Gutters Important To Building Maintenance and Durability- By: Alan Trauger

Description : Gutters and downspouts provide a very important function in keeping your home safe from water damage in numerous ways. Although, the typical home owner when making a list of home improvement projects will rarely list the installation of rain gutters.

Rain gutters properly installed along the edge of a roof can help prevent water damage to a home or building and its landscape and hardscape in several important ways. The primary function of a roof guttering system is to direct water from the roof of a home or building to the ground in such a way that it does not damage or run down the outer walls of the building causing damage to the building or environs.

Gutters are very important to the maintenance of your building in preventing the continual roof run off cascading down the exterior walls causing rot, deterioration, moisture penetration, and environmental issues to its occupants. Rain gutters help homeowners save money by preventing flooding and water entering into basements, crawlspaces and foundations, soil erosion causing damage to landscaping, sidewalks, and driveways. Gutters also help protect against foundation settlement. Foundation repairs can be very expensive.

Through the proper installation of rain gutters savings and problems can be averted related to rotted roofing, rotted fascia and soffits, rotted roof rafters, rotted siding, rotted windows and doors, damaged paint, stained masonry surfaces. The initial investment of roof gutters can save a home owner many additional maintenance expenditures related to the absence of guttering.

Types of Gutters

  • Aluminum
  • Galvanized Steel
  • Vinyl
  • Wood
  • Copper

Wood gutters are hard to find and tend to rot and require high maintenance. Wooden gutters are frequently referred to as “Yankee Gutters” which were an aesthetic feature of many old home styles such as brownstone, Queen Anne, Victorian, and row house types of structures. This type of guttering is a molded piece of ornamental oak or pine wood averaging six to twelve in width, spanning the entire width of the home as a solid piece. Yankee gutters were designed to divert rainwater from the dwelling roofs, it was milled to form the classic “U” shape associated with the rain gutter. The gutter was fastened to the building in various ways, often being nailed to the roof rafters, eliminating the need to install fascia board. Obviously continual exposure to the rain, rots the gutters causing rotting, decaying pieces of hanging wood.

Galvanized steel gutters are the cheapest to install, but also require a great deal of maintenance than other types of contemporary gutter types.

Both vinyl and aluminum gutters are more durable, will require less maintenance, and have a higher resistance to corrosion. These are the most prominent types of gutters installed today due to their durability and cost of installation factors. Typically, vinyl gutters are not used in colder climates due to the physical properties of vinyl cracking under these temperature conditions. K style gutter profiles, also called ogee rain gutters are the most commonly installed rain gutter. K style gutters account for over 80% of all installed gutters today. These gutters typically range from 4” to 8” in width. For residential use typically, 5” or 6” gutter is the prominent size installed. Half round gutter profiles are shaped just as the name implies, half round. This type of gutter profile is typically found in European countries.

Copper gutters tend to be more expensive than other gutter material. Made from copper, the gutters tend to change color over time due to oxidation. Copper gutters are ideal for those living near bodies of salt water, as well as areas that have a high concentration of acid rain. The durability of copper gutters can be expanded if the seams are soldered and screens installed on the downspouts. Copper gutters can have an economic life of 50 years.

Seamless gutters are gaining popularity. They are made from a metal “coil” stock and are extruded using a special machine brought to the job site by the gutter fabricator. The big selling point is that, as the name implies, they do not have potentially leaky seams along their lengths. The lengths join to inside and outside corner components and downspout outlets. They have no joints to potentially leak. They are formed from aluminum that has a baked on finish. Seamless gutters can not be typically installed by the “do-it-yourselfer” as professional help will be required due to the equipment required for fabrication. Copper can not be seamless.

Regardless of the type of gutters installed, downspouts are a critical part of the rainwater protection system. Downspouts that are clogged or improperly installed or improperly placed can negate any benefits from the gutter system.

Building Code Guidelines

There are no building codes regarding on how to install gutters. Building codes do not require gutter installation. Building codes relating to roof drainage typically state that if gutters are installed they shall have durability requirements and installation specifications. The International Code Council (ICC) Section R801.3 Roof Drainage – “In areas where expansive or collapsible soils are known to exist, all dwellings shall have a controlled method of water disposal from roofs that will collect and discharge roof drainage to the ground surface at least 5 feet (1524 mm) from foundation walls or to an approved drainage system”.

Therefore, Buyer Beware of how the gutters are installed. No permitting or municipal inspections are required. General Guidelines On How To Tell If Your Gutters Are Installed Correctly:

  • The gutter is installed behind the metal eave drip material
  • The kickout flashing material direct the water into the gutter
  • The gutter is installed below the roof tile eave edge to collect runoff
  • Gutters should be adequately secured to building

Article Source :

Author Resource : Alan Trauger is a Real Estate and Building Consultant for residential and commercial properties. Mr. Trauger has attained over 35 years of diversified experience and knowledge in construction, finance, and real estate. He has been involved in various facets of asset management, acquisitions, real estate work outs, property management, construction, inspection analysis, development, sales, leasing, and Ad Valorem tax appeal for over 25,000 single family and multi-family units and over 2.5 million square feet of commercial buildings. A Court Appointed Receiver and Expert Witness. An experienced and knowledgeable problem solver, understanding processes, and issues related construction and real estate.

Mr. Trauger’s wide spectrum of experiences, education, research, teaching, and publication of previous articles, commercial real estate market sales comparables, and textbooks enables him to assist property owners through the property assessment and tax appeal process.

To learn more about how your real estate tax assessment is prepared and how to appeal your property taxes -Property Tax Reduction Manual.

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