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Gutters are an essential part of any roofing structure. They are primarily aimed at channelling water from sloping roofs into specifically positioned downpipes, and therefore preventing the run-off of water directly from the roof onto the walls and surrounding areas, as well as protecting the roof itself from water damage. Even flat-roofed buildings with a slight slope need gutters to ensure proper drainage. Whilst we do not really take much notice of gutters when they are fully functional, we are acutely aware of the inconvenience which arises when problems occur. Gutters are exposed to harsh UV rays on a daily basis, and carry the full weight of roof water run-off from heavy rainstorms, so normal wear and tear is bound to occur. If the building is positioned near to tall trees which lose their leaves in autumn, or close to vines or climbing plants which are not trimmed regularly, it is highly likely that the gutters will become clogged and blocked with dead leaves or plant growth, resulting in an overflow during rainstorms. The responsibility for the installation, maintenance and repair of gutters is carried by a contractor who specialises in guttering. Since gutters come in different sizes, shapes and materials, it is best to ask a knowledgeable and experienced guttering specialist for the best type of guttering to use for your particular needs, whether for residential, commercial or industrial buildings.
Gutter specialists are responsible for the installation, inspection and repair of gutters and, as such, should have experience in construction. Gutter specialists should be comfortable when working at heights and be able to keep their balance in awkward spaces. Depending on the type of guttering used, they should be able to work with fairly heavy weights and be able to weld properly. These specialists are also tasked with the removal of old or non-functional guttering systems and the installation of more efficient alternatives. They work across all spheres of business, and their expertise covers a wide range of different requirements.
Guttering is available in different materials, and comes in a variety of styles and sizes to suit each individual building.
Aluminium is one of the most commonly used materials, as it can be moulded into K-style or half-round shapes, is reasonably affordable, lightweight, resistant to rust and more durable than some other materials. It is available in a wide range of colours, or can be painted in a colour to suit the building. These gutters can also be manufactured seamlessly by some specialists in mobile workshops, which is extremely convenient and speeds up the whole installation process.
These gutters are also less likely to leak due to lack of joints. Aluminium is not, however, the strongest guttering material available.
Galvanized steel gutters, with an additional coating of zinc, are extremely popular because of their strength but, due to the fact that they are more prone to rust, may be coated with aluminium and zinc to inhibit rust formation, although this will add to the cost. These gutters require more maintenance in the form of regular inspections and cleaning to assist in the prevention of rust and blockages. These gutters must be installed by experienced and skilled professionals.
Zinc gutters are the most durable of all the materials available, being composed of an alloy of 99.5% zinc mixed with small additions of titanium and copper. They are the most expensive of the guttering materials mentioned here, although their durability and low maintenance requirements are well worth the higher initial cost involved. They do not require any painting, but are bulkier than other guttering systems, and must be installed by a specialist.
Vinyl gutters. These gutters are becoming more popular due to their relatively low cost compared to other guttering options, are rust- and corrosion-proof, quick to install, lightweight, low maintenance, do not dent, and may be assembled by clipping them together in sections instead of welding them. The only real disadvantages to these gutters is that they are prone to cracking in severe cold weather conditions, may bend in exceptionally heavy rain and become brittle over time in very hot climates due to continued exposure to harsh UV rays.
Guttering specialists may often be found by looking for roofing contractors, since guttering is such an essential part of roofing. These specialists can be found through advertisements in home magazines, home catalogues, industrial catalogues, newspapers, flyers and the Yellow Pages, and by attending some building or home expos. An internet search through a site such as Uptasker will also assist in finding the right specialist for your needs. Uptasker conveniently lists specialists per geographical area, enabling you to find those closest to you, and giving you the option of requesting quotes from more than one supplier in order to compare quotes quickly. The site provides the names, contact details, links to websites (if available), online rating and customer reviews of the guttering specialists closest to you. Word of mouth is still the best method for finding completely unbiased reviews from people you know, and there will nearly always be someone who has needed one of these specialists at some time.
A leaking, blocked or broken gutter is both unappealing and inconvenient. Have you ever tried entering your home or business premises in wet weather, only to be soaked through by water cascading from an overflowing, leaking or broken gutter? It’s a highly unpleasant experience which can easily be avoided by attending to the problem promptly with the help of the appropriate specialists. For more tips, see our guttering specialist articles.