Installing gutters can be a difficult process, and installation can be expensive. This article, however, can help guide you through the various options, letting you feel confident that you’re making the right choices for the home that you’re building.
Gutters are available in different sizes and styles. Obviously, this needs to be decided before you can get started on installation.
First, is it a residential or commercial building? Most residences are fine with gutters of 5-6 inches, but a commercial building has a larger roof, and will therefore require larger gutters to accommodate the extra runoff. Next, you’ll need to decide on the gutter style. Common types include the K-style gutter, the half-round, and box gutters. Which style you choose depends partly on aesthetics. For example, box style gutters tend to look good on commercial properties. Part of it will also depend on functionality, however. Box gutters hold the most amount of water, so even for residences, they might be preferred if it’s a wet climate.
You’ll also need to decide what materials to use for your gutters. Aluminum is the most popular choice, as it costs less. Aluminum gutters last about 20-30 years, but can be dented they’re hit by something heavy like a falling branch.
Steel gutters are heavier and more expensive, but they are stronger and last longer. They are galvanized to prevent rusting.
Copper gutters are the most expensive and last the longest. They are beautiful, however, they don’t fit the architectural style of every home.
Planning It Out
Once you’ve decided on a material, style, and size, you can plan out how to install the gutters. You’ll need to measure and record the length of each gutter you need, as well as the location of any downspouts. Downspout location is very important, as you’ll need a space where the collected water can be redirected away from the house. Also, remember you’ll need four feet of extra space for downspout extensions.
Once everything is planned, you can preassemble the parts on the ground at the home. With sectioned gutters the seam should be facing down the slope, so that water doesn’t leak through the connected areas.
Next, you can make the cuts for the downspout tubes. Measure the distance between the corner of the house and the place you plan to put the downspout. Use this measurement to determine where the tube should go, and make the cut.
Lastly, when setting up the gutters, make sure to regularly measure the pitch. You need a little slope (about 1/4 inch lower per 10 feet of gutter). Without this, the gutter system won’t work properly.
If you run into trouble, or if you simply don’t have the tools and materials at your disposal, consider hiring a subcontractor in your area to help out with gutter installation. A good subcontractor will have the tools and expertise necessary to make sure the gutters are installed correctly and functioning properly.
Rain gutters may not be the sexiest part of a new home or commercial building, but they’re a very important part. It’s worth taking the extra time and effort to ensure that the structure your building is protected from the rainy weather in the coming years.