Some people have a tendency to regard rain gutters on their homes as optional, a luxury some folks choose but which aren't strictly necessary, and while this might be true in a limited number of cases, the vast majority of homes truly do need the protection a rain gutter provides. Rain gutters are an important component in a home's residential roofing system. What exactly are rain gutters, and what do they do?
Rain gutters collect, channel and redirect rain as it runs off of a home's roof. Typically, the water falls from the roof into the gutter at the roof's edge, which is installed at an imperceptible slant, rerouting the water to a downspout. The downspout either ends in a cement splash block designed to prevent the water from eroding the ground, or in a drain pipe that runs beneath the ground, further diverting the water to a more suitable area in the landscape for disbursement.
By rerouting the rain water, any number of moisture related types of property damage are prevented. When rain is allowed to freely fall from the roof and puddle around the home, the soil around the house erodes, landscape plantings drown, foundations (and sometimes the outer walls of the home itself) shift and crack, and water accumulates in basements and crawl spaces. This creates conditions that are attractive to snakes, termites and other insects and to mold and mildew. If there are any points of entry in the home's HVAC duct work, it's possible for the mold and mildew spores to get inside the ducts where they're then blown throughout the interior of the home each time the heat or air conditioning fan comes on.
Remember the childhood ditty, "For want of a nail, a shoe was lost, for want of a shoe, a horse was lost, for want of a horse, a soldier was lost, for want of a soldier, a battle was lost, for want of a battle the war was lost?" So it goes with rain gutter protection for your home. Rain gutters prevent a host of unwanted potential problems.
Once installed, rain gutters need routine maintenance, such as gutter cleaning on an annual or semi-annual basis, and gutter repair on an as-needed basis. Especially in yards where there are many trees, leaves and pine needles tend to blow upon the roof and are carried by the rain down into the gutters. If not cleaned out, they tend to stagnate there and rot, blocking the flow of water and defeating the purpose for which they were installed in the first place. Additionally, debris filled gutters accumulate weight that can eventually cause them to pull away from the house, causing even more damage, as well as expensive repairs. Seamless gutters, which cost more initially, will have no seams; therefore, they will likely not require as many repairs as they age as will seamed, or joined gutters.
The fact that quality, well maintained rain gutters also function to keep you dryer in a rainstorm begins to seem like a fringe benefit! There is more at stake than just staying dry, much more. Quality, well installed gutters prevent damage, look attractive, and add to the value of your home and property. They are not just a luxury for most people, but an absolute necessity.