A Basic Guide to Gutters

Although most homeowners give their gutters very little thought, they are actually an extremely important part of any home’s exterior design. Even a single inch of rain would send about 1,900 gallons of water off your roof if you didn’t have gutters! As you read this guide, you’ll find out all sorts of gutter facts that will help you have educated discussions with your contractor next time your gutters need to be repaired or replaced.

The parts of a gutter system

Gutter – The gutter itself is the tube that catches water as it runs off your roof. This is the main portion of a gutter system that is visible when you look at a home.

End cap – An end cap attaches to the end of a gutter, shutting it securely.

Fascia bracket – A fascia bracket supports the underside of a gutter. It is attached to a home’s eaves. The longer a section of gutter is, the more fascia brackets will be needed.

Downspout – The downspout, which can also be called the leader, attaches to the last section of any gutter system and distributes water on the ground.

Downspout bracket – The downspout bracket is used to attach the downspout itself to the exterior wall of a home. This prevents it from being unstable.

Elbow – An elbow is used to alter the direction the downspout is pointing, depending on the nature of the terrain.

Key things to know

Cost – Gutters range in price, depending on what material you choose. Vinyl, aluminum, and coated steel gutters run from $1 per linear foot to about $8 per linear foot. Higher-end options, such as copper and zinc, start around $9 per linear foot and top out around $20 per linear foot.

Lifespan – Some gutters will only last a few years, while others will last for decades. There is no one answer to this because a number of factors, such as the material you chose and how well the gutter system was installed, are at play.

Maintenance – Gutters are fairly low-maintenance, as a general rule. You should generally clean them once a year to prevent them from becoming clogged. If you live in a pine-tree laden area, such as the mountains of North Carolina, cleaning them every six months is advisable.

Material options

Vinyl – Vinyl is the least costly gutter material, costing, on the high end, around $2 per linear foot. Vinyl gutters come in just a couple of colors but can be painted if you so choose. Vinyl is fairly durable, but can crack and break during extremely hot or extremely cold spells. Gutters in this category typically have warranties of 20 years.

Aluminum – Aluminum gutters are among the most popular option on the market. They come in many colors, including styles that are designed to look like copper patina and pricey zinc. Aluminum gutters are very durable and generally have warranties of 25 years. They are priced, depending on how upscale of a style you choose, between $2 per linear foot and $8 per linear foot.

Steel – Because steel rusts, steel gutters are all coated in zinc, zinc-aluminum, or chrome. Zinc-covered, or galvanized, gutters last an average of 10 years before they need to be replaced. Zinc-aluminum styles, also known as Galvalume styles, usually have warranties of 25 years. Chrome-covered, or stainless steel, models will never rust and generally don’t need to be replaced for the life a house. Steel gutters range in price from about $2 per linear foot to $12 per linear foot.

Zinc – Zinc gutters are extremely durable and expand and contract tremendously in areas where the seasons change. Saltwater can affect zinc gutters, but they still last around 30 years in coastal regions; in landlocked areas, they can function perfectly for half a century. Zinc styles cost around $10 per linear foot.

Copper – Copper never rusts, ages well, and will last for about 100 years, no matter what Carolina climate you live in. Copper is also the most expensive gutter material available to consumers. Although it can be found for around $10 per linear foot, it more often costs closer to $20 per linear foot.

If you’re ready to redo your gutter system, talk to Hatch Homes today. Our expert team will help you understand more about how gutters work and teach you about various shapes and accessories that will make your gutter system function ideally for your home. We’re excited to work with you on this project!

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