When waterproofing their homes, many homeowners consider floodwaters as the greatest risk they could ever face. They forget that the bulk of the water that ends up in their basement comes from downpours, which can also cause problems if water accumulates around their home’s perimeter. The best safeguard is to have a roofer install solid and leak-free gutters all around your roof to divert rainwater from areas such as the crawl space and your foundation.
What Are Gutters
A gutter is a horizontal trough usually installed along the eave, soffit, or low point of a roof system. It is used to channel roof flows in a controlled manner to the downspouts, which then discharge them away safely.
Gutters are essential components as they ensure the roof doesn’t dump melting snow and rainwater next to the foundation. In buildings with a flat roof, gutters prevent water ingress and the buildup of excess weight.
Types of Gutter Systems
Gutter systems are available in different shapes, sizes, materials, and prices to suit your needs. Here are the three common styles:
- K-Style Gutters: They have flat bottoms and backs, and the front usually has a decorative style. K-Style gutters come in 5” and 6” widths. While more costly than half-round gutters, they have twice the capacity.
- Half-Round Gutters: They resemble tubes that have been cut in half. This type has a smoother interior than K-style gutters, which makes them less prone to corrosion.
- Custom Gutters: While pricey, these gutters offer a sleek and contemporary look. They’re often made from a long piece of aluminum and don’t leak like the other two types of gutters.
What Are Gutters Made Of?
Modern gutters are made from different materials. Let’s look at them briefly.
- Aluminum: This is a popular gutter material because it’s lightweight and easy to install. Aluminum gutters are rust-resistant too, which makes them suitable for areas with constant downpours and snow. They’re also weatherproof, available in many colors, can be painted, and have a lifespan of up to 25 years.
- Steel: It is a durable and rust-resistant material. On the downside, steel is heavy and expensive.
- Vinyl: Another popular option is Vinyl, a lightweight and affordable guttering material. The only problem with it is that it tends to fade when exposed to strong sunlight.
- Zinc: Similar to copper, zinc is hard-wearing and is adaptable to a range of roof configurations as well as architectural styles. However, it’s expensive.
Old gutters have to come off first before new ones can be installed. Your roofer will unfasten the old gutters and downspouts from the fascia boards and eaves of your home. Next, they will inspect the eaves and fascia boards, and make the necessary repairs. These have to be in good shape so they can support your gutters.
Sizing is a crucial aspect of gutter installation and comes in handy when assembling corners and cutting out holes for downspouts. Your roofer will determine the right depth and length of gutters. They will also take measurements and figure out where the gutters should go, what angle to connect gutter corners, and where the gutters should slope into the downspouts. If gutters aren’t sized properly, they may not function to expectation or may cause water to overflow from the roof.
Once the sizing is done, it’s time to install the gutters. This can take up to a couple of days depending on the size and height of your roof. Special screws are used to affix the gutters to the fascia boards.
Lastly, downspouts will be installed to channel water away from the gutters to the ground.
Gutter Maintenance and Protection
Your gutters’ health impacts your foundation. Left unchecked, gutters can clog and overflow, leading to water damage. Make sure that a roofing expert inspects the gutters twice a year. Inspections will help you to identify potential problems before they become a menace.
If your gutters get loose or damaged or sag, they will have to be repaired. Gutters also need to be cleaned two to three times a year to ensure water can flow freely through them. It’s also important to have the gutters tuned up every few years. Your roofer will re-pitch and re-secure the gutters, reseal elbows, and reattach loose downspouts.
We also recommend that you install gutter guards to prevent leaves and other debris from falling into the gutter. This minimizes the risk of clogging and makes gutter cleaning easy.
If you’d like to waterproof your foundation to protect it from rainwater or snowmelts, contact Foundation Recovery Systems to request a free waterproofing inspection and quote. We use industry-approved solutions that guarantee lasting results.