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Proper Rain Gutters for Your Home

Aug 13, 2012

Do you hear the spatter of overflowing water during a heavy downpour? That’s what could happen if you don’t clean out your rain gutters regularly, leading to damage to your roof and siding, as well as mold in your attic and walls. And it’s not just blocked eavestroughs that you have to watch out for; if the downspout and piping don’t lead away from the house or foundation, you could be left battling huge home repair bills.

Suddenly, a few yards of metal becomes far more important than you ever could have imagined!

Therefore, it makes sense to choose your guttering wisely and this means taking into account both your home’s location and climate. First of all…

How much rain do you get?

To help choose the right rain gutter, it’s worth thinking about how much water it’ll actually have to deal with. Gutters can be bought at widths of 5’, 6’, 7’, but the wider your gutter, the greater your overall cost. So think carefully.

Do you want seams with that?

Seamless gutters are only joined at the corners and downspouts, which means your gutter will be stronger, with less chance of breakage or leaks. But this isn’t a ‘do it yourself’ job. To install seamless gutters, you should contact your local RESNET Qualified EnergySmart Contractor, who will tailor the gutter’s length to the size of your home.

However, if you’re handy and considering a short-term solution, you can also fit a gutter with joints yourself.

What’s the ideal material when choosing the right rain gutter?

Stainless steel or copper gutters are wonderful. They’re durable, strong, and that turquoise color of oxidized copper is actually quite sought after. What’s not attractive is the cost. It can cost thousands of dollars for this type of gutter system, but sometimes you might not have a choice. For example, it’s often compulsory with historic homes. Given a choice however, you may decide your perfect gutter needs to be something more affordable.

Vinyl gutters are cheaper, lightweight, and maintenance free. But they’re also fragile and prone to feel the effects of warm or cold weather. Vinyl isn’t a good choice in Arizona, Texas or Southern California, where the heat will cause it to warp and expand. Joints won’t stay watertight for the same length of time. They’re also not ideal for Colorado and Chicago where your vinyl gutter will become brittle.

Another option is aluminum. The good news is that while aluminum is extremely lightweight and affordable, the bad news is that it can dent easily. So before you decide, think about whether or not you have a huge tree with falling branches or a basketball hoop for someone who isn’t a great shot. Your aluminum gutter won’t like clumsiness. And it doesn’t like the sea air either; if you can hear the ocean, don’t choose aluminum.

Galvanized steel offers the strength that aluminum lacks, but still needs replacing eventually. Rust is your enemy here, and unfortunately it will win in time. You can hold off the rust if you don’t mind the maintenance. Be sure to use rust treatments, and keep it clear to prevent standing water. Sections of the gutter will need replacing when you see orange specks appear. It may seem minor, but remember gutters rust from the inside; don’t let those specks turn into holes!

One of the advantages of dealing with a certified RESNET Home Energy Professional is that they can recommend what type of gutter you need and properly install it for you.

What if cost is the most important factor in choosing the right rain gutter?

Ranking from the cheapest to most expensive, rain gutter materials go vinyl, plastic, galvanized steel, aluminum, zinc, copper, stainless steel.

After evaluating your home’s location and characteristics, your best move is to consult a RESNET Qualified Contractor about choosing which is the right option for you.