How to Determine Gutter Placement and Hanger Spacing

Looking down a leaf-filled rain gutter.

Determining how to space a gutter hanger when you are fitting new guttering simply requires exact measuring. Some measurements will only be determined by individual circumstance and the unique size and dimensions of your particular project, but there is a kind of formula which can be observed that will help.

Positioning and Placement of Gutter

gutter and downspout

The highest tip of the guttering should gently slope downwards to end at the downspout. The incline should be approximately one inch for every sixteen feet. For especially long gutter runs, of 40 feet or more, the slope (or pitch) should start in the middle, diverting the water to a downspout at each end. This gentle incline will ensure that water stays flowing, and it will help sweep any debris in the gutters toward the downspout. Regular cleaning is still needed to keep your gutters free of blockage, particularly if you have trees around the home.

Most new gutter sections come in lengths of ten feet and it should be placed where there is the maximum chance of rainwater falling from the roof and into the gutter. Space the guttering away from the soffits so that it is not covered by the eaves of the roof or else the rain will be diverted elsewhere, instead of where it belongs.

Do a general "dry" fit of your gutter before adding the hangers so you can get an idea about your best layout. You might even consider checking your local weather forecast to see if there is a rainy day on the way, so you can study how the rainwater travels on your roof.


metal gutter

Ideally, when you install a length of gutter you should think about the climate you live in. For warmer climates, you can hang gutter hangers as close to the center of the gutter, at a spacing of no more than 36 inches, or three feet, apart from the center. For colder climates or climates that have more snow and ice, you should space them so they are able to carry the extra weight for longer periods throughout the season. Halve your maximum distance, placing the gutter hangers no more than 18 inches apart instead.

Consequences of Improper Spacing

When securing your gutter hangers, measure exactly and mark precisely. Accurate spacing for these pieces is of the utmost importance to the functionality of your gutter system. In the event that your placement is wrong, you risk having the gutter sag in certain spots. Rainwater, snow, and ice will collect in these low points, and eventually, the weight will become too much for the hangers to bear. The whole system will detach from the home and all your money and work will go to waste.