Guttering and Guttering MaterialsGutters are often taken for granted, but they are actually important for protecting our homes from water damage. If your house doesn't have gutters, water may seep into the sides of the house and cause the walls and the windows to rot. It also helps you avoid passing through a mini-waterfall when you leave the house in a heavy downpour.
It is best to install new gutters when your roof is in excellent condition. If you are planning to get re-roofing done, you might as well install new gutters to match.
What kind of guttering is right for you?
There are many kinds of guttering available at hardware supply stores, so there is definitely at least one that will suit your home.
Aluminium guttering has always been the most popular, however. The galvanised type is sturdy, but it must be regularly cleaned and requires some type of finish as it is unpainted. As a general consensus, metal guttering is popular for most homeowners, but they are prone to leaking, clogging and they add more weight to the roofing system.
Vinyl guttering was specifically manufactured for DIY purposes, as it is easy to install. It can easily be snapped or glued together and lightweight. Unfortunately, they tend to crack and become brittle in hot weather, so vinyl is not recommended for homes in hot climates.
If you want cheap guttering, then plastic may be a good option. Unfortunately, it is not as durable as the other types. This is because when plastic guttering is subjected to extremely hot or cold weather, it gets damaged easily.
Guttering comes in a variety of colours, as well as connectors and fittings. The K-style is preferred by most homeowners, although the half-round style is also another option. Guttering sizes usually come in 4", 5" and 6". If you require a larger-sized guttering, just check with your local building supply store, as they may have something available. If you prefer to have less joints in your guttering, then you may do well with continuous guttering. However, continuous guttering is best installed by a professional gutter installation company.
What guttering materials do you need?
As with any other home improvement project, you will need to make sure you have everything you need before you start the gutter installation. Here is a list of materials you may require.
The guttering itself
- Downspout - The downspout is the gutter attachment that helps bring the water down the side of the house. The water capacity of the guttering system is actually not dependent on the gutter size, but on the size of the downspout.
- Elbow - The elbow is attached to the downspout and sets its direction to 45°.
- Mitre - This is installed to change the direction of the gutter flow. For an inside turn of the gutter, use an outside mitre. Consequently, an inside mitre should be used for an outside turn.
- End cap - This is used for stopping the run of the gutter.
- Spire and Ferrule - The spike is placed inside the ferrule, which helps make sure that the width of the gutter is consistent throughout the run.
- Strap - This is used to attach the downspout to the house's side.
- Gutter Leaf Guard - Leaves my block the rainwater from getting into the gutter, so attach a gutter leaf guard on top of the gutter.
- Splash Block - If the grade of soil around the house is already pitched away from the foundation of the house, then you may use a splash block to divert the water away from the foundation.
Getting the gutter installed by professionals
If you would like to ensure that your guttering system is fitted in correctly and that you are willing to pay for it, then hiring professionals may be a good idea. Guttering that is installed professionally is custom-fitted, may be soldered and/or sealed with rivets, as well as have fewer joints. Before professionals install the guttering, they take many factors into consideration first. Examples of these factors are the kind of roofing materials is used on your house, what type of guttering system would match your house's appearance best, the most appropriate location of the downspout, the best way to attach the guttering system to the house that makes the least damage, et cetera. The good thing about getting a professional to do the job is that they can give you options and recommendations on what kind of guttering systems would suit your home and your budget.
You should not just hire a gutter installer off the street, as anyone can start a gutter installation business as long as they can afford the seamless gutter machine. It is advisable that you do your research first, check references and get at least three quotations to compare with each other. If one quote is much lower than they others, then check their details more closely.
Installing the guttering yourself
After choosing and collecting your materials, you may begin with the guttering system installation. DIY gutter installation is risky and it is advisable that this is left to professionals. Homeowners who install the guttering themselves get mixed results, but this does not mean that they will not be able to do the job properly on their own.
Upon installing the gutters, make sure that they slope at a half inch downward angle for every 10 feet. If your guttering reaches at least 40 feet, you can start at the middle and slope the guttering down the sides to the downspouts or place the downspout in the middle and slope from the sides of the house towards it.
Here is a short guide on how to install the gutters yourself.
- Map out your gutter system installation by snapping layout lines beneath the fascia.
- Attach the fascia brackets along the rafter tails.
- Saw the gutters to length by using a hacksaw.
- Attach the end caps to the ends of the gutter.
- Cut holes for the downspout.
- Place the gutter on the brackets.
- Connect the joints at the corners by using mitres.
- Finally, connect the downspout to the gutter.
A regular DIY-er would have no trouble installing or replacing gutters. However, if you don't have any experience in guttering, it's better to call in handyman for the work.