The number one thing to ask yourself when you are shopping for new gutters is, “Why?” This important question will help you answer the questions you’ll have before making your ultimate selection.
In our experience as a local gutter service, here are just three reasons homeowners might be shopping for new rain gutters:
An Upgrade – Switching out the gutters can significantly impact the curb appeal of your house, enhancing its look in a more subtle way than painting or new landscaping.
A New Home – Building a home comes with a lot of of decisions about both appearance and functionality. Rain gutters are no exception. Choosing the first gutters that go on your home is important because they will need to last at least 15-20 years or more.
A Renovation – If the roof on your home is damaged, the gutters might have to be replaced. Or, they could just be aging and need to be replaced with new ones.
You know why you are replacing the rain gutters, but the reason often has underlying motivations…
You want to sell your house.
You want to renovate but not spend a lot of money.
Your landscaping is getting ruined by ineffective gutters.
Figuring out your “Why” will often provide direction while you are shopping for new gutters. You’ll know if certain features are must-haves or if you can go with a less expensive product.
Here are the major questions you’ll want to consider when it’s time to purchase new gutters.
HOW TO CHOOSE GUTTER MATERIALS?
The best part of choosing new gutters is choosing the materials. Gutters can blend in or stand out against your home, depending on your personal preference.
These are the options you will have, in order of cost:
VINYL & PLASTIC GUTTERS
Vinyl and plastic are economical choices that are durable in most cases, except in cold climates, where they will become brittle. Vinyl and plastic gutters are efficient in most regions of the country, and they are available in a wide variety of colors.
METAL & ALUMINUM GUTTERS
These mid-priced materials are attractive and durable. Both materials come in a wide range of colors too. They are fairly light and are not hard to install. Galvanized metals (coated with zinc to protect them) will fend off rust and corrosion even better.
COPPER & STAINLESS STEEL GUTTERS
Of all the rain gutter materials, copper and stainless steel cost the most, but are the most attractive as well. Homeowners in Pittsburgh who purchase these options are looking for an elegant touch, and that’s exactly what they’ll get!
WHAT ARE IMPORTANT GUTTER FEATURES?
Most of the gutter types above offer both of these options below:
SECTIONAL OR SEAMLESS GUTTERS
Sectional gutters – These gutters are made in smaller sections, so they are easy to install. In fact, many homeowners choose to install their own sectional gutters. This type is the less expensive choice, and they have more seams, which means more sections where leaks can occur.
Seamless gutters – Seamless gutters will need to be installed by a professional contractor because they require specialized equipment. They are more expensive to buy and to install, but less likely to leak or wear down than sectional gutters.
K-STYLE OR HALF-ROUND GUTTERS
K-Style – K-Style gutters are popular because they look excellent with every style of home. They are better for angled roofs, which are more common. This attributes to their popularity. And, they are not hard to install. Most homeowners are capable enough to install their own K-Style gutters.
Half-Round – Half-Round gutters are traditionally made of copper and steel, and they complement rounded roofs, popular prior to 1950, so they provide homes a luxurious, classic appearance. However, more modern styles made from vinyl and plastic provide the best of both worlds, because they are both lightweight and functional. Half-Round gutters are a lot harder to install, but easier to clean, when the time comes for gutter cleaning.
DOES CLIMATE AFFECT GUTTERS?
The climate of the city you live in will dictate a lot about the gutters you should install. Like we mentioned, certain materials don’t hold up well in extremely cold climates.
The single most important climate factor is how much work the gutters will have to do. Basically, how much water are your gutters going to need to withstand?
Professional gutter companies in Pittsburgh can take a lot of factors into consideration to get a good idea of the size and the type of gutters that are going to work the best for your home.
WHAT IS THE FORMULA?
Luckily, the formula professional roofing contractors use is not a secret. Here are the pieces of specific information you will need to decide how large your gutters should be:
Average Rainfall – This statistic is available online on the National Weather Service or the U.S. Weather Bureau website. You should also find the maximum rainfall intensity for the city you live in. This is the max amount of rain that can happen within a 5-minute span.
Roof Square Footage – Square footage is a standard length times width calculation for standard roofs. But, you will want to figure all the surfaces of multi-faceted roofs.
Roof-Pitch Factor – A roof that is steep will collect more wind-blown rain than a less sloped roof. Figuring out your roof-pitch factor will help you estimate how much rainfall will actually be collected, regardless of the rainfall statistics found online.
DOES IT SNOW WHERE YOU LIVE?
Snowfall is included in precipitation calculations, but you also want to be aware of the potential for ice dams forming on your roof. If it snows regularly in your state, you need to seek professional guidance about the type of gutters that best prevent ice dams from forming, which might really damage your roof.
Of course, the final question is probably the most important …
HOW TO INSTALL GUTTERS?
You also have to ask yourself if you’re willing to try to do the work yourself, or if you are going to enlist the services of a professional to install your gutters. Professional installation will ensure maximum efficiency, compared to doing it yourself.
Most homeowners should consider paying a little extra for labor, to ensure that the job will be done correctly. An added bonus of hiring Prime Pittsburgh Gutters to install your new gutters is that we will help you answer all your questions about new gutters so that you find the perfect style and type for your home.