Protect, Collect & Beautify – 3 Great Reasons to Install & Care for Your Rain Gutters
Unless you come across a home without them, rain gutters are rarely noticed. When there are no gutters the home looks odd, almost unfinished. It’s just missing something that’s fundamental and underappreciated.
Rain gutters blend in and quietly protect your home and landscape from water damage while helping you become more environmentally friendly.
How do they do this?
They direct water away from your home’s foundation which helps prevent foundation erosion.
They protect your landscape from soil erosion by directing rain water away from your plant beds.
They protect your siding from staining and rot by preventing direct runoff from your roof.
They protect against mildew growth and mosquito breeding by preventing water from pooling.
They provide an easy way to collect rain water for use in and around your home.
PLUS: They can be the perfect finishing touch to your beautiful home!
We’ll dig deeper into these benefits but let’s first talk a bit about what rain gutters are and how they work.
Typical rain gutters have 5 key components:
1. Gutter Channels – These are the sections that run along the sloped end of the roof line where rainwater will run off. They are most typically crafted from vinyl or aluminum and hey can be the perfect finishing touch to your beautiful home!-site. Continuous gutters have a clear advantage over sectioned installation since they are far easier to maintain over the long-run.
For some homes, copper, galvanized steel and wood are also used to create rain gutters. Each have their advantages and disadvantage but the biggest difference is price. These alternatives use materials that are far more expensive and require a lot more labor to craft and install. On the plus side though, they can add unique decorative elements that vinyl and aluminum would be hard pressed to match.
2. Downspouts – These are like your drain pipes for the kitchen sink. They allow the water collected in your gutters to safely drain away. They will be crafted from the same materials used for the gutters and will typically be installed at the ends of each gutter channel.
Just like your kitchen drain, it will be important to keep these clean so rainwater can flow freely from your gutters and that’s where the next component comes into play.
3. Gutter Guards – Made of stainless-steel, vinyl, or plastic coated wire mesh they work similar to the strainer in your kitchen sink. The strainer prevents food scraps and other materials from getting into and blocking your drain pipes, gutter guards are meant to keep leaves, twigs and other materials from entering your gutters and clogging up the works.
"The use of Gutter Guards does not eliminate the need to periodically clean out your gutters"
4. Downspout Extensions – At the bottom end of each downspout, a section is added that will allow the draining water to be directed safely away from your home and landscape. These are made from the same material as the downspout they are attached to and are typically finished off with a bit of wire screening that prevents animals from entering and nesting. If you want to collect rain water, these downspouts will be used to direct the water into a cistern or catch basin.
5. Hangers – These are the parts that hold the entire rain gutter system together. They will keep the gutters secured to the fascia board and will be designed to hold the weight of the gutters and the water that collects in them. The design of these hangers is most often indiscreet and they blend in and go unnoticed. However, they also can be used as a design element that adds beauty to the gutter system and roof line.
Hangers are designed and rated to carry the load of gutters that are properly catching and channeling water. Gutters that are clogged and full of debris and water can overload not only the hangers but cause damage to fascia they are attached to.
Now, let’s talk about the 3 key benefits of installing rain gutters:
1. Rain Gutters protect your home and your landscape;
When rainwater falls directly off the edge of an roof it lands at the line near your foundation and drenches the soil. This water is now collecting and running against the exterior walls of your foundation. Those foundations walls will likely have had some form of moisture barrier added but it is unlikely the barrier was designed to deal with so much water all at once. Water pooling near your foundation can cause the foundation to settle, flowing water can erode along or under the foundation. Both can cause problems with settling and lead to structural damage.
The falling rainwater also tends to wash out landscapes. An unfinished roof-line acts like a waterfall and the force of the water quickly erodes the soil, exposes roots and drowns plants. Rain gutters prevent this by directing water to the downspouts and away from your home.
Rain gutters also protect your siding from mold, mildew and rot. Your siding has 2 primary purposes. It protects your home from the elements and adds beauty. That siding will be damaged and eventually destroyed by rainwater that runs directly off your roof.
2. Rain Gutters add beauty;
Like shutters on windows or that sidelight at your front door, they add a finishing touch. That touch may be subtle when your gutters are designed to blend into the roof or siding, or they can stand out. They can create a sharp transition from the roof to the siding that calls attention to the distinct lines of your home.
Wood gutters are often used to add architectural details that were common on classic homes built as far back as the 1600’s. Today’s homes tend to shy away from these because of the additional time and expense needed to create them but when they are added, you can’t help but admire their beauty.
Copper gutters are another interesting choice. They can be finished so they remain bright and shiny or left natural so they develop a pleasant patina of green, like the Statue of Liberty, over time. Either way, they will get noticed so if you’re looking for something that delivers a real “Wow” factor, this will get it done.
Finally, there is galvanized steel and in terms of adding beauty, these rain gutters can be finished any way you wish. Their real advantage though is their durability. They will last much longer and maintain their good looks better than most any other material you choose.
3. Rain Gutters are Eco-friendly;
As we become more environmentally aware and actively look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment, we need to recognize the critical role rainwater collection can play. In fact, there are some places where water is so scare that collecting rainwater is either required or requirements are being considered.
Your roof provides an expansive surface that is easily used to collect rainwater. Gutters can provide the channel for that rain water to flow. Downspouts can be used to direct that rainwater into a cistern or catch basin. A simple pump can be used to move that water into your home or it can be used to irrigate your landscape and gardens when rainfall is scarce.
So, now you know what they are and 3 key reasons why you should install and keep them well maintained. Rain Gutters can play an important role in keeping your house safe from water damage. They can help beautify your home. They can help reduce your impact on our environment. Don’t underestimate the humble rain gutter, it’s far more important than you think.