Although they don’t command as much attention as the other parts of your home, you need to recognize just how important your gutters are in keeping your home in good shape.
Gutters direct rainwater runoff away from your house and into your drainage system, thereby protecting your:
- siding and masonry
- windows and doors
Gutter manufacturers understand just how big a role gutters play in protecting your home, which is why they constantly strive to improve their products’ functionality and design. There are a variety of gutter options available on the market today, most of which are categorized according to:
- Material. Gutters can be made out of vinyl, copper, cast iron, aluminum, and stainless steel. Of these, vinyl requires the least maintenance, but stainless steel is considered to be the best buy.
- Profiles. Popular gutter profiles include half-round, box (square), and K-style (ogee).
- Continuity. Gutters are can be either sectional or seamless. Sectional gutters are sold in pieces while seamless gutters are extruded on-site. Seamless gutters cost more, but they are less susceptible to leaks.
Regardless of the type of gutters you have on your home, you can improve their performance and service life by:
- Installing gutter guards. Gutter guards are accessories installed on top of gutters to keep leaves and other debris out. Some types of gutter guards work better than others, so consult a contractor before deciding which type you want to have installed.
- Periodic cleaning. There is no getting around the need to clean your gutters unless you have a good gutter protection system in place. And even then, some gutter guards don’t completely eliminate the need for routine cleaning. Keep in mind that ladder safety is key in gutter cleaning.
- Fast repairs. Gutter problems must be taken care of before they get worse. Some of the most common issues involving gutters are clogging, sagging, leaking, and improper pitching.
It pays to remember, however, that these methods are really just add-ons. If you want your gutters to be functional and to stay functional, you have to be particular about who installs them and how they are installed from the get-go. Here are some of the things you’ll want to ask your contractor:
- Will you provide a written estimate?
- How long will the job take?
- Will my roof interfere with the performance of my gutters (or vice versa)?
- Will your method of installation or the products you use affect my roof’s warranty?
- What kind of gutter maintenance will be needed?
- Do you install gutter covers?
- What does your gutter warranty cover? (Ask for both labor and materials.)
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! A good contractor will be more than happy to address your concerns.
You’ll also want to observe when your contractor does a final static water test on your gutters. As a final note, here’s a very basic reminder: for your protection, work only with a licensed and insured contractor with extensive experience with gutters and a good local reputation.
John Rogers is a passionate roofer and president of Rogers Roofing. He enjoys playing baseball with his sons, and he never misses his daughter’s dance recitals. He also loves helping people, which he hopes to achieve by sharing his experiences in his blog.