If you have ever walked out of your home and been drenched at the door, you thought about rain gutter. If you have installed costly landscaping, only to see it wash away after the first rain; or if you have unsightly stains on your siding or brick, you have thought about rain gutter. If you have cracks in your walls, floor, or ceilings; or your house is 8" lower at the back door than at the front entrance due to settling and foundation problems, you have given a lot of thought to rain gutter.
After 25 years in the gutter business, Bartlett Gutter Company has heard these reasons time and again. Improper drainage around your home can be unsightly and extremely costly. Do not be reluctant to invest between ½ percent and 1 percent of the cost of your home in a drainage system. It's the best investment you'll ever make.
There are various types of rain carrying systems: Copper, Galvanized Steel, Painted Steel, and Painted Aluminum are the most well known. Copper is the heaviest and most expensive. Aluminum the lightest and less expensive. Although galvanized gutter parts are usually less expensive than aluminum, the total installed cost after pickling-priming-painting is normally more expensive. Along with that extra expense comes a system that will require regular maintenance and periodic repainting.
What is seamless gutter?
The term "seamless" gutter is actually a misnomer for "continuous" gutter. When first developed, the portable roll forming equipment we now call gutter machines were described as seamless roll formers. This description came from the idea that standard sized roll of aluminum gutter coil could form approximately 1, 000 feet of gutter at one time. As no residence had need for any gutter nearly that long, the term "seamless" was coined.
Both surfaces of continuous gutter have a meticulously controlled coating of a thermally set polyester acrylic paint applied before they are roll formed. The inside surface is coated with the same type finish applied at 10% of the face coat thickness. This is applied to provide a "buffer" between the layers of aluminum as they are coated to protect the sheen of the outside coat. This coating has a high modulus of expansion, which allows it to be stretched drastically before it fails. The aluminum sheet will show no signs of missing paint as it is rolled through forming machine at the job site. Numerous colors are available to compliment the roof or trim colors of any home.
The principal reason continuous gutter is so popular with builders and remodelers is that aluminum does not red rust. Aluminum has the properly that when it does oxide (rust), the oxide forms a protective coating to prevent further oxidation.
Also, aluminum is pound for pound stronger than steel. That's why aircraft are coved in aluminum, not steel.
Why not galvanized gutter?
Galvanized gutter, to be installed properly, must not only be properly painted, but most have all places where the galvanized coating is disturbed (i.e. cut, screwed or drilled) dressed. This is properly done with solder. It's not possible to dress the gutter where it is fastened to the fascia, so a proper installation would use fascia brackets. These fasten to the painted fascia, the gutter lies in the bracket loose, and a strap is installed above the gutter to prevent the wind from rattling the gutter, or even blowing it off the house! This is the "proper" method, but also very labor intensive and expensive. Usually the way galvanized gutter is installed is with a spike and ferrule. The spike is driven through the top face of the gutter, through the ferrule, and out the back of the gutter. The galvanized coating is certainly "disturbed", and it is rarely dressed to prevent rusting. As a matter fact, where it penetrates the back of the gutter is impossible to "dress", as it is flush against the fascia or shingle trim. When moisture contacts this penetration, the underlying steel rusts, and a re rust stain is visible on the lower part of the exposed painted fascia. This moisture need not be from rain.sweating caused by dew will cause this to happen.
The entire inside and outside surfaces of galvanized gutter must be painted. The correct procedure is to (1) pickle, (2) prime, (3) paint. An acid based product is used to pickle the galvanized surface. The mixture is not very kind to painted surfaces such as walls or trim. Next, a primer coat of la lead or zinc oxide based paint is applied to the inside and outside surfaces. The primer must be allowed to cure a few days, and then painted, as the oxide coating will quickly weather. The rain gutter is usually painted to match the trim of the house. In fact, usually the steel is painted NOT with a paint formulated for steel, but the same paint used for wood house trim, and is rarely pickled and primed.
Why not painted steel?
Painted steel has a pre-finished surface, with a professionally applied coating. Unfortunately, it also must be dressed wherever this coating is "disturbed", and unlike galvanized gutter, solder does not work well with a painted surface.