Frequently Asked Questions About Gutters
How do rain gutters help protect my home?
A roof alone does not protect the homes structural integrity. The average home typically sheds 28,000,000 cubic inches of rainwater per year and must be channeled away from the roofline to prevent water damage to the hexterior and ground below so it is vital to keeping the rain gutters clog-free at all times. If this rain water is not channeled away correctly it is no different than not having gutters and downspouts. This is why it important to have a gutter system designed to be free-flowing without the potential for backups and clogs allowing for proper expansion and contraction on the home. If rain water runoff is not channeled away or gutters are allowed to clog, it adversely affects the structures integrity affecting the roofline, fascia & soffit, exterior, windows and surrounding landscape, even your foundation.
What Is the Best Gutter Material?
For most homeowners, it’s aluminum. Specifically, seamless aluminum gutters made on-site. Aluminum gutters come in many colors and last for decades without rusting. They provide one of the lowest annual costs of any gutter material. Other options include copper, which lasts the longest of common gutter materials but is among the most expensive, and galvanized steel, which will hold up in almost any weather but requires more maintenance and comes in fewer color options. Of course, if you’re looking for the cheapest option, vinyl is available.
How Many Downspouts Do I Really Need?
Most gutter installers add a downspout about every 20 or 30 feet of gutter, although depending on the slope of your roof and the rooflines, you may need more. In areas with heavy rainfall, your installer may also determine that for optimal flow, you want downspouts on each end of a gutter run – even if it’s only about 20 feet.
What size gutters do I need, and how many downspouts?
5 inch gutters are the most common, and they work with downspouts that are 2 x 3 inches. A 2 x 3 downspouts can carry the average rainfall from 600 sq ft of roof area (a 3 x 4 inch downspout will handle twice the volume or 1200 sq ft, and require the larger 6 in gutters.) A common problem is too few downspouts so when in doubt, add an extra downspout.
What about covered gutters, the kind that leaves do not get in?
These are referred to as “leaf covers” or “gutter guards.” They reduce the frequency you need to clean your gutters (fine silt will always find its way in) but more important, they will prevent clogged gutters and keep the water running freely. As long as the water is draining, the still water that is a breeding ground for mosquitoes will be eliminated and water will not spill over and cause potential problems to your foundation or siding.
How often do you need to clean gutters?
Each house is different, and cleaning is based on the number of trees around your house. With typical coverage, most houses need gutters cleaned twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. If you only have trees on one side of the house, the side without tree coverage may only need to be cleaned once a year. Leaf covers will reduce the frequency of cleaning even further but again, each house is different.