Installing and Maintaining Guttering

Keep your guttering in good condition

Guttering or rain gutters are exterior drainage of your home. The rain gutters channel rain water away from the house. Installed properly and effectively, guttering can keep the basement, crawl space, protect exterior walls from backsplash rot and stains, and shield the doors and windows of your house from water permeation and damage.

Imagine trying to walk out the main door during a heavy downpour. With rain pounding on your roof and spilling over the eaves, walking out from the inside to the outside of the house (and vice-versa) would be like passing under a mini waterfall. Without guttering, there will be no exterior drainage for the rain water to be properly coursed away from the house. Guttering is installed along the eaves of roofs. Rainwater on the roof collects and flows down straight to the gutters placed at the roof's eaves. The guttering is sloped towards one end of the gutter's length where a downspout is situated to transport the rainwater on the gutter to a catch basin that is connected to the main storm drain. In some households, the downspout is connected to rain barrels so that the collected water can be stored and used for other purposes, i.e., watering plants.

A roof without guttering can cause undue water damage to the whole house structure. The soil around the house itself might erode and cause damage to the masonry and foundations. Even the concrete driveway and pathway can be greatly affected by rainwater. Concrete could crack and erode over a period of time too most especially if it's constantly wet.

Rainwater hitting your head could sometimes be welcoming but not when it's frozen and in the likeness of stalactites. Guttering is essential for you and your home's safety.

Rain gutters need not be an eyesore. Its design could be aesthetically integrated with the overall design on your house and no one will be wiser. There are ways to hide guttering and its accompanying downspout from the house's elevation. All it would take is a little imagination on your part and a lot of real planning and designing on the part of the architect.


Types of Guttering According to Materials

If you are in the process of installing new guttering or if you are set to repair or replace your rain gutters, there are several materials that you can opt for. Steel gutters can last forever as long as you maintain them. Copper gutters are aesthetically pleasing and are durable too. They are easy to maintain but are susceptible to discoloration. Aluminium gutters are lightweight and very affordable. They can hold up rainwater well but they require constant maintenance. Vinyl gutters are very lightweight and is almost maintenance free. They come in a variety of colours and are quite easy to install. The major drawback is that it's very flimsy as it's readily affected by heat and cold.

Installing New Gutters

Putting up or replacing gutters is not an impossible job to do for a regular DIY-er. Here is a general overview on how to install new gutters.

1. Measure the length of the gutter run. Determine how many downspouts your system needs. If the previous system worked quite well, then you basically just need to replace the old guttering. Calculate the eave slope. For every 10 feet of gutter you need at least a ¼ inch slope. This is the minimum slope requirement as anything less will not work well especially during heavy rains. Use a chalk line to mark the slope.

2. Choose the type of material you want to use for the guttering. Buy the gutters and the necessary material and tools to do the project. Cut your gutters into the right lengths. If you are using aluminium, you need the tin scissors to do the job. Make sure you cut straight.

3. Attach the guttering by hanging them on the fascia board. There are gutter hangers that you can purchase for that. You can place the hangers at 600mm apart and at least 150mm from the end of the gutter. Attach the hangers to the gutter while it is still on the ground and not when you and the gutter are 10 feet from the ground. Take each section of the gutter up to the eaves and attach the brackets and hangers to the fascia.

4. After attaching the gutters, position the downspouts but make sure you have cut down the downspout to its proper length. Once you have positioned the downspouts, cut holes in the gutter where the downspout will be connected. When the downspout and gutter are well aligned and in position, use silicone to waterproof the joints. Attach the length of the downspout to the exterior wall with mounting straps. Make sure all seams in the guttering have been sealed with silicone sealant. Test the gutter and downspout by doing a water test using an ordinary hose.

Maintaining Gutters

Take the time to maintain your gutters and downspouts. Proper maintenance can increase the lifespan of your guttering. An easy and inexpensive way to maintain your gutters is by cleaning them from debris in the form of dead leaves and twigs at least twice a year. Rotting leaves and twigs can rust aluminium and metal gutters. Debris of any kind can also clog the downspout and cause an overflow of rainwater from the gutters to the house's interior. To prevent the downspout from clogging, you can install a leaf strainer. For further prevention, you can place leaf guards on the whole run length of the gutters. The leaf guards basically hold the leaves and other debris up on the guards while the rest of the rainwater flows freely down the drainage.

If you properly clean the house gutters, then that is one preventive way of gutter maintenance. Check the rest of the system periodically for rust and holes.