At Northwest Rain Gutter, we want you to be as informed as possible when it comes to gutter installations, repairs and cleaning services which is why we’ve created a Gutter FAQ page that will feature articles about different types of gutters, rain gutter covers and the process of installing a new gutter system on a residential home or commercial building. We cover all of Seattle Area and provide full gutter services including new installations repairs on existing gutters and cleanings. When you need information about aluminum, copper or zinc gutters or want to know the best type of gutter guards for your home or commercial building read through the helpful information provided courtesy if Northwest Rain Gutter.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
You have several options when it comes to choosing a material for your gutters. Copper, zinc, aluminum and steel are all solid choices for gutters on a home or commercial building but aluminum gutters are often cited as being the best choice.
Ideal for seamless gutter systems, aluminum gutters have a number of benefits that a homeowner or building superintendent should take into consideration when planning the installation of a gutter system. Aluminum gutters make up nearly 80% of all gutters installed in the United States and this isn’t just by accident. Able to hold more water than traditional gutters and able to resist rust, aluminum gutters are an inexpensive option for running water away from your roof and are known for being very durable.
Another benefit to choosing aluminum gutters over other materials is the ease with which these gutters can be painted with the color of your choice and made to match the exterior color of your home and roof. Aluminum gutters are also lightweight and much easier to install than steel gutters and other materials that require joint soldering. Aluminum gutters often average between $5 and $9 per linear foot installed and when you factor in the durability of the gutters since rust won’t be a problem you get an effective seamless gutter system that will last. Steel is more durable but when leaves and other debris cause a downspout to clog this causes puddles which lead to rust. Aluminum doesn’t have this problem and gutters installed using aluminum usually last much longer than other systems.
Aluminum gutters also have the advantage of being customizable, meaning the gutters can be shaped to fit any space on the roof or down the side of a house. Other gutters made of copper or steel aren’t as flexible and should your home or commercial building have odd shapes and angles this can create a problem for installation.
Durable, virtually maintenance-free and featuring a vintage look, copper gutters are a popular choice for homes with character and commercial buildings that want a distinct look. Heavier and more durable than aluminum and other gutter materials copper gutters have the benefit of being one of the sturdiest gutter systems available.
The durability of copper makes copper gutters capable of withstanding all types of weather from subzero temperatures in the winter and excessive heat and humidity in the summer. While temperature extremes can weaken cheaper gutter materials, copper is made to withstand all types of condition and hold sturdy so your roof has a dependable gutter system. Once properly installed copper gutters are secured tightly so you won’t have to worry about sagging or gutters that tend to fall off homes.
Some homeowners and building supervisors worry about the maintenance involved with copper gutters. This is not a problem. Copper gutters are virtually maintenance-free and though you will have to clean the gutters on occasion the same holds true for any gutter system since leaves and debris are just a fact of having gutters. However, copper gutters do allow for the installation of protective covering systems that will help keep leaves out of the gutters and prevent clogging of the downspout.
Copper gutters are often chosen for its aesthetic appeal and vintage look it provides homes and buildings. You can choose copper gutter systems in rectangle and rounded molds to match the unique style of your home or office and if you so choose can allow time and weather to create a desired patina look to the gutters. This faded green color looks great on custom homes and buildings that have a traditional stone or brick façade.
Lastly, copper gutters can end up saving you money in the long run. Although copper gutter systems are more expensive than other materials the durability and longevity of the gutters means not having to repair or replace the gutters as often as you would another material so you actually save money.
Over the years many materials have come along to make steel obsolete. Aluminum and vinyl are just two of the more popular gutter materials that you will see on homes and commercial buildings throughout Washington. However, galvanized steel has remained a popular choice for gutter installations and there are several reasons why this material continues to sell.
Steel wouldn’t be around if it didn’t last and that is why many people are still relying on it. Galvanized steel is among the most durable materials available and unlike traditional steel the coating of galvanized steel adds yet another layer of protection to your gutter system to protect it from extreme weather in the winter and summer.
Unlike vinyl and copper that can show dents easily, galvanized steel is very difficult to damage physically. These types of gutters can also resist water, cold, heat and foul weather while holding its shape and continuing to function properly.
Another benefit to using galvanized steel for your home or business gutters is the great value you get for the low cost. Compared to copper and other costly materials, galvanized steel is relatively low and when you factor in the odds that these gutters will stand the test of time (20-30 years often) you are actually paying very little for such an effective gutter system.
Galvanized steel gutters can be used for residential and commercial gutters including factories, university buildings, manufacturing plants and offices.
Gutters can allow rainwater to flow off your roof and prevent damage to your home, but they require ongoing maintenance. Gutters need to be cleaned twice a year to remove leaves, sticks, and other debris that can cause them to become clogged. This can be difficult and time-consuming work if you do it yourself and can be expensive if you hire a contractor to do it for you. One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of gutter maintenance required is to install gutter guards.
Gutter guards are rolls of material, such as mesh, that are fitted onto existing gutters. They can keep leaves and other debris out of the gutters and prevent the gutters, downspouts, and storm water drains from becoming clogged. Gutter guards can be beneficial for several reasons.
Since they prevent many blockages, you can reduce the amount of time or money you will need to spend cleaning your gutters. They will only need to be cleaned every three to five years, rather than twice a year.
Blockages can cause gutters to overflow in heavy rainstorms. This can allow water to enter your house, damage your foundation, and cause stains on the exterior of your home.
Water that gets trapped in gutters can freeze in the winter and cause a blockage. Since gutter guards eliminate standing water, they can also prevent freezing.
Wet debris sitting in gutters can cause them to rust prematurely. Gutter guards eliminate that debris, which prevents rusting and allows gutters to last twice as long.
Gutter guards allow water to flow through gutters and downspouts more quickly. If you have a rainwater tank, it will refill faster, and the water will be cleaner because the gutter guards will filter out debris and contaminants.
Mice, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and spiders often breed in wet environments inside gutters. Gutter guards eliminate stagnant water, which makes the gutters less attractive as a breeding ground.
During a fire, embers can blow into a gutter and ignite any dry material inside it. Since gutter guards eliminate that material, they can help prevent fires from spreading, especially if you install metal gutter guards that are rated for fire protection.
Versatile, lightweight and corrosive resistant, zinc gutters are becoming more popular with general contractors. Unlike copper gutter systems that include the risk of wash-off lead, zinc gutters are more ecologically safe and relatively inexpensive. Combined with the integrity of the finish zinc gutters can last for decades without needing anything more than a routine cleaning. At Connecticut Gutter, LLC we feature the Rheinzink brand of zinc gutters where all the gutter seams are soldered shut to ensure water-tight longevity. A safe and sturdy alternative to copper, zinc gutters can make a fine gutter system for your home or business.
A good reason to consider zinc gutters over copper gutters is that many in the industry think it is only a matter of time before lead-coated copper gutter systems are banned by the government for the risk it poses. Those who wish to have a traditional looking gutter will see how zinc can perform up to the same standards as copper without the danger of lead. The blue-gray color of zinc blends in well with slate roofs and can match up well with traditional homes and even modern style buildings that favor metal and steel materials.
The Rheinzink brand of zinc gutters is popular for a number of reasons including a perfect fit and reliable functioning, economical and maintenance free, being made from a natural material and long lasting durability. Rheinzink is an alloy of quality zinc with a purity of 99.995% which also contains copper and titanium. With excellent ductility and a wide range of seam and system techniques, Rheinzink zinc gutter systems is ideal for homes and commercial buildings and offers an aesthetically pleasing drainage system for your roof.
Other benefits to using Rheinzink gutter systems is that it includes pre-fabricated parts that are manufactured to a high degree of exactness and included gutters, angles, downpipes, connections and fillings. Rheinzink is temperature resistant, non-combustible and does not decay. Virtually maintenance-free, Rheinzink zinc gutters are great gutter systems for traditional homes and contemporary buildings.
Gutters direct rainwater away from a house and protect the siding, windows, doors, and foundation from water damage. You should inspect and clean your gutters in the spring and fall. Gutters and downspouts need to be kept free of leaves and other debris. Not cleaning gutters can make rainwater overflow, cause rust, and eventually pull the gutters down.
You can clean your gutters yourself if you can work safely from a ladder or the roof. If your house is more than one story high, you should hire a gutter cleaning service for the job.
Use a sturdy ladder. A tall stepladder is easier to use than an extension ladder. Place the ladder on a firm, level surface. If you have to lean the ladder against a gutter, you can protect the gutter by placing a short piece of 2×4 inside it. Stand with your hips between the rails of the ladder. Do not lean over the sides or stand on the top two rungs.
If your roof has a very low pitch, you can work from the rooftop, but only if the conditions are extremely safe. Don’t work on the roof if conditions are wet, icy, or windy. Wear non-slip shoes. Don’t lean over the edge or work near power lines.
Wear heavy work gloves to protect your hands from sharp metal or screws. You should also wear safety glasses or goggles. Use a bucket to collect debris. Place a drop cloth on the ground to protect areas below the gutters. Before you start to clean your gutters, rake leaves and debris off the roof, or they will fill up the gutters after you clean them.
Start at a drain outlet near the end of the gutter and use a narrow garden trowel to remove loose debris, working away from the outlet. This is easiest when the debris is slightly damp. Scoop the debris into a bucket.
Mount a high-pressure nozzle at the end of a hose and use it to wash out the gutters, working toward the drain outlet. Try to avoid splattering mud. You can use a stiff scrub brush to remove encrusted dirt.
If water doesn’t flow freely down the drainpipes, flush them with a hose. If that doesn’t work, use a plumber’s auger (snake) to remove debris from the bottom or push it down from the top.
If water runs through your gutters slowly, you may need to adjust the slope. Gutters should slope toward downspouts at a rate of ¼ inch per 10 feet.
Your gutters should direct water well away from your house. If they don’t, add downspout extenders or concrete or plastic splash blocks.
If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, consider running your downspouts into a dry well. It should be a hole two to four feet wide and three feet deep or a 55-gallon drum with both ends removed and filled with rocks that is buried and punctured with holes. Check your local building codes before installing a dry well.
Check your downspouts for rust, flaky or peeling paint, or leaks. Be sure the downspouts are tightly affixed to the fascia boards and check the fascia boards for dry rot or other damage. Replace them with boards treated with a preservative, if necessary.
Gutter guards can catch leaves and keep them out of your gutters. They can dramatically reduce the frequency of required cleaning, but they are not a complete solution. If you decide to install gutter guards, be sure the screens can be removed easily for cleaning.
Unless the gutters on your home or office are literally falling off the roof, most homeowners and business owners can’t tell if their gutters need replacing. Many people tend to neglect their gutters and only pay attention when water is pouring over the top or leaking through the ceiling.
Even if you are not a handyman around the house there are some sure signs that will tip you off and let you know your gutters are in need of being replaced.
Cracks: It doesn’t take a detective to spot cracks in your gutters. There are two easy ways to spot cracks in your gutter system: doing a sight inspection or noticing leaking water during a rain storm. While small cracks may not seem like much of a problem, over time these cracks will widen and may start to damage the roof of your home including the shingles. Don’t let small cracks go untreated.
Peeling Paint: If you notice the paint peeling around your gutters this is another sign that your gutters are starting to fail. Pain often peels from continuous exposure to water meaning your gutters are not diverting water away the way it should. Most paint will be able to withstand the average wear and tear but if the paint is fairly new and is starting to peel, take a closer look since this may be a sign your gutters need replacing.
Mildew at the Foundation: When people are looking for problems with their gutters they often look up. However, signs around your home office foundation may also tip you off about faulty gutter conditions. For instance, if you notice pools of water or mildew around the foundation of your home this is a sign that the water being funneled through the gutter is not flowing far enough away from the foundation. If left untreated, enough water can easily damage the foundation and the cost for repairs is quite expensive.