Do you need home gutters? Why do some homes have gutters and others not? What do gutters do? Are there different types of gutters? Read on to learn the pros and cons to determine if they’re beneficial for your home.
What Gutters Do
Home gutters are long, narrow tubes used to reroute rain that falls on the roof of a home or building. The gutters funnel the water to the downspout on the ground where it’s directed away from the foundation of the home. This keeps the ground immediately around the house from becoming waterlogged and potentially leaking into the basement or causing other damage to the structure as well as surrounding landscaping.
Without gutters, rain runs down the roofline creating a waterfall effect. If the roof has a wide overhang, this may not be too much of a problem for the foundation. But entering and leaving the home without getting wet can be more difficult especially during heavy rains.
The Cons About Gutters
Because gutters are usually left open, they collect more than rainwater. Leaves, yard debris and insects get into gutters as well. Debris hinders water flow, causing water to back up in the gutter and overflowing. Gutter screens can be added to prevent debris from accumulating. Gutters may also become damaged. Ice, tree limbs, animals and even heavy rains may dent gutters, weigh them down so they sag or cause them to pull away from the house.
Consequently, gutters must be maintained regularly and cleaned once or twice a year, depending on your conditions. For instance, large trees near your home could result in more debris accumulating in the gutters. Spring and summer are the best times for maintenance. Use a garden hose to simulate rain and walk around the home to check for leaks or water that is not draining properly.
The Pros About Gutters
While gutter maintenance can be a nuisance, fixing damaged gutters is not difficult or expensive. Holes can be patched and plugged with roofing cement. Sagging or loose gutters can usually be hammered back into place. If gutters are badly damaged, a single section can be replaced. Gutters cost as little as $2.50 per foot, depending on the material used and can be found at your local home center.
Home gutters are most commonly made from vinyl, steel, aluminum or copper. Vinyl is light and strong, but it can become brittle in very cold weather making it more prone to damage from ice or hail. Vinyl gutters may last 10 years or more depending on the thickness and quality of the material. Steel is durable and holds a lot of weight, but it rusts where the finish wears off or becomes damaged. Depending on the coating used on the metal, steel gutters may last from 10 to 50 years.
Aluminum does not rust, but it dents easily compared to other types of gutter material. Aluminum gutters may last 20 to 25 years on average. Copper gutters are beautiful and make a design statement besides their acutal purpose, but expensive. With time, the copper develops a rich patina. Unfortunately, copper gutters can make homes a target for thieves because they are valuable and eye-catching.
Gutters are crucial to prevent damage to your property so getting gutters installed is definitely the best decision you can make for your home.