Rain Gutters:

A Simple Buying Guide

When selecting a gutter system for your home, it can be difficult to choose between all of the different sizes, materials, and styles of gutters that are available. Each variation of gutter provides a unique set of characteristics and advantages, so the best material for your home will depend on your personal needs and preferences. It is always recommended to have a licensed professional complete any installations, cleanings, or repairs, as climbing a ladder and performing these tasks can be dangerous.

Why Does My House Need Rain Gutters?

Many homeowners are surprised to learn just how crucial rain gutters are to a property, as they work to move excess water away from the structural elements of your home. This is important to help prevent damage to the roof, foundation, and structure of your home, as well as preventing soil erosion from damaging your yard. Without gutters, any excess water or moisture would pool around certain areas of your home and may lead to a variety of issues. The easiest way to ensure the structural elements of your home remain sound and free from moisture damage is to have a gutter system installed and to keep it properly maintained. Below you will be able to find more information about the types of gutter systems available and the most common options for materials and hardware.

Rain Gutters: A Simple Overview

To understand gutters and the unique function they complete to move excess water away, it’s important to be familiar with the various hardware and elements of the gutter system. Each piece of the gutter system is crucial to the overall functionality of the materials and works to remove water away from your home quickly and efficiently. Some of the most common components of a gutter system include:

  • Downspouts: Downspouts are available in a variety of sizes and are recommended to be installed every 30 to 40 linear feet of gutter. Downspouts are designed to control water runoff and efficiently move it away from the basement and foundation of your home. They should be properly installed to ensure water is directed away from your home and does not pool near your foundation.
  • End Caps: Simply put, gutter end caps are pieces of material that are added to the end of the gutter to close off the system. The material should match that of the entire gutter system to ensure a proper fit and seal. It’s also important that the inside of the gutter and the endcap are properly sealed with a gutter sealant to prevent leaks and damages to the material.
  • Hangers: Hangers are the pieces of hardware used to fasten your gutter system to the roof of your home to ensure the materials are secure and properly supported. Without these hangers, the weight of water or debris may cause the system to fall down and leave damages to your roof, siding, or fascia. Gutter systems without hangers for support are also more prone to damage from water or excess moisture.
  • Gutter: This is the main component of the gutter system, as it is the long piece of material that is fastened to your roof and home to catch excess water and move it away from your foundation. Gutters are available in a variety of styles, materials, and sizes to meet your specific needs.
  • Mitered Corner: A mitered corner is the piece of hardware that is added at gutter corners to provide extra stability. The mitered corner should be properly sealed and checked often to ensure it is functioning correctly and there are no leaks between the corners and gutter pieces. These corner pieces can help to prevent water overflow from causing damage to your roof or fascia.

Do Gutters Come In Different Sizes and Styles?

There are different styles and sizes of gutters available, each offering a different method of moving excess water away from your home. The most common styles of gutters found on residential homes include:

  • Half Round Gutters: True to the name, half round gutters are a half-round and opened piece of gutter hardware that provides a symmetrical U-style shape. It’s common to see these gutters on historic-style homes due to their sleek appearance. The smooth interior of this style gutter makes it more functional than some other material options.
  • Custom-Built/Fascia Gutters: Custom-built gutters are an excellent option for those looking for a gutter system that will function flawlessly. The materials are crafted specifically for your home’s design, meaning there are fewer joints that need to be secured. This can help minimize the risk of leaks and can improve the overall performance of the gutter system.
  • K-Style Gutters: The K Style gutter system is the most popular choice among homeowners in the country due to its sleek and seamless finish. This type of gutter is less prone to leaking than any other option and is one of the easiest systems to install. They are available in a variety of variations and are incredibly durable.

What Materials Are Used For Gutters?

While each gutter material offers a unique set of pros and cons, it will depend on your preferences as to which is the best option for your home. The most common gutter materials homeowners can choose from include:

  • Aluminum/Seamless Aluminum: One of the most popular materials for gutters, aluminum is available in both standard and seamless variations. This material can carry a higher volume of water than other options, while also providing a lightweight, rust-resistant surface finish.
  • Copper: This material is popular with homeowners due to the incredibly durable material, as well as the ease of maintenance to keep it functioning and looking like new. While the material is eco-friendly, it is often used on historic or very elegant homes to match the aesthetic.
  • Vinyl: Another popular choice, vinyl gutters are easy to install and require no special tools to hang. This means that if you want to complete this as a DIY project, it is possible for homeowners to do it. However, it is recommended to let a professional handle any work on gutters for the second story or higher.
  • Steel: Steel gutters are one of the strongest options available and are popular thanks to the rust-resistant surface of the material. These gutters are great for both warm and cold climates, as they can withstand snow, ice, and even freezing temperatures with no issues.
  • Zinc: Zinc gutters are affordable and long-lasting, which makes the material appealing to many homeowners. A major benefit of zinc is that it is completely recyclable, meaning it is a great choice for the environment.

Contact A Professional For Installations or Repairs

Installing or cleaning gutters can be challenging and dangerous for those who are unfamiliar with the process or uncomfortable climbing ladders to elevated heights. This is especially true if your home is multiple stories high, where the risk of injury increases more if you are new to cleaning or maintaining gutters. Be sure to reach out to a licensed and insured team of professionals for assistance with these tasks because your safety is important.