What is a Gutter System?

Gutters along house

Gutter System Installation

Gutters or no gutters – that is the question of many homeowners. Gutter systems are much more than just a decorative finishing touch to your roof. They serve an important and valuable purpose.They move away from the foundation, keeping it strong and your home’s structure stable. If your home didn’t have gutters, the water would pool up and puddle around the foundation, weakening it, and if you have a basement, eventually, the water will leak into the walls of the basement.

Recovery Roofing & Home Improvement, Inc. will answer some basic and common questions about gutter systems, and hopefully provide you what you need to know to make an informed decision whether to have one installed, and is gutters necessary on a house, or understand the importance of taking care of them and why gutters with screens is beneficial.

Do gutters really work?

Gutter systems are a home improvement project that will prove their worth over the years’ time and again, like on a rainy day. A properly installed and maintained gutter system will prevent further issues that can be an out-of-pocket expense you don’t want to happen – like having the foundation leveled. Here are some other reasons that gutter systems are worth the expense:

Keep You Dry

On a rainy day, how nice would it be to stick your head out and not get flooded by water running straight off the roof? Gutter systems collect the rain coming off your roof and send it out and away from your house. Diverting rain and keeping it under control is their main purpose.

Avoid Flooded Basement

Without a gutter system, the rain will come off the roof and pool up around the foundation of your home then seep into basement, flooding the basement, weakening the foundation, and more, much like a plumbing leak will do. Gutter systems direct rainwater away from and efficiently drains into the ground so that the possibility of seepage is avoided. A gutter system will come with a curved piece at the end of the run referred to as a downspout. The rain runs through the gutter, to the downspout and is dumped onto a block referred to as a splash block that slows the water down as it pours out, directing it away from the foundation.

Create a Tidier Look

When water flows against your home, it can become messy as dirt and residue are splashed up and the paint starts chipping away. After some time, the appearance of your home gets dirty, and if not cleaned off from time to time, it will take away from the curb appeal. With gutter systems, the rain is consolidated and keeps homes looking like clean and fresh without any effort. Gutters do require occasional cleaning, maintenance, and upkeep so they can continue doing their job to the fullest possibility.

Decay Prevention

Plywood and tar most likely line the exterior and roof of your home. These two materials are not 100% waterproof. When shingles and siding are installed, the pieces will shift over time, leaving gaps that expose that plywood and tar paper. This allows water to leak in, and the plywood and tar paper start to deteriorate and rot, breaking down and cracking, which will eventually allow your home to start coming apart after a while. Gutter systems funneling the water away, you’ll avoid these problems and keep your home healthy and intact. Commonly, that gutters and roofing are installed at the same time.

Keeps Mold Away

Too much moisture on a home’s exterior will create humidity, and with weak ventilation, mold will begin to grow. Properly installed gutters systems that are maintained will keep this from happening because they divert that rainwater away from the house, keeping the exterior dry.

Insects Eliminated

Insects of all types love moisture, like mosquitoes and termites. A home without a gutter system will have water standing around the foundation and, in the flowerbed, attracting these unwanted bugs. Those insects are not only annoying, but they make the outside of a home unpleasant and they will begin eating away at the exterior, causing damage that needs to be repaired. Again, gutter systems will divert that rainwater away and eliminate insects.

Landscaping Protection

  • When water can pool up in your flowerbed, landscaping, and yard, it can damage it and erode the soil as well as weaken the foundation. A gutter system will control how much of that water is released into the flowerbeds and landscaping, keeping your flowers, grass, plants and other vegetation healthy. 

Do I need gutters around my entire house?

Not necessarily. Most roofs do not slope in every direction. As such, a gutter system will re-direct rainwater down the roof slope and away from the house. For example, a roof that slopes in two directions, like the back of the house and the front of the house, it creates a peak in the center. The front and back would be where you need gutters, but there isn’t any need to install a gutter system on the sides.

Which type of gutter is best?

There are three primary types of gutter systems available:

  • Vinyl Gutters – These are the most popular in gutter systems because they are less expensive, easy to install, and never rust. The lightweight pieces snap together with ease making installation simple. However, in colder climates, they may crack if not properly installed, allowing water to pool.
  • Aluminum Gutters – These are popular as well because they are lightweight, making installation easy, and they don’t rust. They are more resilient in cold climates and homeowners can paint them to match their home. They are available in a seamless style too, minimizing future breakage and leaks. The downside to these, they can be bent or dented easily, so choosing a strong quality of aluminum is recommended.
  • Stainless Steel Gutters – These are a good option as well and are strong, sturdy, and won’t rust. But they are more expensive gutter systems than the two mentioned above.

Besides these three popular choices of gutter systems, there is also a copper or a wood gutter system. These are chosen more for the architectural appeal for a specific look, such as a historic home. They are the most expensive of all gutter systems.

Are vinyl or metal gutters better?

Shopping gutter systems aren’t the most exciting thing to do, but for your home, they are important. Gutters provide protection for the foundation and roof by preventing water damage, so choosing the right gutter system can mean fewer unexpected and unwanted expenses later.

The Pros of Vinyl Gutters

  • Price: They are the least expensive of all gutter system and because they won’t need to be painted – ever – they are cheap to maintain.
  • Rust-free: Even galvanized steel can rust, but vinyl gutter systems do not rust nor will they ever rot.
  • Easy Install and Repair: Vinyl gutters are lightweight and cut easily, making installation easy and fast. If they are damaged, replacement pieces snap in easily.

The Cons of Vinyl Gutters

  • Weather Sensitive: In extreme cold or hot climates, vinyl gutters break and crack.  
  • Tendency to Warp: Vinyl gutters tend to bend, bow, and warp from heavy debris that falls in them during heavy rains, ice, or snow.

Metal Gutter Systems

If you don’t want the worry of extreme weather climate breaking and cracking your gutter system, then metal gutters are for you. There are several options to choose from in the metal category such as the affordable, traditional style that doesn’t corrode and is slow to rust. They can be painted to match your home’s exterior and minimize the rust even more. Metal gutters are more durable and sometimes, more affordable.

What is the best gutter protection?

Gutter guards prevent gutter systems from getting clogged with debris and leaves. However, they do not make gutters 100% maintenance free because that debris and the leaves will collect on those guards inevitably, but they are easier and faster to clean off than cleaning out gutters.

There are five different types of gutter guards:

  1. Mesh guards – metal sheets with tiny holes that are attached to the roof shingles over the gutter system.
  2. Reverse curve guards – these send the water downward and direct the debris and leaves to the ground.
  3. Bottlebrush guards – made of bristles facing upright on the inside the gutter runs and the debris and leaves rest on top letting the water flow away.
  4. Nylon guards – these are best for winter weather because the snow can’t build up and freeze on top of them.
  5. Foam guards – these plastic guards fit directly into the gutter runs and block debris and leaves from getting into the gutter system.

It is possible to spend more on gutter guards than having your gutter system professionally cleaned. If your home has trees surrounding it, then gutter guards are worth the expense.

There are many options when it comes to gutter systems, and it can be confusing and overwhelming. It is important to keep in mind the goal and purpose of having a gutter system installed is to protect your home by having rainwater moved efficiently and quickly away from your home. Get started on your new gutters in Baltimore, MD today when you call Recovery Roofing & Home Improvement, Inc. at (410)-288-1633!