Understanding the Types and Importance of Gutters

There’s a variety of gutter material to choose from; aluminium, galvanized steel, vinyl, copper and wood. Of course the prices may vary per linear feet but the quoted price must include all the necessary components including the gutter itself. Home owners must ensure that the installation must include the vertical section called downspouts, corner joints, end caps and hanging brackets.


Material & Pricing

To start off, Aluminium is currently the most on-demand gutter material due to its affordability, durable and it’s also ease-handling. It also has a range of colours to match the home’s landscape and design and it doesn’t rust easily compared to steel. As for pricing, home owners can expect a range between $3-6 per linear foot and it includes installation.

Steel is also a customer favorite especially in extreme weather regions such as regions that experience heavy rain or snow. Withstanding the extreme weather proves the material’s durability and strength. However, galvanized steel will eventually rust after 20 to 25 years. Steel costs a bit higher than aluminium which ranges from $8-10 per linear foot but as for stainless steel, it could go up to $20 per linear foot.

Going up to the gutter high-end market, there’s Copper. It can withstand any weather in any region, plus it complements the home’s landscapes with its malleability. According to Mike Millman, one of the partners of Raintrade Corporation said that copper is one of the strongest metals. This material has a price range between $12-25 per linear feet. The fall back of this material is the color will change as it age due to element exposure. Millman also adds that, “a copper gutter system will only stay shiny for the first month or two. It will turn brown, dark brown, purple, and eventually a greenish color. Home owners need to expect these changes”.

However, there is a cheap option that home owners can adopt which is ease-handling, making it suitable for DIY installations. Vinyl is very easy to cut, assembles easily and has a high availability of its component parts. This could be found in any home stores for $3 to $5 per linear foot, but unfortunately, this material could not withstand in colder climates as it will brittle and break. The ease-handling feature also makes it less durable and weaker compared to other gutter materials.

The Next Step

After choosing a material that is suitable for your home and region’s weather condition, the next step is to choose a gutter shape which is either half-round or K-style. Half-round or also known as U-shaped gutters were used since the early 1900 and K-style made its appearance in the 1950s. The evolution of gutter shapes is the space used to drain water, which means a small K-Style gutter shape could drain the same amount of water as a large half-round gutter shape. To add some extra information, a downspout also has two shapes which are either round or rectangular.

Next, home owners have to determine the size of gutter which is the measurement from the top opening and its thickness. The length, width and height of downspout size has to be measured as well. Normally, gutter sizes are 5 or 6 inches long but 4 inches are also available. Downspouts also has a variety of sizes such as 2X3 inches or 3X4 inches and diameters of 3 to 4 inches.

All of these information might overwhelm the home owners but before choosing the appropriate size for your home, the region’s rainfall density must be considered. Don’t worry, this sort of information is available online, typically in gutter supply websites. Large gutter systems are more suitable for homes in wet areas and also homes that are surrounded by tall trees to avoid clogging by fallen leaves.

As for thickness, it has different rates depending on the material chosen. For example, aluminium has a range of thickness between .019 inches to .032 inches. Copper rates its thickness by weight, where the heavier it is, the thicker the material. As for steel, it’s usually rated in inch-thickness or gauge. Naturally, a thicker gutter system is tougher, more durable and it costs more.

The final decision that a home owner has to make is choosing between a sectional or seamless system. A traditional sectional gutter system had to be pieced together which leaves seams but now, aluminium sectional gutter systems requires a gutter sealant to avoid leakage but the sealant has to re-applied often as regular maintenance. However, installers may solder copper or steel together at the seams, making the sealant being unnecessary. But some installers will still use a metal sealant rather than soldering. But nowadays, there is seamless systems as an alternative where a special machine will be used to form long stretch of copper or aluminium gutter that runs the length of roofline without a seam and it can only be installed by a professional installer.

Perfect Pitch

It’s important for gutters to be pitched to ensure the water flows down to the downspouts where the thumb for this slope must be a vertical half inch for every 10 feet of horizontal run. For gutters that are more than 30 feet long, installing a high point of the system in the middle and make the gutter slope downwards in both direction to downspouts on both ends of the run will be recommended. Not to forget that the water from the downspout must be exited away from the foundation.

Making Gutters Look Good

Gutter accessories has made an appearance and taking the gutter industry by storm! Add-ons such as screens, barriers and others could be found in the market to avoid foreign objects getting stuck in the gutter. But before buying these accessories, home owners have to consider the leftover debris made by these accessories in or even on the gutter. “Home owners will want to consider everything from the number of trees to the types of leaves. Will there be whirlybirds, or pine needles?” Millman advised.

Products that have two features or more such as a product combination of solid hoods and screens are available in the market and there are also tons of foam products such as GutterFill and Gutter Stuff. The specialty of foam products is that it fills the length of the gutter which helps the water to flow through while keeping solid objects out. Other products like splash blocks that is placed on the ground. This add-on guides the water away from the foundation. “Rain-chain” could also be an alternative to the traditional downspouts that has the Japanese-themed decorative chains and to make the gutter system more appealing, there are also a range of “rain-chain” design to choose from that suits your home’s landscape design and structure.

Want to know which type of gutter would be good for your home? Call TJR Construction today at  1-800-766-3514

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