What Can Go Wrong With Traditional (Seamed) Gutters?

Your gutters might not look like much, but they're a critical part of any home's water management strategy. If you live in an area where long overhangs are uncommon, most houses will almost certainly use gutters. These simple metal channels move water from your roof to downspout drains, helping to prevent excessive moisture from accumulating close to the structural foundation.

For many years, homeowners primarily relied on traditional gutters, also known as seamed gutters. These gutters come in pre-cut sections that installers can cut down further to fit their specific application. Modern seamless gutters are a superior choice for many homes, but what can go wrong with traditional seamed options that make seamless gutters so worthwhile?

The Downsides of Traditional Gutters

Like many parts of your home, your gutters may look straightforward. While gutter systems aren't complex, manufacturers carefully design and engineer them to serve an important function. Unfortunately, traditional options require trade-offs to reduce costs and make installation easier and less costly.

The primary trade-off with traditional gutters is the pre-cut lengths. For example, if a side of your home is 24 feet long, you may need to use one 16-foot gutter, and another length cut down to 8 feet to complete the run. This approach creates a seam where the two gutter lengths connect, forcing installers to use a sealant to keep them together and prevent leaks.

Unfortunately, these seams are vulnerable, just as joints tend to be the most vulnerable part of any plumbing system. Sealants can wear out and fail over time, gutters can separate due to physical damage, and joints can even fail due to pressure from blockages. Since water can pool in these areas, joints are more likely to corrode first and become unsightly over time.

The Advantages of Seamless Gutter Systems

The primary innovation of seamless gutters is that installers can form and cut them on-site. Specialized equipment rolls out a bespoke length of gutter directly from the truck, allowing installers to create pieces that perfectly match your home. In the example above, that 24-foot run along the side of your home would require only a single seamless 24-foot gutter piece.

Since they don't require any joints, seamless gutters are stronger and less prone to leaking. Depending on the size of your home, using seamless gutters can eliminate many potential leak locations along your gutter system. These gutters are also less vulnerable to blockages since there are no weak points to break when exposed to too much weight or water pressure.

Aside from the initial installation cost, seamless gutters have no significant downsides compared to traditional seamed gutters. Using seamless gutters on your home is an excellent way to help protect your roof and foundation while also getting gutters that will look better and last longer than the cheaper alternatives.

For more information on a seamless gutter installation, contact a professional near you.