Ask John #17: Aluminum Expansion and Contraction in Cold and Hot Weather

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Question:

I have a gutter 90 ft. long and it is kinking in a few places why would that happen it is only 6 month old

John
 

Answer:

With your trough being six months old, it was installed in winter and likely in cold temperature.  Like most material, aluminum will expand and contract under hot and cold conditions respectively. 

Per linear foot a temperature change of 1.8 degrees Celsius can cause an expansion of .0000131".  This does not seem like much but over the length of 90 feet and a temperature change of 28 degrees this works out to approx. 3/4".  With the trough being securely fastened in place this is enough to cause buckling.

Because of this issue, it is recommended not to install trough in extreme temperatures or in lengths longer than 50 feet.  The optimal temperature to install is approximately 15-30 degrees.  For runs where longer than 50 feet is needed it is recommended to install an expansion joist.  This will allow the gutter to expand and contract without buckling.


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