Gutters and Downspouts

The purpose for installing gutters and downspouts is to collect the water that runs off the roof as a result of rain or snow melting that falls on the roof surface and channel it to flow away from the house. This prevents water leaks into the house, water damage and prevents water seepage through the foundation which can be damaging and expensive to repair.

Gutters will increase the width of the roof's overhang beyond the eves, this provides further protection to the house's outside walls, extends the roof's umbrella further outwards providing additional protection for windows, etc hand helps to prevent snow slides during winter. The maintenance of the gutters and downspouts may require regular attention, especially seasonally, due to the collection of leaves, seeds and twigs that can collect in the gutters and clog the collection system. During the winter, slow running or clogged gutters and downspouts can promote ice to form and overhang the gutters, causing expensive damage or can weaken the system.

The most common gutter material used today are aluminum with factory baked on enamel, aluminum covered with a thin layer of vinyl, and solid vinyl. All three types of material are very durable, reasonable priced and require very little maintenance. An expensive but highly desirable option is copper. Copper, like a penny will change over time from a shinny surface to a dull mid brown colour and eventually to a light green. The cheapest option to use as gutter material is galvanized steel, but it has to be painted, another cheap option is to use unpainted aluminum, it is very durable unless exposed to salty air (sea-cost areas). Aluminum as a gutter material is shiny and should be painted for a better look.

It is recommended to install protective screens or caps on the gutters to prevent leaves and other such debris from clogging up the gutter system. This will make for easier maintenance and cleaning of gutters and downspouts. You need to ensure that your gutters and downspouts have sufficient capacity to handle the quantity of water that may runoff the roof. Currently, the most common size of gutter is 5 inches but 6 inch gutters will service a larger roof much better if you have the budget. A steep roof typically requires a larger, 6 inch gutter as the rain water will run faster down the roof and into the gutters. In addition, the gutter should have a slight drop or slope towards the downspout allowing gravity to drain the gutters into the downspouts. The recommended drop should be approximately 1 inch for every 12 lineal feet, and the downspouts should be fastened to the wall every 5 to 6 vertical feet.

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