The Purpose & Importance of Gutters

measuring the length of a gutter

Most homeowners don’t give their gutters much thought until the leaves start falling. We all know we should be cleaning the gutters in the spring and the fall (if not more), but most people don’t really know what purpose the gutters serve or how they protect our homes. We hope this overview will help you understand why gutters are so important and help guide your choices the next time you install or upgrade the gutters on your home.

What are gutters?

Gutters are an integral part of your roof’s drainage system. Channels installed along the edge of your roof, gutters collect the water that your roof sheds and direct it toward the downspouts, where it will drain out away from your home. Typically designed to blend into the lines of a home, most people give gutters little thought until it’s time to clean them.

Types of Gutter

Selecting the best gutters for your home may leave your head spinning as you contemplate the many shapes, sizes, and materials of gutters. When it comes to materials, most homeowners choose between vinyl, the most cost-effective option, and metal, which are more expensive but also much more durable than their vinyl counterparts. Metal gutters are most often aluminum and steel, but other options include steel, zinc, and copper. The three most common gutter styles include k-style, half-round, and fascia.

K-Style Gutter

K-Style GuttersThese are the most common gutters found in homes built within the past fifty years. Their flat back enables them to be attached directly to the fascia board, doing away with the need for support brackets. K-style gutters feature a more decorative profile that resembles crown moulding. They have flat bottoms and straight angled sides, which allows them to carry more water and also makes them relatively easy to clean.

Half-Round Gutter

half-round gutterHalf-round gutters are shaped like a tube cut in half and are commonly found in houses built more than 60 years ago. With curved sidewalls, half-round gutters drain more thoroughly than k-style.

Fascia Gutter

Fascia GuttersFascia gutters are installed directly onto a home’s framing in place of the fascia board. Fascia boards are long wooden boards that run the length of the roof and close off the attic by connecting to the roof rafters. When fascia gutters are used, they are installed in place of this fascia board. Custom-created for each home, these are typically fashioned on-site using a fascia gutter machine. These gutters blend smoothly into the lines of a home and are also fashioned in one, long piece, absent the leaky seams of other gutter systems.

Why are gutters so important?

worn out gutters with water spilling everywhereWhether heavy rains or slowly melting snow, your home’s roof is designed to shed water to its edge. From there, gutters channel this water toward the downspouts, which direct it down and away from your home’s foundation. Without gutters to catch this water (or if they are too clogged to properly do their job), it can flow over the edge of the roof and collect in puddles at the base of your foundation, which can cause a myriad of problems.

As this overflowing water pummels the ground underneath your roof, it creates a trough that collects rainwater and melting snow. These puddles at the base of your foundation can cause several problems. For one, these puddles and overflowing water can erode the dirt at the base of your foundation. As time goes on, and as more dirt is removed from around your home’s foundation, water is allowed to collect against your home’s exterior walls. This water saturates the soil at the base of your foundation, putting added strain on your foundation walls. This can lead to cracking, shifting, and even collapse of your foundation walls.

Without properly functioning gutters, your home may also develop ice dams in the winter. As snow melts and trickles down to the edge of the roof, it refreezes at the much colder overhanging eaves. A home without gutters (or properly functioning gutters) has the potential to develop nasty ice dams. As water collects behind these ice dams, it finds the path of least resistance and trickles under your shingles and down the walls inside your home.

Trust Aapex to Outfit Your Home with the Perfect Gutters

If you’re thinking about updating your current gutters or installing new gutters, Aapex Construction & Restoration can help you decide which gutters will be suit your home’s needs. With more than 20 years of experience in the construction industry, we are equipped with the knowledge, expertise, and equipment to assess and install the most effective gutters for your home’s design. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!

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2 thoughts on “The Purpose & Importance of Gutters

  1. Luke Smith says:

    It’s great that you mentioned how your home may develop ice dams in the winter without properly functioning gutters. We are almost finished with the construction of our dreamhouse, we only need to add a few more fixtures to it. The most important is the gutter, so we should definitely ask some professionals to help us out with the installation.

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