Properly cared for, gutters manage rainwater, provide protection from water damage, and improve the overall appearance of your home’s exterior. Knowing basic gutters dos and don’ts can help you get the most out of your gutter system.
What to Do
Clean the gutters to keep them free from debris that can buildup and then form clogs in the gutter channels and/or downspouts.
Regularly maintain your gutters. Do repairs as needed or hire a contractor to do them for you. Putting off repairs can compromise the gutter system.
Incorporate some type of rain harvesting. Rain barrels, for example, store runoff from the downspouts; instead of just draining away, the collected rainwater can be used for non-potable applications.
If you inherited your gutter system or you are getting new gutters installed, ensure that the downpipe deposits water at least five feet from your home. Also check to see if you need more than one – a general guideline is one downspout for every 40 feet of gutter.
Do you have multiple roofs (one over the garage, a part of the second floor or porch)? Confirm if they have gutters; if they don’t, gutters should be installed along the edge of each roofline. Instead of downpipes depositing water onto a lower roof, redirect the flow into a lower gutter.
What to Avoid
Don’t fall for the leaf protection myth. Yes, gutter guards are a good thing, and most kinds do an adequate job of keeping debris from entering a gutter system. But you will still have to clean the gutters every so often and inspect them for other kinds of damage.
While it might be tempting as a reason to save money, DIY or host a barbecue to celebrate a job well done, installing your own gutters often isn’t as “easy” as it looks. Factors such as injury, incorrect calculations and improper slope can lead to complications that might end up costing you more than hiring a professional contractor right from the start.
Choose medium to high end materials. Cheaper isn’t always better. Plastic gutters will look good for a few years before they have to be replaced, but an aluminum gutter system will last for as long as you own your home.