Most people don’t give their gutters much thought, but these otherwise subtle structures play a huge role in protecting your house from damage.
An astounding 98% of homes experience some kind of water damage. While it’s not always due to rainwater, that statistic underscores the need to prevent intrusion where possible. By directing rainwater away from your home, gutters are one of the best solutions to prevent leaks and structural damage.
They may seem straightforward, but there are probably more types of gutters than you realize. If your gutters are starting to fail, take a moment to learn about the different options so you can get the perfect setup for your home.
Types of Gutters
Gutters come in a handful of different materials, colors, and styles. Before choosing the look and feel, you have to choose the type of gutter installation that you want. You’ll generally have two choices — sectional or seamless.
Sectional gutters are available at home improvement stores. These kinds of residential gutters are usually sold in 10-foot runs, though you may find them in sections anywhere between 5-50 feet long. They’re available and easy to handle, perfect if you plan on replacing gutters by yourself.
Seamless gutters are the more expensive option because they’re custom-made to fit your home. A rain gutter installer uses a seamless gutter machine to make a continuous run from a long roll of metal, usually aluminum. With one long gutter, there is a smaller chance of leaks, so you’ll generally have fewer maintenance issues.
There are many gutter materials you can use in seamless and sectional varieties. Aluminum is the most popular gutter material, a cheap and weatherproof metal perfect for outdoor use. It’s prone to denting from impacts, but it will still last several years under normal environmental stresses.
Vinyl is another common material, but it’s only available for sectional gutters. You’ll find vinyl styles for all types of outdoor applications, including house siding and fences. It’s weaker than metal, but because of its low cost and resistance to the elements, it makes a perfect solution for a DIY gutter replacement.
More expensive gutter materials include steel, zinc, and copper. These heavy-duty metals can stand up to abuse and impact, and they offer a more stylish look than cheaper options.
There are three gutter shapes — K-style, half-round, and fascia. With an attractive crown molding shape that resists overflowing, these gutters tick off the most boxes when it comes to performance and maintenance. The main concerns are the crevices that can trap debris, which might require more frequent rain gutter service.
The most expensive style, yet arguably the most fashionable, is the fascia shape. These are deeper, smooth-walled gutters that match the height of your fascia boards. They’re incredible at channeling water, but the deep trough can be a chore to clean.
Half-round gutters are just what they sound like, a simple half-circle shape. They offer a traditional look, but compared to fascia and K-style, they are less effective at channeling water. And because of the round shape, they’re also more difficult to attach to a flat fascia board.
Don’t Forget About Your Gutters
Gutters are crucial for preventing the everyday headaches of moisture. By understanding all the different types of gutters, you can choose the best systems to protect your house from damage. Take a peek at your gutters the next time you’re outside, and see what opportunities you have to improve your home.
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