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Gutters and Downspouts

Helpful news from Steve Amidon of A-1 Inspection Services

Gutters - they work so hard and get so little respect. In fact, Alaskans rarely give them any thought at all. Given the rain we get during most summers, we really should hold them in higher regard.

A very small percentage of Alaskan homes come with gutters already installed. If your home is missing this valuable system, I urge you to think about adding them this summer.

Gutters and downspouts - often considered the equivalent of an accessory on a home -and rarely noticed when they are present, are actually quite important and should be respected and valued. The main purpose of a rain gutter is to protect a building's foundation by channeling water away from its base. They also help to reduce erosion, prevent leaks in basements and crawlspaces, and protect painted surfaces by reducing exposure to water.

Gutters and downspouts are made from vinyl, or any of a variety of different metals such as aluminum, galvanized steel, stainless steel and copper. Vinyl gutter systems are available at home improvement centers and are popular with most home owners who plan to install them themselves. They come in sections and fit together with a variety of connectors, caps and other fittings.

Many gutter professionals install "seamless" gutters which are the most popular style available today. The metal is extruded from "coil" stock using a special machine that is brought to your home by the installer. There are virtually no seams as connections are limited to corners and downspouts. This limits the possibility of leaky seams.

Depending on the system, gutters are either hung from the sheathing along the eaves or nailed to the fascia with a clip or hanger. Downspouts expel the water away from the house.

Downspouts that dump rainwater right at the base of your exterior walls can create serious problems. As water pools and soaks into the soil, it can eventually work its way into the crawlspace or basement. For this reason, it is important to direct rainwater away from the house.

The best way to do this is to use a downspout diverter. These simple devices fit onto the bottom of downspouts and carry water several feet away from the house.

Steve Amidon
A-1 Inspection Services LLC
PO Box 520801
Big Lake, Alaska 99652
907-892-4444

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