Even though installing and maintaining the gutter system on your home might not seem like the most exciting home improvement project, it is undoubtedly one of the most important ones. Cleaning and upgrading your gutter system regularly can save you thousands of dollars in the long run by reducing the need for costly repairs.
Gutters and gutter covers prevent water from damaging your home’s roof, ceilings, walls, doors, and foundation. In addition to keeping water out of your house, a properly functioning drainage system prevents staining and rotting of the inside and outside of your dwelling. In simple words, when working properly, gutters stop water from seeping into the walls of your home, which would otherwise cause structural damage and potential health risks. Having the right gutters in place keeps your drainage system functional and free of leaves, sticks, dirt, and other things that could clog it, preventing the above-mentioned complications.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the importance of gutter maintenance and explore the different types of gutters and gutter covers available. We will also teach you how to choose the right gutter system for your home.
A gutter is a channel that runs along the edge of a roof and is designed to collect rainwater and direct it away from the structure. Gutters are typically constructed out of plastic or metal and are fastened to the eaves of the roof. They are an essential component of the drainage system in a house because they help to stop water from wreaking havoc on the foundation and other parts of a building.
Here are some of the purposes of gutters:
- Preventing water damage to a house’s foundation, siding, and roof.
- Channeling rainwater away from the house and into the drainage system.
- Preventing ice build-up that causes leaks.
Common Gutter Materials
Let’s explore some of the common gutter materials that homeowners often consider for gutter use.
Aluminum gutters are a top choice for homeowners and commercial properties nationwide. Gutters made of aluminum are made from corrosion-resistant aluminum sheeting and are available in a wide variety of varnish or paint. Gutters made of aluminum are held together by rivets and sealed with aluminum glue, a special paste, or silicone. Although aluminum does not rust, gutters made of the material are sometimes dented or otherwise damaged because of their lightweight.
Copper gutters are rare and usually found on historical or otherwise distinctive properties. Copper has its benefits and drawbacks, but it fits best with homes with a retro or Victorian aesthetic. Copper gutters are eye-catching and can give a house some character, but they must be cared for regularly to maintain their appearance.
Vinyl is a popular choice for gutters amongst homeowners as it is affordable and readily available in 6 or 12-foot lengths at home improvement stores. However, some conditions should be kept in mind while installing them. Gutters made from this material are subjected to bending and bowing over prolonged periods of heavy rainfall. Vinyl gutters are susceptible to cracking and deterioration in hot, sunny climates.
On the other hand, these gutters never rust or corrode and keep their original color over time. Moreover, if you prefer, you can paint vinyl gutters to align with your home’s visual style.
Steel sheet gutters are a popular choice due to their durability and resistance to damage. They come with a protective coating of zinc, along with plastisol or polyester. These coatings do a great job of keeping corrosion, fading, and physical damage at bay. Steel gutters are known for their long lifespan and suitability for various buildings and roof types.
They are available in a wide range of colors, but working with them may require some expertise. Plastisol-coated gutters can be easily connected using couplings or latches with rubber seals. Special snap-in gutter constructions and wall hooks can also facilitate installation.
Different Gutter Shapes and Sizes
It has been observed over the past few years that the form and dimensions of a gutter influence both its practicality and its overall aesthetic appeal. The following are some of the most frequently encountered gutter sizes and shapes:
K-Style Gutter Designs
These gutters have a flat bottom and back, with a decorative front that resembles the letter K. They are one of the most popular gutter shapes because of their adaptability and capacity to handle enormous volumes of water, meaning they hold up well during heavy rainfall.
People prefer K-style gutters because they are easy to install. They have a flat back that lines up evenly with the fascia board. The front end of K-style gutters is curved like crown molding. It is one of the popular types of gutter systems used for metal roofs.
Top Manufacturers of K-style gutters
- Berger Building Products
- Spectra Metal Industries
Half-round gutters have a semi-circular shape, resembling a tube cut in half lengthwise. They offer a classic and elegant look and are often found in historic or vintage-style homes. When properly installed, half-round gutters take up less room in comparison to other gutter systems, and they are more effective at reducing the amount of water accumulation.
Top Manufacturers of Half-Round gutters
- Gutter King
Fascia gutters are gutter systems integrated into the fascia board of a building that is also referred to as eave gutters. They are perfect for modern homes because they contribute to a clean, uncluttered aesthetic.
Top Manufacturers of Fascia Gutters
- ABC Seamless
- P.J. Fitzpatrick
- All American Gutter Protection
Custom gutters are designed and manufactured to fulfill specific requirements to accommodate unique architectural designs or difficult installations. They can be tailored to fit non-standard rooflines, complex layouts, or specific aesthetic preferences. They offer flexibility in design and functionality but at a higher cost than standard gutter options due to their increased structure and functionality. They can be manufactured in aluminum, copper, vinyl, zinc, and steel variations.
Top Manufacturers of Custom Gutters
- HomeCraft Gutter Protection
- Mr. Handyman
Exploring Gutter Covers
Gutter covers help maintain the effectiveness and longevity of your gutter system. Protecting your gutter system requires regular use of gutter covers, which are also known as gutter guards or screens. They protect your gutters from debris, cut down on maintenance, keep water flowing freely, increase home security, keep pests at bay, and lengthen the life of your gutters.
These covers trap leaves and other debris while reducing the frequency of cleaning gutters. They allow rainwater to flow freely but prevent the flow of large particles that could potentially clog the gutter system. This ensures a consistent water flow, protecting your roof, walls, and foundation from water damage.
Gutter covers help your gutters last longer, preventing debris from clogging them. You can save money on repairs and replacements by avoiding problems like rust and corrosion.
Gutter covers bolster a home’s defenses because they stop water from flooding the foundation and help your gutters last longer. They prevent birds, squirrels, and insects from making your gutters their home, which helps keep your neighborhood pest-free.
Types of Gutter Covers
Gutter screens are installed over gutters to prevent debris from entering while letting rainwater flow through. By filtering out waste, they prevent unwanted material from accumulating in the gutters. This keeps the gutters cleaner and makes cleaning the screens much quicker and easier than cleaning the entire gutter.
The most common gutter screen is a round mesh that attaches to your shingles and covers your gutter. Gutter screens offer a convenient and practical way to keep drains free from debris, ensuring optimal performance and reducing maintenance efforts.
Top manufacturers of Gutter Screens
- A-M Gutter Guard
- Amerimax Home Products
Gutter filters are highly effective for keeping your gutters clean and protected. Unlike traditional gutter guards, it is fully enclosed and doesn’t even give centimeters of space for any debris, including seeds, pine needles, or shingle grit, to enter the gutter. It is mostly used on steep roofs, providing comprehensive gutter protection. They work by utilizing a reverse curve design that uses surface tension to allow water to flow into the gutter channels while preventing debris from getting in.
Gutter brushes are designed to fit perfectly inside the channel of your gutters. They are placed end-to-end along the lengths of the gutters to keep debris like leaves and pine needles out. The brushes act as a barrier, allowing water to flow freely while preventing debris from entering the gutter.
A gutter brush consists of a wire core covered with black polypropylene bristles. It is typically sold in 40-inch lengths and has a diameter of approximately 5 inches.
Top Manufacturers of Gutter Brushes
- Amerimax Home Products
Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards
Micro-mesh gutter guards have very small holes, as small as 50 microns, which prevent even the tiniest forms of debris, like pine needles, from entering your gutter system and causing blockages. These guards are installed on top of your gutters and are either tucked under your roofing shingles or attached to your home’s fascia boards.
Suitable for homeowners who reside in a home surrounded by trees and dislike cleaning their gutters, micro-mesh covers drastically reduce annual maintenance requirements.
Top Manufacturers of Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards
Choosing the Right Gutters and Gutter Covers
You need to consider several important factors to choose the right gutters and gutter covers.
When choosing gutters, it’s important to take into account the following:
Climate and Weather Conditions: Different regions experience different weather patterns, such as heavy rainfall or snowfall. This affects the gutters’ required capacity and longevity.
Roof Size and Pitch: The size and angle of your roof determine the amount of water runoff and the speed at which it flows. You’ll want gutters in the proper size to handle the amount of water your roof sheds.
Budget Considerations: Gutters are available in various materials, each with a different price. It is essential to strike a balance between your budget and the desired quality and durability of a gutter system.
The following factors should be considered when selecting gutter covers:
Leaf and Debris Protection: Gutter covers should effectively prevent leaves, debris, and other particles from entering the gutter system. The design and filtration capabilities of the covers determine their effectiveness.
Maintenance Requirements: Some gutter covers may require regular cleaning or maintenance to ensure proper functionality. Consider the time and effort you’re willing to invest in maintaining the gutter covers.
Aesthetics and Curb Appeal: Gutter covers come in various styles and designs. Consider how the covers will enhance the overall appearance of your home and complement its architectural style.
The Importance of Consulting A Professional
Talking to professionals about installing gutters as well as their gutter covers is a good idea for a number of reasons:
- Professional gutter installers have access to high-quality materials, tools, and techniques along with extensive experience. This guarantees a durable and long-lasting gutter system that can withstand the elements.
- With their skills and knowledge, these professionals make sure you have a seamless gutter system that will last and work well to handle water runoff.
- These experts take into account all of your requirements and needs. The size of your roof, the persistent weather conditions, your financial constraints or budget, and your personal preferences.
- By working with a reputable gutter installation contractor, you can rest easy knowing that your gutter system is in capable hands. This reduces the likelihood of leaks, sagging, and other installation-related issues that could compromise your gutter system’s functionality.
Understanding the different types of gutters and gutter covers is vital for homeowners seeking to protect their homes from water damage and maintain gutter functionality.
If you’re looking to install gutters and downspouts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, feel free to contact McClellands Contracting and Roofing LLC. Our team of experienced contractors will help provide a clear understanding of the various nuances associated with gutters and drainage systems. Call us today at (412) 353-5660.