Your gutters may not be the most glamorous component of your home’s exterior, but the role they play in protecting your property from water damage cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, even the best types of gutters eventually succumb to the effects of wear and tear from constant exposure to the elements. If you’re wondering about why your gutters are corroding, you’ve come to the right place.
In today’s post, Barry Best Seamless Gutters discusses what causes gutter corrosion and how, with the help of an experienced gutter contractor, you can avoid this issue.
Getting to Know Your Gutter Materials
There are several different materials gutters can be made from, each with pros and cons. The performance and longevity of the gutter system will depend to a large extent on the quality of the material and how well it’s suited to your local climate, which is why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the options. By doing your homework, you’ll also gain insight into how to properly care for the gutter material of your choice to avoid corrosion.
Vinyl is one of the most popular gutter materials for residential properties due to its attractive price point and straightforward design. Vinyl gutters and gutter covers are lightweight and easy to install–though the installation should always be handled by an experienced professional. One downside is that vinyl gutters are prone to cracking, especially if you live in a cold climate.
Like vinyl, aluminum is also lightweight, easy to install and affordable. One advantage over vinyl is that aluminum gutters won’t crack when exposed to the cold. On the downside, some aluminum gutters of lower quality are easily dented or bent when accidentally hit with a ladder or other object. The good news is that premium, unrecycled aluminum gutters are quite sturdy and resistant to denting.
Stainless steel gutters come with a slightly higher price tag than vinyl and aluminum. Nevertheless, stainless steel remains one of the top choices when it comes to residential gutters due to its durability. If you want sturdy gutters that will look good and remain intact for a long time, stainless steel gutters are a worthy investment.
Why Do Gutters Corrode?
While advances in modern technology and product development have made the gutter materials of today more durable and resistant to the elements, gutter corrosion is still a prevalent issue. The exceptions are gutters made from copper and wood. Here are the top reasons behind gutter corrosion:
Inappropriate Storage Method
Many people think gutter corrosion only begins once the gutters have been installed, but the truth is corrosion can begin long before you hire your gutter contractor. How your gutters were stored prior to installation plays a role in how well they will resist corrosion. Ideally, metal gutters should be stored in a clean facility that keeps the elements out. When storing gutter sections, make sure that they are laid flat, with padding to separate the stacked sections. These measures will help ensure that your gutters are in good pre-installation condition.
Whether you’re a homeowner taking stock of your gutter material options at your local hardware store or a property manager waiting for your preferred gutter installation company to deliver your new gutters, the gutter product you purchase is at the mercy of the contractor or manufacturer transporting it. Any dents, scrapes or scratches sustained during transportation will weaken the structural integrity of the material and can make way for future corrosion.
When handling or transporting gutters, padded and covered cradles are highly recommended. Each component should be separated with proper padding material so the parts don’t touch and scrape each other.
Gutter installation is a complex process that only experienced professionals should perform. Improper installation due to inexperience or lack of knowledge about the right techniques to use increase the likelihood of the gutter material being damaged. Apart from the dents and scratches caused by haphazard handling, you risk metal gutter corrosion when other components of the gutters, aren’t installed properly.
For example, gutters need to be secured in place using brackets. These brackets shouldn’t penetrate the surface of the gutters. Otherwise, the protective coating that prevents corrosion will get scraped off, leaving your gutters vulnerable. Extreme caution should also be exercised when choosing the hardware. Note that if your gutters are made of aluminum, only aluminum brackets and screws should be used to avoid galvanic corrosion.
A Quick Look at Galvanic Corrosion
When two different types of metal come into contact with each other, as in roofing or gutter protection system assemblies, an adverse reaction takes place due to the difference in the composition of the two metals. This is an entire topic on its own, but the bottom line is that like metals should be installed with similar metals to prevent corrosion.
The main function of the gutters is to ensure water is directed away from your property. Gutters are on the job day in and day out, and not just when it’s raining. The constant exposure to the elements takes a toll over time. Metal gutters are especially susceptible to corrosion when they are exposed to acidic rainwater, which is abundant in industrial regions.
There’s not much that you can do to avoid corrosion due to environmental causes, but you can make sure that your gutters have a fighting chance against all the other causes of corrosion. One way to do so is by regularly cleaning out your gutters. Organic debris such as leaves can make it difficult for the water to flow out of your gutters. Prolonged exposure to moisture speeds up corrosion, so make sure you keep your gutters clog-free at all times.
As for handling, transporting and installation, the best way to ensure that these are done right is to hire a gutter contractor that you can rely on, such as Barry Best Seamless Gutters. We have the proper tools, knowledge and techniques needed for a successful gutter installation.
Keep these things in mind when considering your gutter material (and gutter contractor) choices. Remember that corroding or corroded gutters aren’t only an eyesore; they indicate a serious structural issue that needs to be addressed right away.