Heavy precipitation can severely damage a roofing system. After several days of continuous rain, gutters that don’t function well or don’t perform as expected can overflow. Overflowing gutters often lead to flooded basements or shifting foundations due to the oversaturation of the soil. Living in a temperate rainforest climate as we do here in Greater Vancouver, homeowners might wonder which gutters are the best for heavy rainfall.
Heavy Rainfall Defined
While it might appear to be raining all the time except when the sun comes out briefly, heavy rainfall occurs when 100 mm of rain falls in a 24-hour period. That translates roughly into about four millimeters or approximately 0.16 inches every hour. So, it’s important your gutters are prepared to handle a lot of precipitation efficiently and effectively if you live in the lower mainland.
Impact of Continuous Rain
Rain falls everywhere on your property. Continuous rain can leave the areas around the foundation saturated enough to pool, causing water to seep into the foundation or basement. Heavy rainfall might also do damage to the roof, wearing down shingles and weakening other roofing elements enough to cause tiles to loosen and moisture to penetrate cracked or missing shingles.
It’s important to have a gutter system that can handle continuous rainfall streaming down from the roof and into the gutters. Downspouts need to deposit water quickly and safely away from the foundation of your home, between seven and 10 feet to be effective.
The Right Gutters can Help
To choose the best gutters for your home, start with a little research. If you’re building a new home or you need to replace the current gutter system because it hasn’t been performing well, find out what the average annual rainfall is for your area. Also, be aware of statistics such as how much rain falls in an hour and typical rain patterns (slow and steady vs. unexpected squalls).
Once you know what type of rain typically falls on your home and how much, also consider the size of the house, the size of the roof, and its pitch or slope before determining what gutter size will handle the amount of projected rainfall the most efficiently. If you’re replacing the gutters, don’t automatically assume that you will need the same gutter size – that could be the very reason why the gutter system is giving you problems. Selecting larger gutters such as super 5-inch gutters or 6-inch gutters increases a gutter system’s ability to handle a bigger volume of water. A gutter channel with a wider base tends to clog less often.
If you need to replace the gutters but can’t at this time, consider upgrading the downspouts to 3 x 4-inch downpipes. They will be able to handle more water while reducing the chance of debris buildup.
For climates that experience a lot of rain like Vancouver does many gutter professionals recommend aluminum seamless gutters. While they are somewhat more expensive than sectional aluminum gutters, homeowners typically feel that a seamless aluminum gutter system is worth it since it requires less maintenance and lasts longer.