Gutters are an integral part of most roofing systems, although they are something many homeowners overlook – that is, until they overflow. There are two main types available on the market today: sectional and seamless gutters. Of the two, continuous or seamless rain gutters are installed on 70% of homes in the United States, and for good reason. Seamless gutters provide better protection against the buildup of water, leaves and other debris. But that isn’t the only reason why they are superior.
What are the main benefits of seamless gutters?
- Custom-built. Sectional gutters come in prefabricated pieces that are connected during installation with a sealant or by soldering. Seamless gutters, on the other hand, are extruded on-site to custom lengths using special equipment, making them better suited to meet each property’s specific needs.
- Visible seams are one of homeowners’ biggest complaints about sectional gutters. Seams are unsightly and also tend to discolor over time. Not only do seamless gutters eliminate this problem, they also give homeowners plenty of color and design choices to complement their home’s existing architectural style.
- Easy upkeep. Seamless gutters do not require as much maintenance as their sectional counterparts. Many seamless gutters also have baked-on enamel finishes, which means they don’t need to be painted.
Are seamless rain gutters really seamless?
Any point in a gutter system where there are inner and outer corners will have seams – think corner miters, end caps, and downspouts.
Because each trough in a seamless system is made of a continuous piece of material, it’s referred to as “seamless,” meaning it contains no seams from which leaks and other problems can spring. This also means that seamless gutters are better able to:
- Stand up to the elements. Seamless gutters are more effective at weathering storms and heavy rains because the absence of seams means fewer chances for leaks. Strong winds will also pose less of a risk because more continuous pieces mean fewer weak joints.
- Direct water away from your home. And the more efficient your gutters are at channeling water away from your home, the better protected your roof and siding will be.
- Protect your landscape and foundation. Fewer leaks mean less run-off, which in turn means that the soil surrounding your home will not be inundated with water.
What do I need to think about before I have seamless gutters installed?
- Seamless gutters are available in a variety of materials, including aluminum, steel, copper and vinyl. Of these types, aluminum and steel are the most popular.
- Five-inch seamless gutters are used on most U.S. homes. A larger six-inch size may be needed for a very large roof.
- The fabrication and installation of seamless gutters should be left to licensed contractors.
How can I improve the functionality of my seamless gutters?
If you want to maximize the benefits offered by seamless gutters, your best move would be to have gutter guards installed. Designed to limit the buildup of water, leaves, and debris in your gutters, these gutter protection systems can greatly increase your home’s protection against water and mold damage, not to mention reduce or eliminate the need for regular gutter cleaning.
Installing covers on top of your seamless gutters will help you realize significant cost and time savings. Many gutter protection products are also backed by lifetime warranties.
Scott Siegal, Owner of Maggio Roofing. Located in Takoma Park, Md., and is president of Certified Contractors Network. Scott is an industry veteran with decades of experience solving roofing problems for homeowners in DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia.