Rain gutters may be a small component of your home, but they perform several critical functions. As gutters only need to be replaced about every 20 years, it is natural to forget they even exist. However, despite their ability to function on their own, rain gutter systems still need to be regularly maintained. When in disrepair, gutters are not able to perform at peak capacity, meaning they cannot do their job properly. If you fail to remedy the problem, you may discover the effects of water damage both indoors and out. Learn more about rain gutter function and the importance of gutter maintenance.
Main Functions of Rain Gutters
Gutters are essentially long, hollow devices that are securely attached to the edges of a roof. Their purpose is to collect rainwater and divert it away from the home’s foundation. However, rain gutters also perform other important functions, such as:
- Water Management: The elements can be harsh on your home. Heavy rain, snow, and ice can all accumulate on your roof, especially during storms. Without gutters to collect the water, it would simply run down the slope of the roof and down to the ground below. Gutters help redirect the water from your roof to an area where it can be safely absorbed into the ground.
- Landscape Protection: Allowing water to fall directly from the roof to the ground can have a significant impact on your landscape. Too much moisture on your lawn and in your garden beds can the soil can become muddy. The grass may become discolored and your plants will surely suffer stress from excess water. Heavy rain can actually “drown” plants making them unable to absorb nutrients.
- Foundation Protection: In addition to protecting your landscaping, rain gutters also the have the job of protecting your foundation. Gutters prevent the rain from spilling down around the foundation of your home, causing water damage that could seep indoors. When your gutter system is in good working order, rain water is moved away from the foundation to prevent damage.
- Roof Protection: Finally, rain gutters offer protection to your roof. Without gutters to divert the water away from delicate areas of your home, damage would soon develop. The fascia, soffit, and other structural elements of your roof are most at risk for damage. However, a well-functioning gutter system is all that is needed to minimize these risks.
Types of Rain Gutters
Rain gutters can be found in various colors, shapes, and prices, allowing you to easily find a product that matches your style and budget. There are two basic types of gutters that are referred to by their cross section design. K-style gutters feature a flat bottom and back, often with a decorative front that looks similar to crown molding. Half-round gutters consist of half-round tubes. These are most commonly seen on historic homes. While K-style gutters possess twice the capacity of half-round styles, they cost significantly more.
Cost is also based on the type of material used in the gutter system. The most common materials used for gutters include aluminum, copper, steel, vinyl, and zinc. Each material has its own set of pros and cons. For example, while aluminum is lightweight and rust-resistant, it can be more challenging to install and typically requires the skill of experienced gutter contractors. The downspout is also a critical component of the gutter system. Downspouts are square or round in shape and come in widths of 3 to 6 inches. Your home will generally need one downspout for every 30 to 40 linear feet of gutter.
Benefits of Gutter Maintenance
Regular gutter maintenance performed by experienced gutter contractors can be highly beneficial to the safety and security of your home. One of the biggest advantages of gutter maintenance is the prevention of water damage. While gutters are designed to channel water off of your roof, they do not always work as intended. When rain gutters become clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris, water is not able to pass through resulting in standing water on your roof. If the issue is not quickly remedied, significant water damage can occur to your roof and to the inner components of your home.
Gutter maintenance can also improve your safety and comfort in other ways. Pests like rats, squirrels, birds, and mosquitoes may choose your gutters to make a nest. Often times, these pests carry germs and possibly diseases which can be harmful to humans. By having your gutters cleaned by professionals, you can eliminate these nests and thus the pests from your roof. By keeping your gutters clean and free of harmful debris, you can also extend the lifespan of your roof. A well-functioning gutter system helps eliminate water pooling and the excess weight of snow and ice accumulation which can occur when your gutters are not working properly.
Basement flooding is another major concern when homes have blocked gutters. When clogged gutters overflow, they spill rainwater onto your foundation which can seep into your basement. Basement flooding does not only ruin items like furniture, electronics, and other valuables, it can also promote the growth of mold and mildew. Once mold has grown indoors, its spores can disperse into the air causing allergic reactions and other types of respiratory disorders. Gutter maintenance helps to eliminate these risks by ensuring that rainwater does not seep into your basement.
Contact Experienced Gutter Contractors
When was the last time you had your rain gutters inspected by a professional? If it has been more than a year, it is time to schedule an appointment. While it is easy to procrastinate when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your gutters, the impact that a broken or clogged gutter can have on your home can be significant. Home repair bills due to water damage can reach hundreds to thousands of dollars. Do not wait until the damage has occurred before taking action. For more information about gutter maintenance or to schedule a free no obligation gutter inspection, contact the expert gutter contractors at Beyond Exteriors.