Gutters are a small component of the exterior of your home, yet are a vital sidekick to your roof.
The two combined systems, roofing and gutters, help control the flow of rainwater to keep your home as leak-free as possible.
A well-kept gutter system installed around your home is an essential component of good home maintenance.
Gutters also guide the rainwater from your roof to the ground, preventing rain damage to the exterior of your home, preventing ground erosion and protecting your landscaping from getting washed away in heavy rainstorms.
Keeping your gutters in good repair is essential to keeping water from where it shouldn’t be in your home and yard.
Gutter maintenance is best performed during the spring and summer months, checking for debris that has accumulated over the winter and fall, and removing any debris from the gutters.
If gutters have pulled away from your house, this may be changing the flow of water, so make sure you reattach the gutters to make sure they are back to their originally installed position.
Be sure to also plug and patch any holes that may have popped up since your last inspection.
Table of contents
There are four basic materials that gutters are made of:
- Vinyl Gutters
- Steel Gutters
- Aluminum Gutters
- Copper Gutters
Each material varies in price, lifetime durability and ease of installation.
1. Vinyl Gutters
This is the least expensive of gutter materials. These gutters come in various colors that are part of the material. Vinyl gutters won’t chip, corrode or dent, but may become brittle in extreme cold weather.
This material is ideal for do-it-yourself installation and maintenance, as it is lightweight and easy to install.
2. Steel Gutters
Steel is probably the second-least expensive gutter material. It is sturdy and can support a lot of weight without being damaged.
Steel gutters will require the most amount of maintenance and will rust of the water does not drain properly from the gutters.
3. Aluminum Gutters
This rust-proof material is also good for do-it-yourselfers in the segmented version, but also comes in a seamless version that can be installed by a professional.
One problem with aluminum gutters is that if you don’t keep the debris cleared they can dent and bend under the weight, or from high winds and falling objects.
4. Copper Gutters
One of the more decorative gutter materials is copper. The expense is higher than other materials, and can also be attractive to thieves who will resell your gutters as scrap copper.
Copper is durable, with a lifespan of over 75 years. However it requires professional installation and will oxidize over many years, turning a minty green color.
No matter what material of gutter you choose, keeping the gutters clean and debris-free and having the spouts positioned around your house correctly is kind of a big deal.
Cluttered gutters can cause rotting overhangs, damage to siding and ceiling leaks.
Poorly placed spouts causing runoff to go where you don’t want it can cause basement water leaks, bowing walls, damage to landscaping, cracked sidewalks and driveways, water underneath sidewalks and driveways displacing areas of cement, and overall depreciation of home value due to permanent water damage.
Gutters really only need cleaned and to have the debris removed twice a year at most. If you have to deal with situations with your gutters more frequently than that, it might be time to upgrade your gutter system, or look at accessories that may help keep them free from debris and flowing the correct way.