Occasional rain can be refreshing, especially after a long dry spell of humidity in the summer. In places like Texas, though, rainfall can be intense and wreak havoc on your property. At Granite Foundation Repair, we’ve seen many property foundations damaged by poor drainage.
For one thing, the tremendous presence of clay in the Texas soil can ruin your property’s foundation when it’s exposed to too much water. It affects the normal soil balance, and is damaging in the same way as having too little moisture.
Not many people know the benefits of gutters and downspouts. After all, most of us are more interested in the interiors of our properties. If you’re like most property owners, you may tend to focus more on furniture, landscaping and the paint job.
However, gutters protect the very aesthetics you’ve carefully planned around your property. How so? Read further to find out.
Definition of Gutters and Downspouts
Roof gutters are long, narrow troughs used for catching and carrying rainwater. It often goes unnoticed because it just sits on the edge of the roof for most of the year. During the rainy season, however, it has the important function of catching water and preventing damage to your home.
Downspouts are the pipes that then carry rainwater from the gutter. They’re also known as waterspouts, downpipes, drain spouts or roof drainpipes. They run vertically down the side of the house and bend at an angle a little distance from the ground.
A downspout protects your property’s foundation from the pouring rain. It controls the flow of water, leading it to the sewer or the ground.
The Importance of Gutters and Downspouts
Rain gutters and downspouts are critical in any roofing system in order to redirect rain. Water buildup can be damaging, causing the foundation to shift and leading drywall cracking.
Here are some of the benefits that a proper gutter system can provide:
- Prevents flooding of the house and cracking of the foundation, saving you the cost of foundation repair.
- Acts as a barrier for the topsoil, preventing it from being washed away. It acts as protection for your landscape, and helps maintain the exterior beauty of your property.
- Prevents water from falling to your open patios and viewing decks, as well as the entry points of your home.
- Protects your windows and doors from water damage and water infiltration.
- Keeps the ground surrounding your property from being waterlogged, helping to balance the moisture level of your foundation.
The Risk of Not Having Gutters
Many homes don’t have functional, well-maintained gutter systems. Surprisingly, some homes don’t even have gutters and downspouts at all. This can lead to massive expenses to cover water damage.
Here are some damages that can result from not having functional gutters and downspouts:
- If you have shrubbery or landscaped floral arrangements below your roofline, a single brutal downpour can damage them. Rainfall can also wash away soil, affecting the balancing and causing unsightly gaps. Too much water causes massive destruction. This will also affect the growth of flowers.
- A house without gutters will develop a drip line about 18 inches from the foundation. The drip line soil will be 3 to 6 inches below neighboring soil, allowing water to accumulate, weakening the surrounding soil and causing the foundation to fall in the area of the drip line.
- Pooling of water can also occur around your property, threatening the foundation. As previously mentioned, the soil in Texas is largely composed of clay, so moisture balance is important. Pooling water can cause the soil around your foundation to swell. Once it seeps under the property’s foundation, it can weaken the structure. It’s also essential for you to water soil during the dry season in order to restore the moisture.
Types of Gutters
There are many different kinds of gutters to choose from. Here are the 6 main ones:
- Aluminum Gutters – These are considered to be among the least expensive, and they come in a wide variety of colors. They’re also lightweight and resistant to corrosion. However, if you experience hailstorms in your area, they’re not the best choice. The reason is they’re the easiest to get damaged because of their light material.
- Copper Gutters – These are considerably more expensive than aluminum gutters, but may be cheaper in the long run since they last longer. They’re not a very common choice. Using copper gutters would save you from a paint job, however.
- Galvanized Steel Gutters – These are made of zinc and are considerably strong. The only downside is that they’re vulnerable to rust.
- Galvalume Gutters – These are coated with both aluminum and zinc. They’re also considered to be the best in terms of longevity. In fact, they last much longer than galvanized steel gutters.
- Zinc Gutters – Using this type of gutter can be a money-saving option since painting is not needed. They are more expensive than aluminum gutters. The upside is they don’t require a lot of maintenance, which can save you valuable time. They’re also likely to last longer than aluminum gutters.
- Vinyl Gutters – Most property owners install this type of gutter. It’s also labeled as PVC or plastic gutters. The downside is that when the weather gets really hot, they have a tendency to twist, since their material is plastic. This means it’s not very durable, especially in the Texas climate.
Clean them at least twice a year, especially after the fall season. Water should be able to flow freely from both your gutters and downspouts. Be sure to keep an eye out for signs of foundation damage.
The downspouts should be terminated with a 5-foot length of pipe leading the water away from the foundation. Alternateively, downspouts may be connected to an underground drainage system.
Gutters and downspouts will help you protect your property and avoid expenses from water damage. The most important thing is to keep them well-maintained so they perform their full function.