Every home has a gutter system consisting of rain gutters and downspouts, but what do they really do?
When designing your home, including gutters and downspouts is likely not top of mind, but they serve an essential purpose.
Your gutter system (rain gutters and downspouts) will help protect your roof and the exterior of your home from water damage and overall structural damage from heavy rain. The goal of gutters and downspouts is to move water away from your home quickly to avoid ponding or pooling, which can result in significant structural damage to your home’s foundation, and interior water damage and leaks.
There are several material types and styles of quality gutters to choose from for your home. The style and material you select for gutter installation will depend on your budget and your needs.
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- Seamless gutters – Seamless gutters are what their name indicates – manufactured and installed as one seamless system along your roof’s soffit.
- Sectional gutters – Sectional gutters are most common on homes today. Gutters are manufactured (often on-site) and installed in sections, which means there will be several seams along your roof.
- Vinyl gutters – Vinyl is a very popular material type for gutters. It is inexpensive to manufacture and install. More than that, it’s a proven material that can last a long time when well maintained.
- Aluminum gutters – A popular option for gutters is aluminum. It is both durable and long-lasting. Aluminum gutters are often zinc-coated, which makes them resistant to corrosion.
- Steel gutters – The most durable gutter material available is steel. While the most durable, steel is also the heaviest option. If you are considering steel gutters, they are a good investment.
If new gutters are not something you are willing or able to afford, and you don’t enjoy cleaning gutters regularly, gutter guards or gutter covers are a great option. Several different gutter guard options provide added protection, from a simple mesh cover to complete 1- and 2-piece systems. Each is designed to prevent clogged gutters consisting of leaves, tree branches, and overall debris from entering the gutters and clogging the gutters or downspouts, which can result in standing water or water entering your home, including basement flooding.
Depending on the material you choose, gutters and downspouts are available in a wide variety of colors. Your choices should not be limited to white, cream, or mill (shiny metal) finish, but that will depend on where you buy them. A large home improvement store will likely offer less color choice than a company specializing in gutters and downspouts.
Your roofing professional can help you get the color and design you want for your home.
Most gutters can and should last approximately 20 years, so replacement should happen around every 18-20 years. Gutters can last even longer, however, with regular and proper care.
Gutter Cleaning and Maintenance
Regular gutter maintenance such as gutter cleaning and downspout cleaning and repair is the best way to ensure your home maintains its good condition. It is essential to avoid clogged gutters and clogged downspouts by removing debris (including granules from asphalt shingles) from your gutters and downspouts regularly. Many homeowners overlook downspouts, but this is the last resistance area to quickly move water away from your home. Wider downspouts are a great idea if you are looking to replace your gutters and downspouts as they will more quickly move water from the gutters and away from your home.
We recommend regular gutter maintenance as part of your overall home maintenance to ensure your gutter system is functioning as designed to protect your home from unwanted water damage and structural damage.
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