Gutters are a vital part of the roofing system; they help to efficiently drain water off the roof, into the downspouts and away from the house. Without totally replacing the gutters, there are practical gutter upgrades you can make to increase curb appeal, functionality and longevity.
A gutter outlet, or drop outlet, connects the downspout to the gutter system. If outlets are worn, cracked, warped or rusting, their efficiency is compromised. Where downspouts have been improperly installed by inserting the downpipe directly into the gutter section, there might be no outlet at all. Replacing old outlets, especially if they are made of vinyl (shortest lifespan), can improve water expulsion.
There are several different kinds and shapes of gutter outlets. Even if the outlets are made of aluminum or another type of metal, swapping out the existing outlets for a funnel outlet, for example, will allow higher volumes of rainwater to flow through the system.
Standard 5-inch gutter systems are usually paired with 2 x 3-inch downspouts. Where gutters consistently overflow but the system is free of clogs, homeowners might think they need wider, 6-inch gutters. But that might not be the case. By replacing 2 x 3-inch downpipes with 3 x 4-inch downspouts, a gutter system can be upgraded at a fraction of the cost it would take to replace it with 6-inch gutters.
Brackets or hangers hold the gutter sections in place, securing them to the fascia and prevent the sections of downpipe from shifting around. There are a variety of brackets for both gutters and downspouts, ranging from unadorned to very detailed. Replacing plain brackets with more decorative ones refreshes the appearance of the gutter system and improves curb appeal.
Depending on the length of the gutter run, brackets or hangers should be spaced two to three feet apart to provide maximum support. Adding more brackets to a gutter system with less than the recommended number is a good way to upgrade a system that might not be in trouble now, but why take a chance?
A leaf protection system is designed to keep gutters free of debris, preventing clogs from forming. Do your homework – there are many different products out there; select one that fits your home’s style and is compatible with your existing gutter system. Especially if you have a lot of trees growing near your house, gutter guards can greatly improve the functionality of the gutter system.