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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Gutters

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Most likely not the topic of conversation around the breakfast table this morning unless, that is, your gutters are in need of replacement or repair.

Most homeowners never think about the importance of gutters. A structure is easily damaged by heavy rain and water that seeps into crevices along the roofline or the foundation.

Water is also introduced in winter climates when the snow falls. Snow seems light and fluffy and harmless, but when it begins to accumulate, it can cause major issues if the structure under it is not prepared to carry the load.

Once water is introduced, the risk of rot, mold, and termite infestation rises dramatically. A gutter system, in good repair and working properly, is your home’s first defense against water damage.

Types of Gutters:

Materials   Residential gutters are constructed of one of the following materials

  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Copper
  • Wood

Vinyl is lightweight and easy to install yourself. However, be aware the sun will eventually discolor vinyl gutters.

Aluminum gutters are the most popular residential gutters. They come in many colors but can also be painted. A great bonus with aluminum–no rusting.

Steel comes in several grades: galvanized, Galvalume, and stainless. Steal can be painted. This material is heavy and can be difficult for the do-it-yourself project.

Copper adds an artistic flair to the home, and because the cost is substantially higher, it is usually used in restoration projects.

Wood gutters are only used in restoration projects. The wood is usually cedar or hemlock.

Construction Styles of Gutters

You will need to choose the materials for your gutters according to the style of your home, the number of trees in your yard, and the climate in which you live.

LeafGuard Brand is a specialty gutter that includes a built-in cover to keep leaves and any other debris out of the gutter while allowing the water to flow through. It is not an add-on—it’s the design.

You have a choice in the shape of your gutter:

  • Half-round gutters are exactly what it is called, a half circle. This type is usually used in turn-of-the-century architecture.
  • Box gutters are used on commercial structures and can handle large volumes of water.
  • K-style gutters are flat on the bottom and backside, while the front has a decorative shape.

Watch for Trouble

Common gutter troubles that can lead to costly repairs to your home include:

  • The debris that collects and compresses inside the gutter will cause water to back up and flow under the shingles on your roof. It can also cause water to flow over the top of the gutter and pour against the surface of your home. This can cause your basement to flood, allow mold to grow, and can be a fire hazard. Keep your gutters cleaned out so water can flow freely.
  • You run the risk of damaging your gutter if you lean a ladder against it.
  • You cannot control the weather, but storms and trees can damage your gutter system. Inspect your home after every weather experience to make sure your gutters are in top condition.

Be sure you inspect your gutter system and keep it in good repair. Check for holes that may have been caused by rust or branches and debris. Patch any holes you find so the water can flow through the gutter system and away from your home.

Look for leaky joints. As time and weather wear on your gutter system, joints can weaken and fail. Seek and repair.

Watch for sagging gutters. A sagging gutter can cause the water damage mentioned, and it can also come crashing down. The sooner you repair a sagging section the better.

You don’t have to be a contractor or expert on the subject. Contact us when you run into gutter troubles; we can fix what ails your home.

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