The Basics

Rain gutters are one of those things you never think about when they're working as they should, but you'll instantly know something is seriously wrong if they ever fail. They are used as a runoff route for rainwater falling onto your roof and play a very important role in protecting your house from damage. Gutters extend the life of windows, doors, siding and even your home's foundation.

Home improvement experts suggest that a good time to add new gutters, if you don't already have them, is when you're redoing your roof. This makes the installation process easier, faster and less messy. It's also important that you recognize whether or not you actually need gutters in the first place. If your roof has a long overhang, and especially if it comes down at a sharp slope, runoff rain water will be cast far away from your house without gutters, keeping it safe.

The proper installation of gutters is not an easy task. If you did it yourself, you'd have to spend many long hours perched atop a ladder, affixing the gutter sections to your roof. You'd also have to deal with a complex set of accessories used to efficiently route the water from the gutter sections down to the ground, which includes leaf screens, end caps, drop outlets, elbows, downspouts and splash blocks, all of which must be precisely assembled to ensure the proper operation of your system. A professional installation ensures your satisfaction, and will save you countless hours of tedious and potentially difficult labor.

Copper Gutters

The importance of quality rain gutters cannot be underestimated if your home's roof does not have long, steep overhangs. Gutters route rainfall off your roof and safely away from your house, which helps prevent a lot of wear-and-tear on your windows, doors and house foundation.

You have many options when it comes to rain gutter materials. Some are relatively inexpensive but may not withstand wear-and-tear very well; these options will save you money in the short term, but will likely need to be repaired or replaced with a significant degree of regularity. Other materials command a heavier upfront price, but will virtually never need to be replaced. Copper is an example of the latter.

Copper rain gutters are extremely strong, and actually grow stronger in heavy rainstorms as the rainwater loosens copper particles. The higher the copper content of your rain gutter, the greater its impact resistance and load-bearing capacity. They also retain their structural integrity during cleaning, unlike lesser materials which can bend and warp, compromising their drainage efficiency. Also, copper gutters are very strongly recommended if your roof is also made of copper.

Professional installation of copper gutters ensures that the entire system will perform optimally. A gutter system is complicated and difficult to assemble; it requires many different parts and accessories to work correctly. If you're going to invest in a quality copper gutter, it makes sense to spend a little extra to ensure it's perfectly installed.

Metal Gutters

Without rain gutters, your home's windows, doors and foundation are at risk for serious water damage. In the worst-case scenario, heavy rainfall can lead to basement flooding if you don't have a reliable way to route the rainwater off your roof and away from your house.

If you've decided to add rain gutters or upgrade your current system, there are many options to consider. The material your rain gutters are made from is the single most important consideration you need to make when choosing a system. Finding the optimal combination of price and performance is the key to getting the best value for your money. Metal rain gutters give you the most flexibility of any material.

Steel, aluminum and copper are the three types of metal most commonly used to make rain gutters, and they each have their advantages and drawbacks. Steel can withstand more punishment than aluminum, but it also rusts. Copper is extremely strong and will never rust, but it is also the most expensive option. However, it makes a good choice if you live somewhere that sees a lot of rain.

It is important that you take the time to closely compare the costs of various metal gutter systems, as this will help you control maintenance and repair costs in the future. Getting a quote is fast and easy, and it allows you to accurately and conveniently compare your many options. Remember, too, to get quotes that include installation, as setting up a rain gutter is a complex and difficult job best left to a professional.

Vinyl Gutters

Every type of rain gutter material has its advantages and disadvantages. If you're adding new gutters or replacing your existing ones, vinyl is one of the options you should closely consider.

Vinyl rain gutters are very low-maintenance. Unlike steel gutters, they will not rust and they will never need to be repainted. All you'll ever need to do is clear them of leaves and other debris. They are also among the least expensive options available.

However, vinyl rain gutters do not make the best choice if you live somewhere that sees a lot of hot, sunny, dry weather. These conditions can cause the gutters to crack and break. Also, vinyl gutters perform best when they do not have to regularly withstand heavy rainfall, as consistent exposure to pounding rain can cause them to warp.

If you decide, after doing your research, that vinyl gutters are the best option for you, professional installation is something you should strongly consider. When you take into account the money you'll be saving on materials costs, investing in proper installation often makes good financial sense.

Gutter systems are fairly complex and demand a great deal of labor to set up. Minor errors can lead to major problems, and the many accessories needed to run your gutter system require precision installation or they won't get the job done.

Getting a quote for your materials and the labor needed to install them is convenient and free of charge. Do your due diligence and research the prices and services offered by trustworthy local companies.

Seamless Gutters

Rain gutters are specially designed to drain rainwater off your roof, and because of the heavy volume of liquid they're required to carry and drain, they can develop leaks. This is because standard rain gutters come in long sections, which must be joined together to create a continuous drainage channel. Over time, pressure exerted by the rain water can compromise the strength of the welds at the seams. This adds strain to the system and can cause leaks, which will eventually make your gutters break down.

One solution: purchase seamless rain gutters. These rain gutters do not consist of several different pieces which are welded together. Instead, they are shaped from a single, continuous length of material which is bent and shaped into a custom fit for your home. They are virtually maintenance-free and will perform very well for many years.

However, while it may be possible for you to install standard gutter systems on your own if you have the time and tools (and don't mind being perched on a ladder for hours on end), seamless gutters require professional installation. They are very complex systems and must be precisely measured and custom-cut to fit your home.

The investment in seamless gutters has proved worthwhile for many homeowners, as their maintenance costs are virtually nil. Do your homework and research prices; it's fast and free to get a quote from local contractors who will provide you with a high level of service.

Gutter Cleaning

Clogged rain gutters cannot effectively drain rainwater through the downspouts, which can cause damage to the entire system. To ensure rainwater safely drains off your home's roof, you've got to keep your gutter channels free of leaves and other debris. Experts recommend that you clean your gutters at least once a season to ensure they are not becoming clogged.

While this is a job you may try to tackle on your own, you'll have to spend several hours on top of a ladder executing the tedious cleanup. Once you've finished removing leaves and debris, you'll have to collect it and get rid of it before hosing down your gutters. Nobody wants to spend a nice day laboring away over dead leaves and dirt. If your house is located near a lot of trees, you'll also have to perform this task with far more regularity than you'd like.

Hiring a gutter cleaning service is a convenient and time-saving alternative. For a modest price, you'll relieve yourself of the burden of having to spend many hours toiling away on your roof, and for your investment, you'll also enjoy the assurance of knowing the job's been done right.

Most gutter cleaning services offer free estimates, and base their rates on the size of the gutters to be cleaned as well as the frequency of service. You may even qualify for discounted rates by signing up for regular service over an extended period of time. Getting a quote from a local service provider is fast, free and easier than ever before.

Gutter Guard

Your rain gutters need to be cleaned regularly to ensure that leaves, dirt and other debris are not inhibiting their ability to drain rainwater. Without regular cleaning, added pressure is put on the entire system, which can cause clogs and damage.

The traditional solution is to regularly clean out your gutters, either by doing it yourself or by hiring a service to do it for you. Typically, gutter cleaning needs to take place once a season or so. But doing this job yourself takes a lot of time and effort, and the cost of paying someone to do it for you can add up over time.

There's a solution: gutter guards. These accessories can be used to block large leaves and debris from entering the gutter channels, drastically reducing the amount of time and labor needed to clean them. With gutter guards, you will be able to clean your own gutters in a fraction of the time it takes without them, or save many hours of paid labor if you hire a service to clean them for you.

However, your gutters need to be carefully examined to determine where guards are needed, and the downspouts must be precisely measured to ensure the correct fit. It is best to leave this laborious task to a professional, who can accurately, quickly and safely create and install custom gutter guards and save you a great deal of work.

The cost of hiring professional installation isn't a whole lot more than you'd pay for the guards themselves. Ensure the job is done right by trusting a seasoned and experienced roofer with this important job.

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