Gutters are one of the best bangs for your buck when it comes to home improvement. A gutter system keeps water away from your home's foundation. It also makes it so you can walk out the door during a light rain without roof runoff coursing down on you. There are a few decisions to make when shopping for a gutter system.
1. Seamed or Seamless
Seamed gutters come in pre-set lengths that must be linked together to fit your home, while seamless gutters are made from one continuous piece of metal custom fabricated to fit your home. The benefit of seamless gutters is that they are less likely to develop leaks. Seamed gutters are preferred by those that wish to install their own gutters or that prefer the look of seamed gutters.
2. Material Options
Gutters come in a range of materials. If you prefer seamless gutters, then the only option is aluminum. For seamed gutters, the standard choices are aluminum, galvanized steel, or vinyl. Aluminum tends to be the most cost-effective option, and it's also durable and resistant to corrosion. There are also premium gutter options that are made of durable yet ornamental metals like copper.
3. Gutter Profile
The profile refers to the basic shape of the gutter when viewing the cross-section. The most common shape is the K-style, as they provide a decorative front edge that slopes to a deep trough to take away water. Both seamed and seamless gutters made of standard materials come in K-style. U-shaped or half-round gutters are often used on historical homes in order to be more period-appropriate, and premium materials like copper tend to only be available as half-rounds. Custom gutters and box gutters are other options, but these are built into the eaves at the time of roof installation.
4. Runoff Capacity
Gutter troughs come in a variety of sizes designed to hold different levels of rain runoff. The size of the gutter you need depends on the pitch of the roof and the gallons per minute that flow down the roof during an average rain or snow melt event in your region. Steeper roofs require larger troughs to handle the rushing runoff caused by the slope, as do roofs in climates where rain storms bring large volumes of water in a short time.
5. Leaf Guards
An additional feature to add to gutters is leaf guards, as these prevent blockages and reduce maintenance needs. There are screen-style and baffle-style guards designed to snap onto the top of your gutters. Leaves will occasionally need to be swept off the top of the leaf guard to allow proper roof runoff. Brush foam roll guards are designed to fit into the gutter. These allow water through but force leaves and debris to flow over the top of the gutter.
Contact a gutter installation company for more assistance.