One of the most important features of any home — the rain gutters — are also one of the features that is the most often overlooked, downplayed, or simply ignored. Gutters are so extremely crucial to the maintenance of a home, however, that it should be a crime to not give them the attention they deserve.
A gutter, in unnecessar-ese, is an exterior home drainage assistance device. In other words, it sits on the outside of your home, assisting the forces of gravity, momentum, inertia, and fluid dynamics in the process of getting water off of your roof safely. Without gutters, water runoff can damage almost every part of the outside of your home, but that’s just the beginning.
Water that runs down the outside of your home doesn’t just stop and disappear into an aquifer when it hits the ground. In fact, it gathers around the basement walls and/or foundation of your home, where it can seep inside or erode the foundation itself. If there’s one thing that’s harder to deal with than a flooded basement, it’s a shifting foundation. Nothing quite matches the feeling of walking through a house that’s tilted, even just a tiny bit, due to rain damage.
Fortunately, we have gutters. Gutters and downspouts are inexpensive, relatively easy to install, and, when done properly, can add beauty to your home. Gutters come in several basic materials — vinyl, steel, copper, and aluminum are the most common — and each material has its own pros and cons. Research a little to find out which would be best for you and your home.
One thing to remember when installing rain gutters is that they should be placed so that the roof overhangs the gutter by about half. The downspouts should be positioned so that the water runs far enough away from the house so that they don’t create puddles that reach the side of the house; that keeps the water away from the basement and/or foundation.
Once they’re installed and working properly, maintained your gutters by cleaning them (or hiring a gutter cleaning service) twice each year — once at the end of summer and once at the beginning of winter.