Five Things to Know About Roof Gutters
They’re not usually the first thing you notice upon arrival, but gutters are nothing to overlook when it comes to home maintenance. The function of gutters is to divert buildup of precipitation and debris from the roof and into certain areas in the ground around the home to prevent mold, breakdown, and other dangers to the foundation of a house. Here are 5 things to know about choosing gutters so your home stays in tip-top shape.
Know what type of material would fit best with your aesthetic and your home. A good rule of thumb is to choose the most durable material you can afford to avoid having to repair the damages from failed gutters. For more of a budget material, vinyl is inexpensive but will break down over time, whereas aluminum is slightly more durable, won’t rust, and is the most popular option for a modest budget. Galvanized steel or copper will give you the most durability for the longest amount of time and also provide the best look.
Playing off what materials you chose, whether traditional or more ornamental, next it is important to be familiar with the design of your home’s gutters. Are they seamless or sectional? K-Style or Half Round? Downspouts are also involved in this process, and a good rule of thumb is to place one for each 40 feet of gutter. The design you choose must be conducive to the slope of your roof, the shape of your home, and the direction you are sending water and debris.
It’s best to be prepared for the worst, so when choosing gutters for your home, research the maximum yearly precipitation in your area. Also consider how strong the winds can get in your area, the steepness of your roof, and surrounding trees to determine how much reinforcement your gutters need and how to best care for them. Homes in areas with more precipitation or harsher storms will do better with wider gutters, whereas somewhere that has little rainfall will do fine with thinner, smaller gutters.
If you are comfortable with ladders and engineering, a gutter installation could be easy afternoon task. After laying out your design, drilling holes for the downspouts, and adding any end caps, you are ready to install the gutters. Be sure to fix the gutters to stable, architectural support pieces to avoid sagging or environmental challenges that could end up damaging not only the gutters, but the foundation of your home by way of flooding. Always give a slight slope towards the downspouts for most effective water removal.
When considering maintenance for gutters, think about their main function – direct water to specific areas and away from the roof. Check your gutters a couple times a season for backlogging of leaves, snow, or ice. If you have found an ice dam build-up, there are plenty of tools at your local hardware store to assist you, or stuff a stocking or pantyhose with de-icer and lay it on top of the gutter system and periodically move it as needed. If you want to avoid more maintenance, consider purchasing ‘gutter helmets’ or caps to prevent debris from clogging your flow.
These simple choices can make a big difference when it comes to maintaining the health of your home. The best method is to keep it simple, calculated, and get professional help when needed. Your home will benefit from choosing wisely.