Cost Guide And Materials
Most houses require gutters to collect rainwater and direct it away from the building. The redirection of rain is essential for preventing soil erosion, keeping a home's siding clean and free of water damage and avoiding leaks. Rain gutters act in conjunction with the downspout pipe that channels water from the roof to the ground. While many people hire professionals to maintain their gutters, installation and regular cleaning can both be completed as DIY projects, which can save money.
Select Your Gutters Project
Choosing A Material
DIY gutter systems can be purchased in three different materials: sheet metal, vinyl and aluminum. Professional gutter installation companies, on the other hand, offer a number of other options, including copper, steel and seamless aluminum. The overwhelming majority of gutters in the U.S. are aluminum, and an estimated 70 percent of all gutters are seamless. Although customers must generally pay extra for professional installation, seamless gutters tend to have fewer leaks due to the lower number of seams. Vinyl gutters are commonly sold in DIY kits. While these are easy to install, they may become discolored due to extended exposure to the sun's UV rays. Steel gutters are strong and heavy, which may cause some DIY installers to select a different, lighter weight material. Like steel, copper gutters are durable, strong and last long. However, they may cost as much as three times more than other materials. Due to the color, copper gutters are commonly used for classic restorations. The metal will also patina with age and change color, depending on the climate in which they are installed.
No matter what type of material gutters are made of, cleaning will be required. Over time, leaves, twigs and debris will collect and can lead to saggy gutters and a blocked downspout. Manufacturers now sell gutter guards that shield the the gutters to keep debris out. However, whether or not homeowners will consider guards to be a worthy investment will depend on their desired outcome. While gutter guards have been found to extend the interval between cleanings, leaves and debris can still find their way into the gutters, and an eventual manual cleaning is required. Manually cleaning gutters is as simple as carefully using a ladder to achieve the required height to reach the roof and scooping leaves and debris from the gutters and downspout. After removing all the debris, the pipes can be flushed clean with a spray nozzle. During the fall season, gutters should be cleaned after the leaves have fallen from the trees. Throughout the year, gutters should be monitored for efficient rain flow and signs of blockages. A blockage can occur at any time of year; therefore, regular monitoring and cleaning when necessary are vital.
Homeowners can save tremendously by installing and maintaining their own gutters. Those who wish to have the benefits of specialty gutters and still save money may choose to have their gutters professionally installed and subsequently perform their own cleaning and maintenance. Whatever a homeowner may choose, the cost of not having properly maintained gutters far outweighs the time and effort that is required to keep gutters and downspouts clean and working efficiently.
Last updated on May 19, 2016