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The gutter system collects roof water and prevents it from saturating the soil around your home and causing foundation damage.

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Unfortunately, gutters are rather infamous among homeowners. When someone thinks about their gutters, cleaning them is the first thing that comes to mind. This is one of the most disliked house chores, but it has to be done several times a year, or otherwise, gutters will get clogged. Since gutters collect all the water that ends up on the roof during a storm and prevents it from soaking the soil around the home, it is important to make sure they do not get blocked up in any way. If this happens, all the water from the roof will pool up around your home, oversaturate the soil, and eventually damage the foundation and compromise the structural integrity of your property.

If you were wondering about gutter materials or installation, as well as ways to properly maintain these fixtures, here is everything you need to know.


What Is a Gutter?

A gutter is a half-pipe that runs along the eave edges of the roof. It is open at the top so that water from the roof can enter it. The purpose of this fixture is to collect roof water and direct it away from your home. 

There are two types of gutters homeowners usually use, the K and U styles. These gutters can be made from different materials. The exact position of the gutter greatly depends on the roof grading. 

Gutter systems consist of two parts: the pipe that runs horizontally along the roof’s edge and a pipe that is placed vertically and that carries the water to the ground. The latter is called a downspout. If a home would not have a gutter system, large volumes of roof water would end up around the home’s perimeter, soaking the ground and causing damage to the foundation.

Sizing Your Gutters

To drain water properly, gutters have to be the right size. To decide how big your gutters should be, you need to consider several things, such as the size of your roof. Larger roofs collect more water, so they require bigger gutters. Also, you will need to consider what type of climate your area has. If rain and storms are quite frequent, bigger gutters are required. In addition, the roof grade should also be considered. Steeper roofs need bigger gutters.

Gutter Materials

Several materials are often used to make gutters. Naturally, each of them has its upsides and downsides.

Aluminum gutters: If you are looking for an affordable solution, aluminum gutters are the best option. They are light and do not rust, and they will withstand harsh winters. However, aluminum is not a strong material and even a poorly placed ladder or a long tree branch can dent these gutters.

Copper gutters: If the price is no object, copper gutters are always a great choice. They are durable, and if you maintain them properly, they can last a long time.

Vinyl gutters: In case you don’t want to spend a fortune on your gutters but are still looking for a type that can be quickly and easily installed and where you won’t have to worry about rusting, vinyl gutters are for you. These are extremely light and have sections that simply snap together, which is why the installation process doesn’t take long.

Stainless steel gutters: If you want to invest in quality gutters that will last you a lifetime, stainless steel gutters are the best choice. They cannot rust, they are strong and cannot be damaged so easily. However, they do come with a hefty price.

Wood gutters: Although these are not used anymore, you can see them on historical homes.

To sum up, all gutters age well, except wood gutters. However, if you are looking for stronger gutters that won’t get easily damaged by ladders and branches, you will have to invest more money.

Gutter Installation

While some homeowners prefer to install gutters on their own, this is not recommended. Gutters need to be installed by the book, otherwise, they won’t function properly. This is why it is always better to call your local contractors and have them complete this project. They will make sure that the gutters are properly pitched, which means 1/16″ or greater per foot. Contractors will also ensure that the highest part of the gutter is the one that is furthest from the downspouts. By positioning them this way, the water runoff will easily get drained. During the installation, K-style gutters can be screwed to the home, while U-style gutters should be placed in brackets.

Gutter Maintenance and Repairs

If you want your gutters to serve you well, you need to maintain them. About twice a year check your gutters and see if they are loose. Remove all the leaves, dirt, and debris from the gutters so they won’t clog. In addition, to make sure there aren’t any existing clogs, take your garden hose and run water through the pipes. If, like most homeowners, you don’t enjoy cleaning the gutters, invest in gutter guards. This way you will reduce the cleaning process and leaves won’t be able to clog the pipes.

Unless you have invested in stainless steel or copper gutters, your gutters may be dented someplace. Check to see if they have been damaged and if so, replace them as soon as possible.

If you are worried that your gutters and downspouts will freeze during the winter, you could invest in heating elements. These run along the gutters and keep them from freezing.

Just because you have purchased galvanized steel gutters doesn’t mean you don’t ever have to look for signs of corrosion. Sometimes the galvanized coating can wear off and leave the gutters exposed to elements. If your gutters have begun to rust, clean affected areas with several layers of spray finish.

If you want to waterproof your Michigan home and invest in a quality gutter system, contact the expert contractors at FSM today to schedule a free inspection and quote.  

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