Every home needs rain gutters. They are an important part of the construction of any house. No one loves them for their aesthetic value, but they protect the beauty of the structure nonetheless, preventing water from streaking and damaging the outside walls and landscaping.

A contractor specialized in gutter installation can be a great help in deciding just what will be needed to get just the right gutter, as well as determine what optional components are necessary. For instance, a house that doesn?t have any nearby trees will have no need of a leaf screen.

Gutters: Channels and Downspouts

There are two basic parts to a gutter, the channel and the downspout. The channel is the trough that goes along the side of the roof to carry the water, while the downspouts spill the gathered water into a specific place. A gutter comes in various forms and can be made out of differing materials as well.

  • Size ? Channels can be four to six inches in width, while downspouts come in three sizes ? small, medium, and large. The larger sizes are more expensive, not only because they take more material, but because they are more efficient. Wide channels and downspouts are less likely to clog.
  • Shape ? There are two basic forms for a gutter to take ? U-shape and K-shape. A gutter contractor can go into more detail as to the differences between each shape and how they work.
  • Material ? Wood is a beautiful option, but this material is more likely to be affected by the elements. More durable choices are galvanized steel, vinyl, and aluminum.

Gutter Maintenance

There is more to a gutter than just installing them. They have to be kept up, as well. A well-maintained gutter will not only keep the house in better shape, but make it more valuable on the whole.

  • Clean the Gutters Regularly ? Inspect and clean the gutters every spring and autumn. Leaf screens may be necessary if there any trees nearby. Trees also make it necessary to clean the gutters more often. If a gutter gets clogged and filled with debris, it may become heavy enough to detach from the roof.
  • Examine Physical Integrity ? Chipped paint, rust, holes, and other signs of wear can be dangerous for the gutter. These are reasons to call a gutter professional. Such problems should be repaired immediately before they become worse.
  • Don?t Forget the Downspouts ? The downspouts also need to be checked, just like the channels. They can also become clogged, and the gutters will fill up with water instead of shedding it. This can damage the gutter from the weight of the water. Mosquitoes also tend to breed in standing water left in a blocked gutter.