Gutters run along the roofs of homes and buildings. Together with their downspouts, they catch water and direct it away from the foundation and basement of the building, preventing water damage. Because of this, adequate gutter systems are essential to the maintenance and care of any house.
How Gutters Direct Water
The gutter runs around the edge of the roof, catching the rain as it slides down the slope of the roof. The water then runs down through the gutter to a corner or depression, where it goes down a downspout and is dumped away from the foundation of the home. This not only protects the foundation and basement, but also siding and other building materials from prolonged water exposure.
Gutters are available in a wide variety of materials. The most typical are vinyl, aluminum, copper, steel, and wood.
- Vinyl gutters are difficult to install, but resist the elements well and last a very long time. Vinyl is also the least expensive material.
- Aluminum is also resistant to the elements but will require occasional repainting.
- Copper can last up to fifty years, but the joints may need to be resoldered.
- Steel is the most expensive, and will need to be painted in order to prevent rust. Wood does not weather well, is heavy, and will require frequent repairs and replacement.
Regardless of the material used, proper care will need to be taken in order to ensure that your gutters are doing their job. Semi-annual inspections for blockages and pooling areas will help your gutters perform their best.