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Gutters

A horizontal length of trough attached beneath the edge of the roof to collect rainwater and snowmelt.

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Everything You Need To Know About Gutters

Gutters are important to the health of the foundation and basement or crawl space yet remain underappreciated in many places. Homeowners only swing to action when rainwater starts pouring down the sides of their exterior walls. If you’re building a new home or renovating yours, now is the best time to learn about gutters and how to maintain them.  

What Is a Gutter?  

A gutter is a half-pipe that is open at the top and its main purpose is to collect the water from the roof and direct it toward the ground, away from the home’s perimeter. Normally, gutters run along the eave edges of the roof. The gutter’s position mainly depends on the roof’s slope.  

Gutter systems have two parts, the pipe that runs along the roof’s edge and the vertical pipes called downspouts that carry the water to the ground. If a home doesn’t have a gutter system, large volumes of water would soak the soil around the home and damage the walls of the house as well as the foundation. 

Types of Gutter Systems 

Gutter systems are available in different shapes, sizes, materials, and prices to suit your needs. Here are the three common styles: 

K-Style Gutters:

They have flat bottoms and backs, and the front usually has a decorative style. K-Style gutters come in 5” and 6” widths. While more costly than half-round gutters, they have twice the capacity. 

Half-Round Gutters:

They resemble tubes that have been cut in half. This type has a smoother interior than K-style gutters, which makes them less prone to corrosion. 

Custom Gutters:

While pricey, these gutters offer a sleek and contemporary look. They’re often made from a long piece of aluminum and don’t leak like the other two types of gutters. 

What Are Gutters Made Of? 

Modern gutters are made from different materials. Let’s look at them briefly. 

Aluminum:

This is a popular gutter material because it’s lightweight and easy to install. Aluminum gutters are rust-resistant too, which makes them suitable for areas with constant downpours and snow. They’re also weatherproof, available in many colors, can be painted, and have a lifespan of up to 25 years. 

Steel:

It is a durable and rust-resistant material. On the downside, steel is heavy and expensive. 

Vinyl:

Another popular option is Vinyl, a lightweight and affordable guttering material. The only problem with it is that it tends to fade when exposed to strong sunlight. 

Zinc:

Similar to copper, zinc is hard-wearing and is adaptable to a range of roof configurations as well as architectural styles. However, it’s expensive. 

Gutter Maintenance and Repairs 

If you want your gutters to serve you well, you need to maintain them. About twice a year check your gutters and see if they are loose. Remove all the leaves, dirt, and debris from the gutters so they won’t clog. In addition, to make sure there aren’t any existing clogs, take your garden hose and run water through the pipes. If, like most homeowners, you don’t enjoy cleaning the gutters, invest in gutter guards. This way you will reduce the cleaning process and leaves won’t be able to clog the pipes. 

Unless you have invested in stainless steel or copper gutters, your gutters may be dented someplace. Check to see if they have been damaged and if so, replace them as soon as possible. 

If you are worried that your gutters and downspouts will freeze during the winter, you could invest in heating elements. These run along the gutters and keep them from freezing. 

Just because you have purchased galvanized steel gutters doesn’t mean you don’t ever have to look for signs of corrosion. Sometimes the galvanized coating can wear off and leave the gutters exposed to elements. If your gutters have begun to rust, clean affected areas with several layers of spray finish. 

If you want to waterproof your home and invest in a quality gutter system, contact the local expert contractors at Groundworks today to schedule a free inspection and quote.   

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