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The Importance of Gutters

May 31 2010

Having a gutter system installed around your home is essential for good maintenance.

The purpose of a gutter system is to help control the flow of rainwater from your roof to the ground to prevent rain damage to your exterior, ground erosion, and to protect your landscaping from being washed away. Gutters can also keep insects from your basement or crawlspaces.

For that reason, it’s important to keep your gutters in good repair and free from leaves and other debris that interrupt the intended disposition of excess rain water and melted snow.

Maintenance and Repair

Over the years, ice, snow, tree limbs, squirrels and other causes can damage gutters or pull them away from your home’s fascia boards. Debris can accumulate, causing water to leak into your attic or between the siding layers of your home.

The best time to check your gutters for damage is during the spring and summer. Either wait for a rain shower and circle your home watching where the flow is correct versus where the flow is stopped up or diverted by leaves and debris, or you can simply spray water on your roof, letting water cascade down to your gutters and then looking for leaks and other problems.

If your gutters pull away from their mounting- it may be as easily as hammering their loose nails back into place. You also might consider taking the old nail out and replacing it with a longer one so that it can get a better grip, or you can move the nail to a stronger area.

To plug holes, buy a tube of roofing cement and a “patch” of the same material  that is much larger than the hole itself. Simply clean the area, and use the roofing cement to connect the two pieces of material, which will solve the problem.

Replacing Gutters

And for as low as $2.50 per lineal foot, gutters can both add value to your home and protect your home from damage.

Typically gutters are available in four basic materials; vinyl, steel, aluminum, and copper-each with their pros and cons for your home.

Vinyl Gutters

• $3 to $5 per foot
• Color fast, the color is part of the material
• Won’t chip, dent or corrode
• However can become brittle and in extreme cold
• Easy and lightweight, ideal for do-it-yourselfers.

Steel Gutters 

• $4 to $8 per foot
• The sturdiest, can support a lot of weight without damage
• They will require the most maintenance
• Can rust if water doesn’t drain properly

Aluminum Gutters

• $6 to $10 a foot
• Aluminum simply won’t rust.
• Can come segmented or seamless, segmented great for do it yourselfers seamless for professional installation.
• Can dent and bend under weight or powerful winds and falling debris.

Copper Gutters

• Attractive and durable material
• Starts at $15 per square foot,
• Life span of over 75 years
• Will oxidize over many years to an attractive minty green color. Requires professional installation.
• A target for thieves, copper can be traded for cash, so make sure copper gutters are protected by a security system.

Overall the choice of material is yours, depending on your needs, budget and location. The more expensive material you choose, the more value gutters can add when putting your home on the market, according to rainmanraingutters.com. But whether you choose vinyl or copper, you will still reap the benefits of protecting your home and landscaping from the elements.