Gutters are designed to protect your home from water damage. They ensure water flows properly off the roof instead of running down the side of your home. In doing so, they help prevent stains on the siding and cracks in the foundation.
If your gutters are damaged or leaking, consider having them replaced. The first step is to call a gutter company and schedule an appointment for an estimate. Review the following terms, and you’ll have an easier time deciphering and discussing your estimate.
A downspout is the vertical tube which carries water from the horizontal gutters down to the ground. Gutters need to be gently sloped towards the downspout to ensure water flows in the right direction. Depending on your landscaping, your gutter installer may also recommend downspout extenders. These longer tubes carry water further away from the base of your home. This way, the water won’t damage your landscape or trickle down the side of your foundation.
Endcaps are pieces of gutter material fitted on the ends of gutters. Each horizontal gutter will have an end cap on theedge of where they end, just past the downspout. Although endcaps may seem like a small detail, they are essential for the gutter system. They keep water from flowing out the ends of your gutters and dribbling down your siding.
The fascia is actually part of your home’s siding system, not part of the gutter. Fascia is the siding panel sitting just under your gutters. The gutters attach to it. Your siding contractor may tell you they plan on attaching the gutters to your fascia. If your fascia is not in great shape, your contractor may tell you they need to replace the fascia along with your gutters. You need strong fascia to hold the gutters in place.
If your gutter installer uses the word “gauge,” they are probably referring to the thickness of your gutter material. The larger the gauge, the thicker your gutters. For example, a 0.32 gauge gutter is thicker than an 0.27 gauge gutter. If you are concerned about high winds or tree branches, your gutter company may recommend higher-gauge gutters. They’re simply more durable and less likely to break in a storm.
Some homeowners are under the impression that gutters are made from a specific material, such as aluminum or steel. But the true definition of a gutter is a “trough that catches water running off your roof.” So, gutters can really be made from any material. Of course, certain materials work better than others, so most gutters are made from aluminum, steel, or vinyl.
Hangers are the fasteners used to attach the gutters to your home. If some of your gutters appear to be falling off, it could be because the hangers are broken. Sometimes, your gutter contractor may just need to replace the hangers — not the entire gutter system. However, if you need new gutters, your installer will be sure to use strong hangers. Gutters can only protect your home if the hangers holding them in place are strong and durable.
Pitch is how much the gutters slope. Gutter systems with a high pitch look like they are going very downhill. Those with a low pitch only slope a little. From the ground, they might even look like they are straight.
Gutter contractors are conscientious about ensuring they pitch the gutters the right way. They need to be pitched towards the downspout so the water flows in this direction. If gutters are installed with the wrong pitch, water will end up flowing over their sides, defeating the purpose of the gutters.
8. Ice Dams
Ice dams are a common problem in areas where winter brings snow. As the snow melts near the peak of the roof, it trickles down and refreezes in the gutters. Over time, these ice dams grow larger and larger. They can cause the gutters to split, and they can also damage the roof’s edge.
If your home forms ice dams, your gutter contractor may recommend you make some changes to your roof to keep them at bay. Adding more insulation to your roof can help reduce ice melt. In some cases, your roof may need better ventilation. With better vents, your roof will stay cooler, and the snow won’t melt as much.
Now that you’re more familiar with these terms, you should have an easier time talking to a gutter installer. Contact Bill West Roofing in Lee’s Summit if you’re looking for a gutter installation company. Besides installing gutters, we also offer roof replacement and repair services, so we can add vents or attic insulation to your home if needed.