Why are gutters and downspouts so important in Minnesota?

gutter corner and elbow

People usually don’t think about the water that falls from their roof to the ground below. Water (in all of its different forms) is very tricky and defies the laws of gravity. A recent estimate by the Vinyl Siding Institute found that over 300,000 gallons of water are dumped on your house in one calendar year (in Minnesota). As a homeowner, you must funnel that water away from your home so that its doesn’t cost you big money in the long run.

– Foundations and Basements-
A majority of all homeowner’s insurance claims involve water damage. Most of the phone calls that we get after a heavy rain are from homeowners that have a flooded basement. Older homes settle over time, and with that comes small cracks and holes in the foundation. Water that is in constant contact with the foundation wall will eventually find a way to enter the home. By placing gutters and downspouts in the correct locations you will successfully channel water away from the foundation. Older downspouts that are buried underground near a foundation should be replaced as well. A lot of people are confused when their basement has a couple inches of standing water after a heavy rain, even with gutters and downspouts. That is because the buried downspout is more than likely clogged and almost impossible to clean out. Water then backs up, finds the hole or crack in the foundation and BAM, water in the basement.

(example of a buried downspout that has failed)                             flooding-foundation-damage

 

(how water enters the home with no gutters)                                  saturated ground from no gutters

 

(example of how your basement floods because of no gutters)   why-leaks-occur-missing_gutters

– Concrete garage aprons and sidewalks-
Before someone pours a concrete pad for a garage apron, sidewalk or patio, they will have to lay down a base for the concrete. This ensures that the new concrete has a solid footing so that it will not prematurely buckle, crack or heave. If there are no gutters or downspouts, the water will find its way underneath the concrete and will eventually wash away the base. And because we have such extreme temperature swings, water continually freezes and thaws. When water gets underneath the concrete, it will push and pull on the concrete and the result is a crack or the pad will heave. There are many companies out there that specialize in sand jacking. This is the process where the base of the concrete is gone and holes are drilled into concrete so that sand can be pumped underneath. This helps establish a new base for the concrete. The sand jacking process is expensive and comes with little to no guarantee. The easiest thing to do is to get gutters and downspouts in the appropriate spots so that water is shed away from all sidewalks, aprons and patios.

driveway heaving

(this picture shows the aftermath of having no gutters and how it can reek havoc on your concrete pads, especially in MN with our drastic temperature swings)

 

 

– Decks –
The term “maintenance free” decking is a thing of the past. All of the composite decking manufacturers now must label their product as “virtually maintenance free” because some sort of maintenance is required. A big problem for composite decks is the gap between each of the floor boards. The gap is very small and so debris can easily be trapped between the boards. Add in water and you will get a build up of mold or moss that grows in the gap. After many years of neglect, the chance of cleaning the composite decking is slim to none. The easiest thing to do is to keep the water off the deck. Most decks are generally small in size (average deck is about 120sf). Most roofs over a deck are anywhere from 300-600sf in size. That means with no gutters or downspouts, your deck will be exposed to 3-6 times the amount of water than if you had gutters. Composite decks can be very expensive and so the easiest and smartest thing to do is to protect that investment by adding gutters and downspouts over the deck area.

Gutters and downspouts are made from rolled aluminum coil. The color selection is really endless. Residential jobs consist of 5″ seamless gutters and 3″x4″ downspouts. Our gutter technicians will use their expertise in leveling the gutters so that they drain correctly. They will then position the downspouts so that they are somewhat hidden with the goal of keeping water away for the problem areas around the house. There are many gutter helmets/guards/screens that are available. Some gutter companies market a one piece gutter and helmet system, but that always comes with a huge price tag (generally over $20/foot). Our gutter and helmet system (two piece) is usually 1/2 the price of the one piece system with the exact same results.

If you are in need of new gutters and downspouts, please feel free to email us at info@lermn.com or call us at 763.238.1632. We do very small and very large jobs, typically in one day and includes a 2 year labor warranty against any leaks. And remember that not all gutter installers are the same. A cheap estimate doesn’t guarantee you anything and usually costs you money in the end. All it takes is for one gutter to be installed wrong for the whole job to be a waste of time and money. Gutter installation takes technique and precision so that everything works in harmony.

 

 

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