Some roofing systems such as hot tar or torch-down flat roofs may not require separate gutters however, almost all roofs require downspouts and a proper drain system, which takes the water from the roof away from the foundation of the house.
Types of gutters include:
- Seamless aluminum: These are among the best because they require no painting, as galvanized gutters do, and do not crack or bend, as vinyl gutters do. After the installer measures your roof perimeter, aluminum is fed from a spool into a special machine that extrudes the gutters on the spot. Despite the name, these gutters are not entirely seamless, but only have them at inside and outside corners.
- Galvanized tin: Among the most widely used of all gutters, galvanized tin has been around for years. Its only drawback is that is must be painted periodically to prevent rust from penetrating the galvanized coating. The gutters are stiff and strong and hold up well in areas with heavy snowfall.
- Vinyl: These gutters are the easiest for the do-it-yourselfers. They are sold at all large home centers, are light and easy to put up. They usually come in just brown or white colors. Although easy to install, they do not have the look of permanency of metal gutters and are subject to distortion from heat and cold.
- Wood: Although sometimes still found on old houses, wood gutters today are a custom design. They can be beautiful and long lasting with proper care, which means regular cleaning and painting.
- Copper: These are also custom gutters, but beautiful and long lasting.
- Over the years, gutter supports become loose, rusted, and broken. Check them periodically and replace or repair as necessary.
- Be sure to clean leaves and debris from the gutters each fall before the rains / snow begins.
- Check that the downspouts are clear. If not, blast the debris out with a hose stream, or use a plumbing snake.
- Check during a rain for any leaks at the gutter joints. A bead of caulk will often be enough to seal the leak.
- Use leaf guards on the gutters to prevent accumulation. Use strainers over the downspout holes. These can be made from a short strip of rolled chicken wire that is inserted into the downspout hole.