You probably don’t give the gutters on your home much thought until they are clogged or in need of maintenance, which is normal. But if your gutters are constantly clogged, and you’re having rainwater rush over the sides of your gutters, that can mean trouble for the health of your home. So what are your gutter options, and which are best for you?
Why Are Gutters Important?
Let’s first talk about the importance of having an excellent gutter system on your home. Not only do they provide a clean look to your home, but they are vital to the health of your home’s foundation. While many basements are “water-proof,” there’s no need to add additional pressure to their seals. Gutters take the water from the roof and drain it safely away from home. Even with just an inch of rainfall on an average roof, that’s 1900 gallons of water! Gutters protect your home and the earth around it by preventing mold, erosion, and floods.
The gutter material that’s right for you will depend on your personal aesthetic and budget. There are five options that come with a variety of durability, colors, and prices.
These are the least expensive on the list and are DIY-friendly for those who prefer to do home projects themselves. Unfortunately, the color options are limited but can be painted to suit the existing color pallet of the home. Vinyl will not rust or rot, but it can be brittle and could even break in extreme temperatures.
Aluminum is more expensive than vinyl, but it is the most affordable metal option. It also will not rust and comes with many color options, including ones that have the appearance of aged copper. Some of the lighter weight versions might dent and bend, but this is less likely with the heavier options and they can last up to 25 years.
Yes, steel can rust, but to avoid rusting, steel gutters are typically galvanized, blended with chrome, or coated with a zinc-aluminum alloy. When protected like this, they can last up to 15 years. In addition, steel is thicker than aluminum and therefore less likely to dent, bend, or break under the pressure of snow, ice, falling sticks, and heavy weather.
Zinc is durable, rust-proof, and weathers beautifully. When installed correctly and maintained properly, they can last up to 30 or 50 years. So while they might come with a price tag reflecting their longevity, they are something you won’t have to think about once installed.
Copper isn’t as popular as its other metal-gutter cousins, but it never rusts and can last up to 100 years in almost any climate. Its beauty and durability does come with an investment to match, but you will surely reap the benefits. The copper will patina to a lovely matte brown color in a few months, and then a blue-green over the years. If this isn’t the look you want, you can always paint it, but many who choose copper do so because of its stunning patina.
Gutter Guards and Filters
All the pretty gutters in the world won’t do you much good if they are clogged. Additional pieces must be added to your gutters to prevent you from needing to climb on the roof and clean them out.
These “guards” are comprised of a hood with curved lip that blocks most debris and draws the water into a narrow slot. They are the basic guard that probably won’t keep all debris out but do the job pretty well.
A step up from leaf guards, debris filters protect your gutters even better. However, smaller debris will still likely slip through and end up in your gutter system.
Leaf Defier XL
This filter, similar to a sponge filter, will only allow water through to your gutters. Small sticks, tiny bits of leaves, and everything else will be kept out. They are easy to remove and shake clean, but you will need to do this occasionally.
Gutter Glove Pro
Gutter glove pros block out almost all debris and are made with fine-mesh stainless steel. Unlike the leaf defier, stainless steel is durable and will hold up under the pressure of heavy leaves, sticks, and other debris. Of course, you will still have to occasionally sweep them, but overall, they are very low maintenance.
Raindrop Gutter Guard
This slick plastic grate keeps out leaves and needles and almost every other debris you could have. Weather debris slides right off the gutter, and only water gets through and into the gutter system.
Protect your home (and your back) by investing in a great gutter system. This will prevent you from having to climb up on the roof as often and keep your basement clear of water and mold.