Guttering is essential for collecting rainwater and allowing it to drain to the ground. Found below the roof, it is usually attached to the fascia, brick work or wall plate on your home. Pipes and drains connected to gutters form part of a drainage system that works with your roof to keep your property watertight and protected from potential damage from moisture seeping into your home.

Guttering Styles

Guttering is available in several sizes, colours and styles. They tend to match the colour of your roof, fascia, brickwork or the overall look of your property. Some homeowners install more eye-catching colours. The choice of colour, material and style of your guttering depends on your own personal tastes as well as your budget. It will also depend on your drainage needs since different gutter styles handle varying levels of water flow.

Half round gutters are one of the most popular styles. Featuring a half circle profile, they are available in all types of colours and finishes. This type of guttering is durable and suitable for more properties. They tend to be shallower than other gutter styles, making them prone to over flowing when a lot of debris gathers inside the gutter. Another popular option is square gutters. This modern option is also available in all colours. They have a bit more flow capacity than half round gutters. Ogee and deep flow gutters deliver a high flow rate, making them good choices for properties that need higher capacity drainage. While deep flow guttering tends to have a simple profile, ogee gutters are generally more decorative.

Sectional gutters like half circle and square guttering are always prone to leaks since they have joints and seams. Unlike other guttering options, continuous or seamless gutters do not contain joints. This type of gutter is sold in long sections or as one seamless piece. The design uses snap-in-place connectors, making them a popular choice for DIY installations. Unlike other styles of gutters, seamless guttering is less prone to leaking. At the same time, they tend to be harder to clean because of internal bars used to strengthen the gutters.

Gutter Materials

In older properties, cast iron was used often for guttering. Modern homes typically have lighter materials for guttering. Aluminum is one of the most popular materials for guttering. It is lightweight and easy to install, and is highly resistant to corrosion. Aluminum is also less expensive that other metals. Plastic or uPVC gutters are affordable alternatives to rain gutters made from aluminum and other metals. Lightweight and often pre-cut, this type of guttering is easier to install.

Copper does not last as long as aluminum, but offers a more sophisticated and luxurious look. Copper gutters do not need to be repainted like aluminum products and are not prone to mildew. Zinc gutters are generally made from primarily zinc mixed with small amounts of copper and titanium. Similar to copper, zinc is usually unpainted and develops its own protective patina that fends off corrosion and weathering. Like copper guttering, zinc gutters cost much more than aluminum. However, zinc guttering generally lasts longer than aluminum and requires little maintenance.

Galvanised steel gutters are made from steel coated with zinc. This option is strong but prone to rusting. As a result, it is important to ensure galvanised steel gutters are cleaned regularly to avoid standing water. Galvalume gutters are also made with steel but are coated with aluminum and zinc. This type of gutter is also strong but is typically more durable than galvanised steel. Thanks to its aluminum coating, these gutters are highly resistant to corrosion.

Maintaining Your Gutters

Regardless of the material or style you choose, all gutters need to be regularly cleaned. Dirt and debris trapped in gutters can cause blockages and affect the ability to properly drain rainwater flowing down from the roof. Having gutters installed with a gentle downward slope from the highest point will create a fairly effective self-cleaning system. Hiring a professional to install guttering on your property will help ensure effective guttering and drainage.

Choosing the Right Contractor

Look for competent tradespeople, such as a registered competent roofer that has been certified by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC). Roofing contractors that install, repair and maintain guttering might also be members of the Confederation of Roofing Contractors (CRC), the Institute of Roofing (IoR) or the Metal Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA). In addition to checking the contractor's qualifications, assess their quality of work and service by checking references and online reviews. Get at least three written quotes to see if you are getting a fair and competitive price. Also, ask the contractor for proof of insurance before any work starts.