Guttering serves as a first line of defense for any home maintenance system. Every family considers their house an important investment and wants to maintain it in tip-top condition. Well-functioning gutters are as important as a sturdy roof in protecting against water damage. Water may be a friend for the garden, but, as it finds its way into every crack, it can become a house foundation’s worst enemy.
Fastened to the fascia board, all guttering systems provide channels to direct water off the roof and away from a home’s foundation. The water flows into the downspouts where it is directed into the community’s sewer system. Other “green” uses for the run-off include rain barrels for water collection or rain gardens, low lying spots for natural water retention. Without guttering, water drips-or pours-off the roof, creating pooling water that can damage the foundations and lead to leaky basements.
Back splash on the side of the house also can stain or damage the exterior walls while contributing to more moisture dripping into the foundation. Lack of gutters also can lead to soil erosion, ice patches in the winter, and landscape washouts. Guttering is available in several different materials such as aluminum, vinyl and steel. Aluminum and vinyl are less expensive and do not rust. However, they are most vulnerable to damage-denting more easily when branches or ladders lean against them.
Vinyl also breaks down with continuous exposure to UV rays from sunlight. Steel is stronger, but unless it is stainless, it will rust and is also more expensive. Gutters usually are available in standard lengths, but seamless gutters are an option for homeowners to consider. Although more expensive, they can be produced in seamless lengths that fit exact dimensions of a home, minimizing leaks over the life of the gutters. Some manufacturers have the capability to produce these gutters on-site.
No matter what type of guttering system a homeowner chooses, it will not work without maintenance. It need cleaning at least twice a year. The best times for this are after the leaves have dropped in the fall and again in springtime.
Many gutter protection systems that minimize debris in the gutters are on the market. Some consumers opt for these products; opinions on their worth vary. Each homeowner should research the efficacy for their locale and the type of vegetation. Even with guard systems, some gutter cleaning will be needed. Cleaning includes removing the debris, washing down the channels, and snaking the downspouts if needed. The brackets connecting the gutters to the fascia board also should be inspected to make sure that the gutters are still mounted firmly. Poorly functioning gutters can cause as much damage as not having guttering.
If water is overflowing, they need serious attention and cleaning. Homeowners also should make sure that the gutters are mounted correctly so that water flows to the downspout and does not just sit in the gutters. Properly installed, clean gutters can contribute greatly to a homeowner’s ease of mind.