Rain gutters are the first line of defense in your home's of exterior water management system.
A properly designed and installed gutter system directs water away from your home's foundation, which
- Reduces the risk of wet basements and structural foundation problems,
- Protects against landscape erosion, and
- Improves overall safety by directing water away from the building, sidewalks, and driveways.
A gutter and downspout system has two functions:
- Collect rainwater from the roof, and
- Discharge that water evenly to the ground or to an underground drainage system.
In light rain most basic gutter systems can fulfill these functions. However, a more complex system is needed to sustain function during extreme rain conditions—thunderstorms and heavy storms can have a long duration and rainfall rates of 2 to 10 inches per hour.
The typical builder-grade gutter system found on most homes consists of either 4 1/2" to 5" aluminum gutters with standard 2" × 3" aluminum downspouts. Builders often control their building costs by installing only the bare minimum, typically using a medium-weight (low) .027 gauge aluminum and flashing material, basic lightweight materials to fasten and secure everything to the building, and the least amount of downspouts needed to drain the collected water from the roof and building in average or light rainfall.
While these rain gutter systems are functional during a light rainfall, even new systems can be quickly overwhelmed during heavy rain. As the system ages, the combination of thin material and poor attachment can lead to gutters and downspouts pulling away from the home, bending, shifting, or clogging, further reducing the overall function and appearance of the system.
Newer homes often complicate water removal with architectural features such as multiple roof levels, reverse gables, and steep roof pitches. Traditional homes can also be challenging if the roof configuration and landscape does not allow for the desired downspout placement to properly divert discharged water away from the foundation. In these cases, it is difficult to design a gutter system that functions perfectly in extreme rainfall conditions without taking time to develop a custom design and allocate the appropriate costs. Other times, compromises need to be made with regard to the total number of downspouts, their placement, and incorporating leaf/debris protection systems. Often, the most effective leaf protection or "gutter guard" systems can compromise the gutters’ ability to collect water and function in extreme rainfalls leading to basement water/seepage or even structural problems.
With recent heavy, intense rainfalls, the reality is that homeowners should invest in upgrading their basic system to a custom gutter, downspout, and underground drainage system. Weak gutter and drainage systems are hardly noticed until a problem occurs. A failing drainage system can result in water pooling in or flooding your yard, or seeping into basement or crawl space, causing expensive damage to your possessions, fixtures, and even your home’s foundation. Before investing elsewhere in your home, homeowners should consider protecting your investment from damage caused by a failing drainage system. No one wants to spend the time and money remodeling their basement just to have it ruined by rainwater.
A knowledgeable waterproofing contractor can thoroughly assess both the interior and exterior of your home to evaluate and make suggestions for upgrades or improvements to your current gutter system and drainage configuration, such as:
- Revised downspout placement,
- Installing additional downspouts,
- Increasing gutter size or downspout size,
- Using gutter- or roof-mounted deflectors,
- Debris and leaf protection options, and most importantly,
- Installing an effective underground drainage system to divert the water away from your home’s foundation.
And, while not an aspect of function, your estimator can discuss color options to blend with or compliment your home’s trim and increase its curb appeal.