavier.
It’s always a good idea to read instruction pages that come along with products, even if you’re not a fan of reading. Certain gutter hanger types and companies may have specific suggestions regarding spacing.
It is because of the difference in design, the material of the hangers, their flexibility, etc. So, do check what the manufacturer has to say about the gutter hanger you’re installing.
If you’re having trouble figuring out the kind of gutters or gutter hangers you have, or the weather seems to have no pattern, relax!
Call one of our gutter experts to help you. Our home improvement pros come with years of experience, polished skills, and impressive gutter and roof knowledge to help you space your gutter hangers right.