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A Homeowner’s Guide to Gutters and Downspouts


When most people think about their home, they think about its paint, trim, and appliances. However, one important aspect of any home is its gutter and downspouts. Having an effective water diversion system is an absolute must to extend the longevity of your house and prevent any massive damage from occurring.

Why Do You Need Them?

It’s essential to realize that gutters and downspouts are not an option for your home. They are an absolute must-have. Gutters are the name given to the long narrow metal or vinyl strips that are adhered to the edges of your roof. Downspouts are the vertical sections that are attached to the gutter and run the whole way down to the ground. Both of these components work together to help control the flow of water from your roof.

Why Are Shingles Not Enough?

Most people are familiar with shingles that get placed in a strategic pattern across the roof of a home. Contrary to what some people may think, shingles don’t make your home waterproof. Their job is to simply allow water to flow under the natural force of gravity down off the roof. While your shingles may extend on the eaves out from your home, that’s not good enough to prevent water damage.

When there’s a gutter installed on your home, the water will roll down the shingles and be diverted directly into the gutter. If your home doesn’t have a gutter at the edge of its roofline, that water will continue to flow down around the edge of the shingle and back in towards your home. Over time, allowing this water to penetrate the surface of your home will lead to water damage and wood rot. This is why it’s so important that a home has a gutter system installed to adequately deal with rainwater and snowmelt.

Gutter Materials

Gutters can be constructed of many different types of materials to help match any exterior home decor. Some of the most common materials used include aluminum, vinyl, galvanized steel, and copper. Both aluminum and vinyl gutters are relatively inexpensive to purchase, lightweight, rust-resistant, and fairly easy to install. The main difference between the two is that aluminum gutters are available in a variety of colors while vinyl gutters are almost exclusively available in white.

Copper is commonly used for homes that would benefit from having a patina look of metal. Most of these homes are of an older, historical style. Since copper is constructed of all metal, it’s going to be more expensive than your aluminum vinyl. It’s also going to be heavier and more prone to coming loose over time. The same holds true for galvanized steel gutters. Galvanized steel is typically only utilized when you’re looking for an oversized gutter to handle much larger roofs.

Gutter Styles

There are three main styles of gutters that you can purchase for your home. These include half-round, box, and K-style gutters. K-style gutters are the most common type that you see in most modern homes. This particular type of gutter has a front edge that is somewhat similar to the crown molding that you will find on more modern-style homes. This is one of the biggest reasons that it’s chosen as it compliments their overall look. K-style gutters are going to be one of the cheaper options on the market today, and they’re relatively easy to install.

You’ll find half-round gutters on more historic or older-style homes. Just like their name suggests, these gutters are simple half-circular pipes with small lips on them. Because of the way they’re designed, this type of gutter requires specific brackets to attach to the side of your home. However, because of their smooth shape, they’re very easy to clean and less likely to clog.

The last style of gutter that we’re going to talk about is the Box style. These are considered oversized gutters that are used for very large homes that will have a large amount of water coming off the roof. Unlike the two other types of gutters that we previously went over, box gutters are attached to the roof by tucking up underneath the shingles for more support.

Gutter Sizes

When you start looking at gutters, you’ll realize that they come in different sizes. The most common sizes that you’ll find are 5 and 6 inches. Most homes will be just fine with having 5-inch gutters installed as they’re a good mixture between affordability and efficiency. Homes that have a bit steeper roof or are in a geographical location that receives a lot of rain throughout the year can benefit from upgrading to 6-inch gutters.

Gutter sizes do range higher from 7 to 10 inches. In most cases, homes won’t need to go any higher than 6 inches unless they have an extremely large roof. Any roofing professional will be able to assess both the pitch and size of your roof and make a recommendation on the best size gutters. In most cases, the 8 to 10 in gutters are reserved for more industrial settings.

Downspout Styles

Just as gutters come in different styles, so do downspouts. It’s vital that you purchase a downspout that matches the specific type of gutter that you have as they’re both meant to work in tandem. Rectangular downspouts are the most commonly used type of downspout for homeowners. These will connect to your K-style gutters. The least common type of downspout style that you’ll see is round. These are typically constructed of copper or steel and used with half-round gutters.

Gutter Maintenance

Throughout the year, it’s common for debris to get stuck inside your gutters. Whether it’s leaves that blow in there or granules that are coming loose from your shingles, they can end up at the bottom of your gutters. You need to take the time to clean out these gutters to help ensure that water is able to flow through them freely. If you don’t regularly maintain your gutters, then they’re just going to become clogged up with debris, and eventually, water won’t be able to drain from them.

It’s recommended that your gutters be cleaned twice a year. You want to aim for the early spring months and the early fall months. If you’re not comfortable cleaning your gutters yourself, you can call in a roofing professional to do the job for you. You’ll want to make sure that you also check the downspouts for any potential debris and make sure that they’re draining correctly.

Gutter Guards

One type of investment that you can make to help reduce the amount of cleaning that you have to do to your gutters is to install gutter guards. These typically consist of some sort of grate system that sits over the gutter that prevents unwanted debris, like leaves, from making its way down into your gutter and clogging it.

Reliable Roofing Services

Quality Roofing offers reliable roofing installation, maintenance, inspection, and repair services for the entire Orlando region. We can also assist with all of your storm damage and roof inspection needs. Contact us today to get one of our roofers on their way to your home.

The post A Homeowner’s Guide to Gutters and Downspouts appeared first on Quality Roofing Solutions.

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