Spring Guide to Choosing the Best Gutters for Your Home
Now that the warmer weather is here, it is time to get outside and inspect your home from all sides to see if there are repairs that should be done while the weather is good for outdoor work. If your gutters are looking worse for the wear and you are starting to notice water damage every time there is a heavy rainfall, then it is probably time to replace your rain gutter system.
Because rain gutters can come in different materials and different configurations, it can be a little nerve-wracking to figure out which rain gutter system is best for your house. Your best bet is to talk to other homeowners who have recently gotten new gutters installed to see what their experiences were, and to seek out the advice of some gutter experts. They can help you understand exactly what you should be looking for and give aid on deciphering any vocabulary you might not be familiar with.
Here are the three best types of gutters for your home:
Vinyl gutters have become one of the most popular choices for gutter systems. Their benefits include the ease of installation and the fact that you never have to worry about them rusting. They are also a more economical choice. Because the pieces are lightweight and easily snap together installation is also a lot easier making it easier for those homeowners who want to do the installation themselves.
The only caveat is that if you live in colder climates, there is the chance that the vinyl can crack over time, and if you don’t install these properly, you may have water pooling in certain sections.
Another popular type of gutter is one made of aluminum. These like the vinyl ones are lightweight and rust-proof and if you are a DIYer, it won’t give you any particular headaches during the installation process. Other pluses with this type of gutters is that it, unlike vinyl, can withstand cold climates and can be painted whatever color will look best with the outside of your house. They also come in seamless models.
One of the concerns, with choosing aluminum gutters, however, is that it can be easily dented or bent from a whack from the ladder or being stepped on by accident. If you are going to go with aluminum gutters make sure they are made of primary aluminum which is of a higher quality and sturdier than if you choose a system made of recycled aluminum.
Aluminum gutters come in different thicknesses an gauges such as .032, .027 and lighter. The best aluminum gutter for heavy snow region is the .032 size.
Stainless Steel Gutters
Vinyl and aluminum gutters are considered two of the best types of gutters because they are cost efficient, meaning that for what they cost, they do their job well. And they are not over the type expensive either. Stainless steel gutters are another great option, but they come with a heftier price tag. These gutters are the sturdiest of the bunch and they won’t rust at all so if you have the extra money to spend it is a good investment.
Copper and wood gutters are two other options out there, but typically they are only popular with architectural purists who have the money to preserve a certain look to their wood. For example, if you own a historic home, to stay true to the original home you will want to choose wood gutters. These will be a big financial investment though.
These are just some tips on finding the best gutters for your home. Besides the material of the gutters, you need to decide between sectional versus seamless and K-Shape or Half-Round shape. If you prefer the seamless model, you are going to have to go with an aluminum gutter system because that is the only type that currently offers a seamless option. In addition, when choosing the shape of the gutters, keep in mind that K-shape gutters carry more water and are more structurally sound than the half-round shape.
With all these options, it can be a bit overwhelming. Remember though that the most important thing is that it does its job moving rainwater quickly and efficiently away from your home. The rest just comes down to the look you prefer and how much you can afford to spend.
One of the last things you will need to consider is whether you are going to have them professionally installed or to do it yourself. If money is a worry, you can definitely save by installing the system yourself, but you need to make sure you know exactly what you are doing and that you are following safety protocols.
Here are some things to avoid if you are going to install the gutter system yourself:
- Avoid choosing the wrong size gutter. Because your gutters need to be able to be large enough to drain away all the rain from your home, finding the right size is crucial. If you go too small, the gutters will only get overloaded in heavy downfalls leading to a lot of water damage to your home.
- Avoid hanging the gutter hangers too far apart. The gutter hangers are the way you mount the gutter system to your home so they need to be spaced properly. If you leave too much space between the hangers, the rain gutters will actually sage causing the water to pool instead of flowing through. If this keeps happening and you have a lot of water pooling in different sections of the gutter system, the extra pressure is going to make the system separate from your home. The rule of thumb is to place the gutter hangers about every three feet or so, unless where you live there is a lot of snow and ice, then every 2 feet is better.
- Don’t ignore the pitch of the rain gutters. The angle at which your rain gutters are hung is an important detail when it comes to a successful installation. Both too much of an angle and not enough of an angle can affect the speed at which the water flows through the system. In this case, moderation is best. Experts recommend that you allow for a ¼ inch slope towards the downspouts for every 10 feet of gutter. The most important thing to remember is that the gutters should never be level.
Besides the gutter system itself, you should also consider purchasing and installing gutter guard, leaf catchers or other products that help you maintain your gutter system with as little hassle as possible. For example, TheSpoutOff are rain gutter outlets that can be easily added to a new gutter system and they are designed with larger openings which prevent leaves and debris from getting clogged up in the gutters. They also make it easier to check on your gutters because it comes with a removable downspout that allows you to inspect the system from the ground instead of having to climb a ladder.