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How to Choose and Install the Best Seamless Guttering for Your Home

Updated on January 2, 2010

Regardless of the type of roof you’re planning to install, proper guttering should never be overlooked. Rainwater usually flows from every side of your home when it rains. With appropriate rain gutter protection, the gutters collect the rainwater that falls on your roof and help guide it through a downspout to the ground. Some homeowners go a step further and collect water from the downspout in a rain barrel or a water conservation unit to water the lawn and garden or flush toilets.

The two major types of rain gutters on the market are traditional, sectional gutters and the more modern seamless guttering systems. Many old houses with traditional rain gutters are upgraded with the seamless gutters. Old traditional gutters tend to be leaky due to the abundance of welded joints. Copper, galvanized steel, and aluminum guttering are common materials for seamless gutters, which do not have any breaks and are far less likely to leak. A solid roof with a good gutter installation ensures that the roof design works as intended and protects your home from the weather elements.

photo by Naztrida @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/naztrida/
photo by Naztrida @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/naztrida/
Photo by holrob @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/holrob/
Photo by holrob @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/holrob/

Benefits of Copper Guttering

Eco friendly – Copper is a 100% recyclable, green building material. Copper gutters lower the homeowner’s carbon footprint and reduces environmental impact.

All natural – Copper is a natural material essential to animals, plants, and humans alike. Copper is safe, non-toxic construction material that does not build up in the human body compared to lead and other products.

Durability – Unlike many other building materials, copper does not corrode when exposed to weather. In fact, copper defends itself by developing a protective film over time, referred to as a green patina, ensuring corrosion resistance and durability in any climate.

Longevity – Copper used in the form of guttering is expected to last at least a hundred years. In most cases, that is longer than the building it protects. When the building is torn down, the copper can be recycled over and over for other uses.

Ease of installation – installing copper gutters require no special tools and can be installed by most do-it-yourself enthusiasts and competent handypersons. Minimal effort is required to quickly join the gutter profiles together and apply a silicone sealant and copper pop rivets.

Low maintenance – copper requires almost no maintenance or cleaning other than occasional debris removal that may fall into guttering systems that do not have a gutter guard.

Cost effective – copper is one of the most reasonable, competitively priced building materials on the market over the life of a home or building.

Safety and health – With increased awareness of environmental issues along with growing concerns for the health and well-being of construction and maintenance workers, copper continues to be a safe, affordable natural guttering and roofing material for the foreseeable future.

Excellent for water conservation – Copper naturally acts as a fungicide and kills algae, which reduces harmful growths like lichen, algae, and moss. Thus, a copper gutter system helps keep gutters clean, free from obstructions, and is perfect to harvest and conserve water.

The Many Sectional and Seamless Guttering Styles and Materials

With a downturn in the economy, more homeowners choose to remodel their existing homes rather than finance a new home mortgage. During times of recession, when housing and real estate markets struggle, the demand for home improvement and home remodeling services tend to increase. With the more favorable option to remodel, many owners elect to replace the roofing, guttering, doors and windows on the exterior of their houses and buildings.

The installation of proper and functional guttering on any home is a valuable investment.  Well maintained gutter systems trap and guide rain water away from the foundation of your home.  This process prevents water from settling near and under your home thus also preventing sink holes and flooding of basements.  If your home is retaining water either around the perimeter or inside a basement or garage then it may be time to replace all existing gutters with a new and higher quality guttering system complete with gutter guards.

There are many types and qualities of rain gutters to choose from in today’s market.  K-style or half round are the basic styles which can be made of different types of copper, steel, aluminum, zinc, or vinyl.  Some materials are more expensive because they are also more durable.  Regardless of the type of material you choose, proper installation and function is key.  A good guttering job consists of no leaks or over spills and ensures that all rainwater is being diverted away from your home 

Choosing the right guttering for you home can be sometimes be confusing so getting advice from a professional is always a good idea.  It is wise to speak to someone at the home improvement store or consult with a local contractor on the best way to get your particular guttering job completed.  You will have a few important decisions to make in the planning process so it is always a good idea to ask for help when needed.

There are two basic types of gutter assembly.  Sectional gutters are less expensive and are created by the gluing or snapping of separate sections.  Unfortunately, the meeting point of the separate sections is where leaks can happen.  Seamless gutters are more expensive because they do not have as many seams; therefore they have much fewer leaks.  Although seamless gutter cost more, they are clearly the number one choice by homeowners.

When choosing which material to use, you will find that vinyl is less expensive than other materials.  Vinyl is, however, less durable especially in colder weather or areas that are exposed to large amounts of sunlight.  The vinyl eventually becomes brittle, causing it to crack.  Metal is the number one choice of material for gutters.  Steel and copper are the most expensive but aluminum gutters are just as durable and more affordable.  Always keep in mind that quality is more important than appearance especially since guttering systems add both value and longevity to your home. 

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    • Daniel Roo profile image

      Daniel Roo 7 years ago from Southern England (United Kingdom)

      Great article and clearly written by a professional writer.

      Seamless gutters do indeed have many advantages, no joints generally means no leaks. The only problem with these gutters is when it comes to repairs. For example, if a tile slips from the roof and damages the gutter then the whole section needs to be replaced. If you have a 20 or 30 metre length then that's going to cost some! With the old style guttering you can replace only the damaged section.

      Personally I prefer the copper gutters that come in 8ft sections (here in the United Kingdom at least) as they add character to the home and unlike the aluminium ones they are quite sturdy.

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