Because of a wide variety of reasons, making improvements to your home have long-lasting benefits beyond what can be measured strictly in monetary terms. While this is a critical factor, there are other reasons to select quality materials and do home improvements, remodeling and maintenance with a long-term vision in mind.
Having said all of this, we’re talking about rain gutters, right? Yes, even rain gutters need to be selected with care. You’ve likely heard all sorts of stories from friends or neighbors who were trying to save a few bucks and go with some guy working out of the back of his truck running around town. I’m not trying to pick on the little guy who does quality and honest work, it’s just important to know what you are getting that’s all.
Enough about why it is important to look after quality workmanship, now let’s talk materials. We are discussing seamless gutters here or what are sometimes referred to as continuous gutters. The reason is because these gutters are formed from one piece of metal or plastic. If you think about the old type of rain gutter, you will remember that it takes several pieces butted up against one another, attached with some sort of seem and then continue on until the stretch of roof line was covered.
Photo by Metroplex Gutter and Windows a Dallas Rain Gutter and Replacement Window Contractor
This is the traditional way that gutters were made for years. This is because the gutter was stamped and formed in some factory at a specific length, usually 10’, and shipped to the reseller or direct to a job site. There simply was no other way to create a guttering system to catch the water from the roof and send it to one collecting area for drainage and removal away from your home’s foundation. Now there is.
In fact, seamless gutters have been in use for years now. There are many advantages and few disadvantages of using these type of gutter system. The reason that you have gutters in the first place is to safely and efficiently move water from your roof to a place away from your home to prevent any problems with water damage. Water has a sneaky way of finding its way into any fault or break in your home’s envelope. This is especially true with a traditionally mounted rain gutter, because they often attached with nails or screws into the fascia boards of at your roof line.
In addition to this, the seams that exist with a more traditional gutter are potential areas of leakage and failure over time. You cannot always determine where you will put these seams and they may happen to fall in an area where your home is even more susceptible to leaks. This all adds up to a real potential for disaster through water damage. You may not even be aware of this until it is long past the initial stages, requiring much more extensive repairs.
How A Seamless Gutter Solves Your Problem
The solution is to replace those old gutters with a seamless gutter system. These work by creating one long stretch of gutter – hence the term “continuous” – that extend to a point where a bend is necessary, like a corner of your roof. And because there is more flexibility with this system, the few seams that are necessary can be placed in areas where there is less likelihood of causing problems to your home.
Another advantage of a continuous gutter system is that it can be made to fit more precisely for your home. There is less of a cookie-cutter look. Customization is available in a variety of ways with these as well. We mentioned that these gutters can be formed from a plastic-vinyl material or with metals, like copper. The vinyl gutters come in a wide range of colors that can be matched to your homes paint or to blend in with your surrounding landscape. The clean line of a continuous gutter with a matching color scheme as your home is about as good as you can get in hiding an otherwise eyesore of a necessary home accessory.
Keeping in line with this aesthetic appeal of these gutters, let’s turn our attention to the metal styles – aluminum and copper are the most popular in this category. If your home lends itself to them, a copper rain gutter is an absolutely beautiful way to accent your home. With age and weather, your gutters will develop a gorgeous patina. These copper gutters can last anywhere between 50-100 years.
What Do Seamless Gutters Cost?
These types of gutters will cost you more in the short-term, which is why some people overlook their tremendous benefits in the long-term. Your contractor will likely charge you per foot of gutter, with other charges for special cuts, difficult roof lines and other unique custom features of your home. These systems range in cost depending upon materials chosen. For the least expensive, vinyl style, expect to pay somewhere between $3-5 USD per foot. This is for a standard 5” gutter with 2” x 3” downspouts. There are also 3” x 4” downspouts that allow for greater drainage, but cost a little more understandably. For aluminum and galvanized steel styles, you can expect $4-8 USD per foot. Finally, for the top of the line copper gutters, you are looking at more like $25-30 USD. Another unique thing you can add to your gutter downspout is to use a rain chain. Rain chains are simply rings, cups, or bowls made of a variety of materials that can be hung where a traditional downspout would go. When matched with a copper gutter, the look is unparalleled.
Some Disadvantages of Using Seamless Gutters
While the advantages are many, there are still a couple disadvantages. However, you’ll soon see that these have more to do with the initial construction rather than with the gutters themselves. As it pertains to the installation, unlike traditional gutters that you can order in lengths and install yourself – if you are an avid do-it-yourself type
person – these gutters require a professional. This is due to the fact that the machine that makes them requires training and expertise, as well as the fact that they are cut custom to your home. Improper installation will defeat the purpose you are trying to achieve with these ‘tighter fitting’ gutter systems.
And, like all gutters, these still require cleaning and maintenance. Routine cleaning of debris will allow the water to flow properly, preventing back-ups and eventual leakage issues. Remember, just because you’ve chosen the best design by using seamless gutters, doesn’t mean you can neglect the proper cleaning of them.