There are a variety of gutter materials and solutions. The most common found on homes are your typical residential ‘K’ style aluminum gutters. Most homes have 5-inch gutters (this is the top of the gutter measurement) with 2” x 3” downspouts. Gutters can be made from a variety of materials including painted aluminum, copper, galvanized and galvalume steel, and vinyl. They come in your common ‘K’ style design as well as a half round design. Depending on the material, the expected lifespan can range between 20-50 years. When affected by storms that cause hail and other wind-borne debris, this can quickly deteriorate the performance which will lead to water problems on the home.
The main purpose of gutters is to carry rainwater from the roof to the ground and away from the foundation of the home. Typically, gutters are chosen in a color to conceal them, however, they are sometimes chosen in a color or style to provide an accent to the home. This can be a design feature depending on the preference of the homeowner or the overall presentation that is attempting to be achieved.
The design of gutters is to create a trough that carries water from the highest point of the gutter to the lowest point of the gutter which is where the downspout attaches. Gutters will have a slight angle to them that promotes water drainage versus retention. Due to this open trough design, gutters will hold debris that gets blown into them from storms or that fall from trees in autumn. This will cause a clog and damming in areas of the gutter preventing water drainage. In the winter, water will freeze inside the gutter compounding the problem associated with ice dams and can allow water to leak behind the gutter causing wood rot along the fascia and the exposed edges of the roof plywood. The weight of these ice dams that form inside the gutter will cause the gutter to pull loose from the fascia board exposing a larger gap allowing additional damages to occur. Eventually the gutters will start to sag or eventually fall off the home.
Gutter guards are promoted as ways to keep debris out of the gutter to combat the problems associated with damming. The option for gutter guards is wide ranging and can get overwhelming. Depending on the volume and type of debris that can get into the gutter, some guards will perform better than others. We can provide recommendations based on your circumstances and discuss the pros and the cons for the variety of covers to best assist your decision process.