Basics of Gutters
critical components of a house as they protect both the roof and the
foundation from moisture damage by channeling water from the
from the house.
A heavy rain, flowing
walls to the
ground below can cause a great deal of damage. At the very least, it
wriggles into cracks, contributing to eventual, long-term decay. At
its worst, it foils
invades walls, and undermines
Types of Gutters
The standard square-edge gutter, also called the "box" style, has
sharp, square edges, and is commonly used on a lot of commercial
The "ogee detail" gutter, also
called "K-style," resembles an exterior crown molding. It's slightly
more decorative, giving your home's exterior a more finished look.
vinyl, is a tough, maintenance-free, moderately priced popular with
newer installations. Vinyl gutter systems are favored by some
because they are lightweight and can be easily snapped or glued
together. However, vinyl gutters are not recommended for hot, sunny
climates where they tend to become brittle, crack and fail quickly.
Aluminum is a
moderately priced and rust-resistant material popular with newer
installations. It comes unfinished or factory-painted. The downside
is that aluminum tends to leak at joints because the metal expands
and contracts too much for sealant to hold permanently. It also
are strong and inexpensive, although they can rust.
Copper is an expensive material that is
strong, durable, rust-resistant and nearly maintenance-free.
Copper gutters will weather green
unless you coat it with a clear sealant. It also needs to be
installed by a professional.
Gutter Repair and
When gutters fail, you need to evaluate the type and extent of
damage in order to select the best repair method. Some minor repairs
you can do yourself.
For metal gutters, small leaks
can be sealed with gutter caulk. Flashing and roofing cement can
patch moderate damage.
Gutter patching kits are also
available at hardware stores and they are useful for making
temporary small repairs.
Of course, keeping your
gutters free of debris and leaves (use a trowel if you do it
yourself) and flushing out clogged downspouts is essential. Mesh
will also help prevent clogs in the future.