If your home needs rain gutters added, or if existing rain gutters need to be replaced, you likely are wondering what type of rain gutters would suit you best. The answer to that question will depend on a few things, including the architectural style of your home, the pitch of your roof, as well as your budget. With that in mind, let’s look at some options regarding rain gutters for your San Diego home.
Given the dry climate of San Diego, it’s fair to ask whether rain gutters are even necessary. Without gutters, any rain you do get flows off your roof in an uncontrolled fashion. This water can cause a lot of erosion. Every time it rains, more and more soil gets washed away. This causes the landscape, which has been carefully sloped, to wear down. Eventually, runoff water starts to flow towards the house instead of away from it.
If you have a basement, or if any part of your home is below ground level, it’s very important to keep water away from the home’s foundation. Otherwise, water can leak into and through the subterranean walls. Even if your home is completely above ground, it can still be damaged over time by water sitting around the foundation. The wood can rot, and mold and mildew can grow.
So, while gutters can seem like an added expense, they actually offer valuable protection for your home from very costly water damage.
When choosing which gutter system is right for you, one of the first things you’ll need to decide on is materials. This can have a big impact on your budget. Aluminum gutters are the most popular material, and are highly affordable. They won’t rust. They’re also lightweight and easy to install. They come in a wide variety of colors.
Aluminum gutters aren’t as durable as some other gutter types, and could be dented by a falling branch or heavy ladder. While they can last about 30 years, this lifespan isn’t as long as some other materials.
Bonderized Steel is a type of galvanized steel. It has a flat grey surface that’s been treated so it won’t corrode and is easy to paint. Steel gutters are considerably stronger and more durable than aluminum gutters, although they cost more.
Copper looks great, especially on homes with a more historical architectural style, such as Victorian or Spanish Revival homes. Copper gutters last a very long time, and often outlive their owners. They are one of the most expensive materials, however, and they can turn green over time, which isn’t to everyone’s taste.
K-Style gutters are the most common gutters in America. They’re usually the most affordable, and they hold more water than a round gutter of a similar size. Because of their unique shape, they tend to be more resistant to bending when hit. They’re available in any of the previously-mentioned materials, and they can be made sectional or seamless. They can be used with any type of home, although they tend to look better with some of the newer architectural styles in San Diego such as the Ranch or Modern Farmhouse.
Box gutters are more commonly found on older buildings. They’re fairly durable, and easy to repair. Because they don’t hang from the edge of the roof, they give the home a bit more of a cleaner look. They fit on the bottom roof, or in the eaves of the house.
Half-round gutters are great for historical homes such as Victorian or Spanish Revival homes. They get their name because they look like a round tube that’s been sliced in half. They are clean and smooth. They’re also wide, which means they can hold a decent amount of water. Water generally travels faster through these gutters than other types, helping to clean out leaves and other debris.
The two most popular gutter sizes are 5-inch and 6-inch. Since San Diego is a drier climate, 5-inch gutters should be sufficient for most residential properties. There are a few scenarios, however, where you may want to consider 6-inch gutters.
For example, if your roof is exceptionally large, more water will come off of it, so you may need a larger gutter. The slope of the roof is something else to consider. A steep slope will bring the water down more quickly, requiring a larger gutter to contain it.
Another thing to think about is the fascia board of your house. Some fascia boards simply can’t support larger gutters. On the other hand, if you have very large fascia boards on your home, you may want to go with larger gutters just because they’ll look better.
Sectioned vs. Seamless Gutters
Traditionally, gutters come in section that need to be put together. They must be correctly soldered at the joints, however, to avoid leaks. Seamless gutters are stronger than sectioned gutters. They’re great for homes that have trouble with falling debris, such as falling leaves. They come in the same sizes and materials as regular gutters. The difference is that instead of sections, the gutters come in a single piece that is cut and made on-site using a special machine.
Seamless gutters have a lower chance of leakage, but they need to be professionally installed. They’re more expensive than regular gutters, however they typically last longer and require less maintenance, so this investment can be recovered over time.
Given the water scarcity in California, rain barrels are useful accessories that you may want to add to your rain gutters. They act as a free water reserve. This provides an ecologically friendly and cost-effective solution for water shortages.
Rain barrels can vary in functionality, however they typically include a screen guard, and a garden hose that can be switched on or off. One rain barrel can hold up to 50 gallons of water. Rain barrels are placed at the tip of the rain gutters’ downspout. This lets them collect water every time it rains. They work best with seamless rain gutters, as these have no cracks where water can escape. The collected water can be used to clean outdoor spaces, irrigate lawns or gardens, or wash vehicles.
Even in a dry climate like in San Diego, rain gutters are an important, necessary and functional part of your home. We hope the options presented in this article help you to make an informed choice regarding the right gutter options for you.