Rain gutters are a system of water displacement – their job is to take the rain from your roof, and get it as far away from your house as possible. While it might seem logical that a poor gutter system can cause damage to your roof, it is even more likely that it will cause damage to your basement or foundation instead. It is a key component of a home, and helps to protect from numerous issues, big and small.
Without gutters, every time it rains your the water which lands on your roof will travel down and over the edges of your roof, and collect in the ground around your home. This water saturates the ground, and can cause everything from small leaks and cracks to entire home foundation issues. As you can see, this is a cause for worry.
Do I need new gutters?
Whether or not you really need new gutters is a good question, best answered by a local contractor. However, here are some warning signs that you should consider looking into a new gutter system:
- Your gutters are leaking in one or more places – usually the seams.
- Your gutters have gutter spikes which are beginning to pop out or are missing.
- Your gutters are not carrying water properly, or are leaning in the wrong direction. (Gutters are tilted to control the flow of the water towards the downspouts)
- Your gutters are damaged, falling, hanging, or missing completely.
- You just want some nice, new, shiny gutters to make your home look great.
For most residential homes, a nice safe bet is a 5″ painted aluminum gutter system. In some instances you may want to consider a 6″ gutter, but this is usually considered a commercial gutter and can cost almost twice as much. Also, it would look absolutely huge on most homes. This is something that should be discussed with your local contractor, but again, for the most part you’ll be okay with a 5″ gutter system.
So, you’ve decided to go with a 5″ gutter. Now what? You now have several options to go over, including:
- Spikes or Hangers
- Sectional or Seamless
- Downspout Locations
The color of your gutters can actually be pretty tricky to decide upon. Many aluminum companies offer a diverse selection of colors, so that the gutters can match every home. In fact, at Dunlap Construction we are able to offer about 50 different colors. The twist is that there are multiple versions of the same color. This means that you may be interested in white, and there might not even be a plain “white” available. Instead you may find “Bone White,” “Colonial White,” “Ivory White,” and more.
Regardless, you should find plenty of options in regards to gutter colors. Discuss your choices with your contractor and ask for his or her opinion if you wish, but keep in mind that you’ll be the one who sees these gutters for the next 15 – 20 years. By all means take other people’s opinions into consideration, but make sure that you are happy with your final choice. If available, your contractor may be able to supply you with samples of some of the colors, so be sure to ask.
Spikes or Hangers
The next decision you’ll need to make is whether you want gutter spikes or hidden hangers (sometimes referred to as brackets). These are the items which secure your gutter system to your house. A gutter spike is basically a long nail which is punched through the front and back of the gutter, into the fascia wood behind the gutter. A hidden hanger clips into the inside of the front of the gutter, and uses a screw to go through the back of the gutter into the fascia wood. Hidden hangers are much more secure, a great deal easier to move if needed, and don’t pop out as time passes like gutter spikes do.
Sectional or Seamless
Seamless gutters are often made right in the truck on the job site. Utilizing special machinery and large rolls of aluminum stock, seamless gutters literally roll right off the truck. They are cut into exact length pieces, and then installed right on your home. This is opposed to sectional gutters, which are purchased in pieces from a supplier, then put together on the job site.
Where you decide to put your downspouts can be a tough task, depending on the layout of your home, yard, and driveway. Each section of gutter requires at least one downspout. That means that a 30 foot long section of gutter may have the same single downspout as a 4 foot section.
Also, you need to consider where the downspouts lead to. You want some type of extension at the bottom of each downspout, otherwise the water will still end up right by the base of your house, doing very little to redirect the water. It can be hard though, because what if you have a downspout that comes down at the corner of the attached garage, but there is a cement walkway going around to the backyard. You don’t want a downspout extension laying across the walkway.
You also don’t want water coming out anywhere where you’ll be walking, especially if you live in a place where temperatures go below freezing, such as Michigan. Imagine you have a downspout coming down by the front door, and the extension goes 6′ away from your home. The water that comes out happens to pool up on the cement walkway to your front door. This is an issue in itself. Now imagine that night the temperature goes below freezing, and that pool of water on the walkway freezes. You leave in a rush for work the following morning, and while walking to your car, you slip and stumble on the ice patch! This can be especially dangerous for senior citizens!
And there you have it! You’re now a little bit closer to having a nice, new set of gutters installed on your home. Believe me, they really do look great, and can change the entire appearance of a home. There is nothing like the shiny gloss of new aluminum gutters. Keep this fact in mind if you decide to go with a repair instead of a replacement though. If you leave some of your existing gutter system up, and replace other parts of it, the new parts should look drastically different than the old, and will probably make the old gutters stick out like a sore thumb.
You Might Also Be Interested In: