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Why Gutters are an Important Piece of Your Steel Building

When you decide to buy a metal building, there are several design questions to answer. What color should my building be? What do I want my roof to look like? How many windows and doors do I want? Don’t forget to include gutters in your building planning.

Gutters help support the integrity of foundations as well as protect painted or metal siding. Specifically engineered for each building, gutters do not come in a one-size-fits-all box.

What are gutters made of? Aluminum, steel, copper, wood, or vinyl. Outdated wood gutters are now used to restore landmark buildings that originally featured wood gutters. Copper gutters don’t have the same long-lasting shelf life that steel and aluminum gutters do. Aluminum and steel gutters are the most reliable gutters. Galvanized steel gutters can be expected to last 20-25 years and are slightly more expensive than Aluminum gutters. While aluminum is cheaper and does not rust, the lighter metal is weaker than steel.

Along with material choices, it is important to keep in mind other gutter pieces needed to complete your gutter installation. Corner joints, end caps, hanging brackets and downspouts are all important components in making your gutter functional.

Traditionally, gutters come in small sections, then are pieced together with joints. Though this method gets the job done, gutter professionals now create continuous aluminum gutters, called seamless gutters.

Seamless gutters require a professional installer who uses a special machine on site. The seamless gutter machine starts with an unshaped aluminum coil. This aluminum coil runs through a machine attached to the back of the installer’s truck, heats up and gets molded into a sturdy, shaped and trustworthy gutter.

5987396439_29467d9669_mInstalling a gutter does not stop at hanging the gutter. Various gutter accessories help keep runoff water where it needs to be as well as protect your gutter. Gutter screens attach on top of the gutter to keep debris from falling into the gutter and creating clogs, causing water to spill out of the gutter and potentially damage your building or its foundation. Porous foam products sit inside the gutter to allow water to flow through the gutter while protecting it from various sizes of debris.

After water runs through the gutter, it collects and directs to the downspout, a piece of gutter directed from the existing gutter system to a collection area on the ground, away from the structure. Your downspout can direct to various types of collection areas. Collect gutter water in a large container and recycle it, route water to gardens or simply allow water to flow onto the ground near your building.3988749953_5decbe7e18_zRain chains are a more decorative option of a downspout. The latest gutter accessory provides a soothing alternative to the functional downspout. The decorative metal chains replace downspouts, usually in a Japanese-themed decor, and help water flow from the gutter system to the collection area. Rain chains have become popular for the soothing waterfall sounds the gutter water makes as it runs down the rain chain.

Remember, if you choose a single slope metal building, you will only need one piece of gutter for your building. Conversely, if you choose a residential metal building or other multi-sloped building you will need a larger gutter system.

Gutters are an important part of constructing your metal building. Don’t forget to do your research about what type of gutters your building will need when designing and shopping for your metal building.

Interested in learning more about steel buildings? Check out the 9 things you absolutely need to know about steel buildings insider guide. It’s full of helpful information for first time steel building buyers.

Photo courtesy: Paul L. Dineen, Cristina