Friday, July 14th, 2017 by Joe Boettcher
It's tough to overstate the importance of having gutters on your home. Gutter systems are especially crucial here in the Midwest, where severe summer downpours can pop up at a moment's notice. Without gutters and downspouts, rainwater would have no trouble puddling in our lawns, eroding our landscaping, and, perhaps worst of all, flooding our basements. Truly, homeowners in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin would be in a world of hurt if not for gutters.
But gutters do exist, of course, and hopefully, your home has a quality gutter system. We emphasize the word quality because we want to stress that not all gutters are created equal. There are two main types of gutters available on the market today--sectional gutters, which can be store bought, and seamless gutters, which have to be created by machine at your home--and the latter type is superior to the former for many reasons. Here are seven of the most prominent reasons seamless gutters are the best type of gutter on the market today:
Sectional gutters come in standardized sections, which can be put together to form a full gutter system, which makes them relatively easy for homeowners to install on their own. However, it also makes them susceptible to leaks because of the many seams between the sections. Over time, fluctuating temperatures tend to make the gutters expand and contract, creating cracks in the seams that lead to leaks, which is obviously not ideal.
Seamless gutters, on the other hand, eliminate this problem because each length of gutter comes as one solid piece from corner to corner. In other words, the only seams you will find in a seamless gutter system are on the corners where two gutters meet. This lack of seams makes seamless gutters less likely to crack and leak when exposed to the elements.
Remember sliding down the slide when you were a little kid? What type of slide did you prefer: the sectional one or the one that was one solid piece? We're betting you preferred the solid piece because it was a smoother ride and you didn’t get stuck going down it as easily. A similar principle holds true for the debris in your gutters.
Debris needs to have a smooth ride out of your gutters; otherwise, it could get caught in your gutters and form a clog. One of the biggest problems with sectional gutter systems is the many seams along their troughs tend to catch debris as it floats by and create clogs over time. As one might imagine, this is not as much of a problem for smooth and continuous seamless gutters.
We can't overlook the importance of curb appeal, and seamless gutters give you plenty of that. Not only do they look better than sectional gutters because of the lack of seams, but they also have a more natural appearance on a home because they were, in fact, designed for that particular home. It's like the difference between eating a standard McDonald's hamburger and a burger in a five-star restaurant that was cooked to your specifications. They're both burgers; it's just that one was made with you in mind.
There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing the color and material for a seamless gutter system. They come in numerous different shades, which makes it easy to find the perfect color to accent your home. As for materials, you could go with aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, or vinyl, just to name a few. Just keep in mind that, while vinyl is the least expensive of those options, it is also the least durable. Conversely, although it's more expensive, aluminum tends to be the best material for gutters because of its bending strength and resistance to rust.
Because they have to be made by an expensive machine on-site, chances are you are not going to be able to make seamless gutters on your own. Instead, you're going to have to hire a licensed contractor to do that for you. Although this may seem like a drawback for those of you who love DIY projects, it's a blessing in disguise. By letting the professionals handle it, you're taking the pressure off yourself, which is good if you don't have any experience installing gutters. Gutters are too important a part of your home to fix on your own if you don't know what you're doing. Bottom line: a professional contractor will be able to ensure that you receive excellent gutter performance for the long haul.
Now we know what you're thinking. You're thinking, sure that last point is spectacular because it means less stress for me; however, it also means more money out of my wallet. And you're right to think that. Yes, it's going to cost you more to get seamless gutters than it would have to buy some sectional gutters and do it yourself. However, you should keep in mind that the extra money you're spending for labor now will translate to fewer headaches for you in the long run if you hire a trustworthy contractor.
Maintaining a sectional gutter system is a cumbersome, time-consuming process. You have to keep an eye on every seam and make sure they're not breaking apart. Obviously, this isn't as much of an issue with seamless gutters because there simply aren't as many seams to maintain. Of course, just like any gutter system, a seamless gutter system should be cleaned out at least once or twice a year (especially if you live in a heavily wooded area). But getting up on a ladder a couple of times a year for routine cleaning isn't as bad as having to take a caulk gun up there multiple times a year to fortify those pesky seams. In short, seamless gutters are the best because they save you time by giving you less to worry about as you take care of your home.