Gutters 101: How Your Gutters Work

Gutter covers
Your gutters might seem like they’re a small part of your house, but they have an important role.

What are your gutters doing, exactly? If you’ve never considered how your gutters work, you might think of them as a trough that’s used to collect water when it rains. While this is the overall function of your gutter, gutters are a much more essential part of your home than you might realize. Your gutters protect your home, and in turn, you need to take care of them. 

Gutters Protect Your Home in Many Different Ways 

When it rains, your gutters move water from your roof into downspouts, allowing you to control the flow of water around your home. How does this protect your home? 

  • Without gutters or with blocked gutters, water would fall from your roof to the ground. This makes the soil wet, and wet soil can cause erosion and damage your landscaping.
  • Wet soil can also lead to foundation problems over time. As the soil moves around your home, the foundation shifts and can crack, leading to serious structural problems. 
  • If your gutters are damaged or blocked, water also slides down the side of your house. This causes damage to siding, especially wood siding. 
  • Rotten siding is more prone to damage by insects, who can get into your home through rotten wood and continue to create tunnels or chew up wood inside your home’s structure, causing problems that could compromise the integrity of your home if you don’t find out about them early on in this process.
  • Rotten siding is also prone to damage by larger animals such as woodpeckers. These birds can eat the insects that live in your siding, and they can also nest in siding that is particularly wet. 
  • Gutters blocked by leaves, ice, or snow can back up onto your roof. Water or melting ice can sit on top of or underneath your roof, leading to leaks over time. These leaks cause damage inside your home as well.
Gutter covers
Seamless gutters have fewer joints and are less likely to leak, warp, and sag.

There Are Different Kinds of Gutters 

How can you make sure that your home is safe from water damage? When you install gutters, make sure that you install gutters that will work well on your home.

Sectional gutters are sold in pieces, and you can install them as a do-it-yourself project. Those who need to replace gutters on a budget may find that these gutters fit their home and get the job done. If you’re installing gutters yourself, make sure that you add enough brackets or other supports and that the gutters connect securely at the joints. Since sectional gutters have a lot of joints, you’ll need to make sure that those joints do not leak over time.

To reduce your worries about leaking and sagging at gutter joints, consider installing seamless gutters on your home. This is not a do-it-yourself project, since these gutters are made to order at your home and fit your home exactly. However, since they have fewer seams, you’ll find that you don’t have as many problems with leaking as you would have with sectional gutters.

Gutters Need to Be Installed Properly 

No matter what gutters you choose, you need to ensure that they are installed properly. If you install them yourself, make sure that you avoid these common rookie mistakes:

  • Angle your gutters properly. While it looks like your gutters sit straight on the bottom of your roof line, they are actually gently-angled toward the downspout so that water moves easily toward the spout and down to the ground. 
  • Don’t tip your gutters forward. You don’t want water to spill out the front when it rains.
  • The gutters go a few inches below your roof line. They need to catch the water instead of having water pour over the side. 
  • Support your gutters properly. You need enough hangers or brackets to stop your gutters from sagging.
  • Watch your seams. Make sure that your gutters align properly.

Gutters Require Ongoing Care 

Like any other part of your home, your gutters need maintenance in order to work well. Gutters don’t work if they’re full of leaves or snow. To make sure that your gutters are working at their peak, remove the leaves and other debris in the fall and the spring, or add gutter covers to avoid cleaning your gutters in the future. If you live in an area where there is a lot of ice and snow, consider adding a gutter warming product such as Helmet Heat to allow water that enters your gutters to stay liquid rather than turning into an ice dam that blocks your gutter.

Are you curious about professional gutter covers and seamless gutters? Harry Helmet can help. Contact us and learn how our decades of experience in the gutter industry can help you protect your home. Schedule a free estimate today.

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Written by Del Thebaud

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I have had Gutter Helmets for 20 years. In all that time I've never had a problem until recently a bird's nest found its way into one of my gutters. The installer who came to replace the product was the same installer from 20 years earlier. Now that's impressive. Everyone at Gutter Helmet inclusive of the office staff were professional and a pleasure to work with.
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VERY happy with our entire experience adding Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet to our house. Installing this was a great value for us. The gutters are working perfectly in heavy downpours and with year-long leaves and debris coming down from our river birches. Terrific customer service and a first class product.
We needed our roof repaired due to wind damage. After several quotes, Gutter Helmet was the only company that went into our attic to look and see if more damage had occurred. If it wasn't for them taking the extra time to look at everything, we would have had rotting wood under our new roof. They were very professional and gave a fair quote.
We just had Gutter Helmet installed on our gutters and couldn't be happier. They provided us with useful information about Gutter Helmet and cleaned up everything, leaving no mess behind. We definitely recommend Gutter Helmet to anyone considering this product.

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