How do your gutters look? No, we’re not talking gutter balls in bowling, but the gutters on your house. If your house currently does not have gutters, read on to find out why this feature is more important than just improving the appearance of your house. And if you do have them, learn why you should keep them clean and in good repair.
Having a good gutter system on your home is important in areas like southeast Texas where strong downpours happen often. Gutters do the job of rerouting rainwater away from your house. This helps protect your siding from rot and mold and keeps moisture away from your windows and doors (preventing rot and mold here, too). This redirected rainwater drains into your grass instead of pouring down on top of your landscaping, keeping your plants safe and allowing your mulch to stay put.
There are three basic types of gutter material – aluminum (most popular), galvalume, and copper. Aluminum gutters are the most widely used because they are versatile, easy to maintain and install, are lightweight and inexpensive. Galvalume is made of steel coated with zinc and aluminum, making it a very strong and long-lasting material, but the cost is about double that of aluminum. Galvalume is great for use in coastal areas where salty sea air can cause corrosion. Copper is the longest-lasting material (up to 150 years!), the most expensive, and also the boldest choice from an aesthetic standpoint. Copper gutters can add lots of detail that other gutters may not, with options like rain chains, decorative hangers, and scuppers.
A couple things to point out about gutter installation…
- Make sure the gutters are installed behind the flashing to prevent water damage. If you do not already have eve strip flashing, consider having it installed with the gutters.
- Ask how the gutters will be mounted – use of hidden hangers instead of spikes (nails) can reduce the potential for cracks in the fascia board as well as allow for adjustments to ensure proper drainage.
- Make sure the downspouts are large enough to handle the water volume – if the water can’t run down fast enough it will pool in the gutters and virtually eliminate the job the gutters do.
Keeping your gutters clear of debris will keep them working properly and prevent them from rusting. This will prolong their lifespan and keep your home looking beautiful from the outside.