Gutters are important to the health of the foundation and basement or crawl space yet remain underappreciated in many places. Homeowners only swing to action when rainwater starts pouring down the sides of their exterior walls. If you’re building a new home or renovating yours, now is the best time to learn about gutters and how to maintain them.
What Is a Gutter System?
Gutters are an important part of the water runoff and drainage system of any building. Without gutters, rainwater will fall directly from your roof to the ground surrounding your home. This can create a myriad of problems in your home. For starters, the water will pool where it is not wanted, damaging your yard or lawn. This water may also weaken the structure of your building. It will speed up rot and gives a high chance for mold and mildew to grow and spread inside and outside your home.
What Do Gutters Do?
The main purpose of gutters is to create a channel for rainwater to flow away from the foundation of your home. Keeping large amounts of water away from your foundation prevents mold and fungi growth and protects your siding and stucco from backsplash stains and rot. It also shields your foundation and landscaping from water infiltration and damage.
Types of Gutters
There are many types of gutters available in the market. Homeowners must make the right choice for them based on style and material.
When it comes to style, there are two basic types:
- K-style gutters: One of the most popular designs, K-style gutters are loved for their decorative appearance which closely resembles crown molding. They are available in five and six-inch widths.
- Half-round gutters: This is an old-school type of gutter that is mostly found on older buildings. These gutters are easier to install and cheaper than K-shape gutters.
Common Gutter Materials
Gutters are made from different materials. Here are the common materials they are made of:
Vinyl: Vinyl gutters are lightweight, easy to install, and resistant to rust. Their only drawback is that they can become brittle over time and crack especially in the colder months.
Aluminum: Another popular option, aluminum gutters are incredibly lightweight, rust-proof, and weather-resistant.
Galvanized steel: This is a very strong and durable type of gutter material. However, it’s also prone to rust and will eventually need replacing.
Stainless steel gutters: Just like its cousin above, stainless steel gutters are strong and long-lasting. But they don’t rust or wear away due to rough weather.
Copper gutters: This is the gold standard when it comes to guttering. Copper gutters are weather-resistant and have an attractive finishing.
Common Gutter Issues
Some of the most common gutter problems faced by property owners include:
- Gutters not draining: Over time, and with irregular or lack of proper maintenance, your gutters will inevitably clog with dirt, leaves, and other debris. Such materials will impede water flow and cause water to pour off the sides of your walls.
- Sagging gutters: The buildup of leaf matter and debris might also cause sections of the gutters to sag. The fasteners attaching your gutters to your roof may start to pull away if they cannot hold the extra debris weight.
- Incorrectly pitched gutters: Always work with experienced contractors when installing your gutters. This is because less experienced contractors are more likely to make costly installation errors that could result in loose gutters and poor downspout drainage among other issues.
Preventing Common Gutter Problems
The first and most important step is to work with a professional contractor to install or patch up your gutters whenever necessary. They can fix common gutter issues due to inadequate planning or poor installation.
Regular gutter maintenance is key to having a properly functioning gutter system. Routine checks and repairs will solve small annoyances and prolong your gutters’ life span. Inspections will also ensure that your gutters stay clean and free of leaf matter and debris. Leaves and dirt can build up and obstruct the flow of water, which can lead to gutter failure.
If your gutters are old or damaged, it’s best to replace them. Patching holes won’t help as your gutters could still leak and cause water pooling, stained walls, and dampness.
Other than repairing and maintaining their gutters, Colorado residents should also invest in professional basement or crawl space waterproofing to protect their below-grade areas from water damage. At Complete Basement Systems, we have a lot of experience managing water outside and inside the basement or crawl space. We offer top solutions for all your basement or crawl space waterproofing issues. Contact us today to schedule a free waterproofing inspection with our specialists and receive a free estimate!