Also known as built-in or integral gutters, Yankee gutters are a drainage system used in many homes and public buildings dating back to the 18th century. Rather than the exposed metal gutter systems that are commonly employed with contemporary building projects, Yankee gutters were incorporated into the cornice structure along the roofline and thus were not easily visible from the outside. While this design worked very well with a number of elaborate building designs, the gutter system is not considered the best option today.
metal to construct the body of the system. Wood was used as an external element to construct the shell for the gutters, while sheets of metal were used to line the interior. The gutters usually made use of a sloped bottom to help expedite the flow of water through the gutter. While various metals were used for the interior lining, copper emerged during the 19th century as a favored option.
While relatively efficient, Yankee gutters often require frequent repairs. Regular inspection of the metal liner is one of the best ways to prolong the life of the gutters, as the metal helps to protect the wood box from mildew and moisture. Signs that there is likely some damage to repair includes paint peeling off the facing of the gutter, darkened sections of the wood that is moist to the touch, or damage to the masonry surrounding the gutter system.
One method of repair that should never be employed with Yankee gutters is the application of roofing tar to any holes or weakened spots in the metal lining or the wood body. While the tar does temporarily prevent further leakage, the fix is only short-term, and will only further corrode the metal over time. The end result can be a repair problem that is far more advanced than the original issue.
Because of the subtle installation of Yankee gutters, the cost of repairs is often substantially higher than with modern gutter systems. However, many historic buildings originally designed with this gutters of this kind are maintained with restored Yankee gutters rather than going with a new system. Doing so helps to preserve the original appearance of the building and also offer a point of interest for anyone who wants to learn more about construction methods from centuries past.
Most contemporary construction no longer incorporates a Yankee style of gutter construction. An exception would be new buildings designed in a period style such as Federal or Georgian, or additions to older buildings that utilize Yankee gutters as part of the drainage system.
Gutters serve an important purpose in the everyday maintenance of the American home. Gutters help direct water and debris safely away from the home, which prevents damage to the structure and foundation.
Of the materials available in today's market, steel carries a reputation for both durability and affordability, especially hot-dip galvanized steel gutters, which are coated in zinc which protects against corrosion. Galvanized steel is the preferred material in colder climates, as the coating offers more protection in both snow and ice. In addition, galvanized steel gutters offer lower maintenance options for homeowners, and are one of the least-expensive types of gutters available.
When purchasing galvanized steel gutters, expect to spend between $4 and $8 per linear foot. Stainless steel gutters are available as well; however, they carry a much higher cost at $20 per linear foot. While steel gutters hold up well to weather conditions and debris, they do show problems with rust over time.
While some galvanized coatings carry a 50-year guarantee, many forms are not as durable, lasting between 5 and 10 years. If selecting a coating without a long-term guarantee, homeowners must take extra steps to care for their gutters over time.
Choosing and installing Steel gutters
Experts recommend selecting the thickest gutter design that your wallet can afford, and suggest gutters that measure .032 inches. While thinner models are available, they damage more easily.
Two options exist for steel gutter installation, stick and seamless. Stick installation includes piecing together individual gutter lengths, often installed by homeowners or local contractors. Seamless gutters are sold only through custom gutter installation specialists using truck-mounted roll-formers to individually fit each home.
Steel Gutter Suppliers
Steel gutters can be found commonly through most home improvement outlets. There are also companies that specialize in the sale of steel gutters online.
Half Round Gutters
A half round gutter is a kind of gutter that is shaped, from a cross section perspective, like a semicircle. Instead of being angled or having steps built into the design, which is common in quite a bit of modern construction, a half round gutter is arched in order to collect rain or melting ice and snow in order to divert it into a downspout. Many people think that this kind of gutter gives a house a more classic or antique look. As such, half round gutters are often used in the restoration of older home or in the construction of new homes that are intended to have a sort of classic aesthetic.
There are a number of materials that can be used to make half round gutters. One of the most expensive kinds is a copper half round gutter. Although copper is an expensive product to build with, many people believe that it is worth the expense for a number of reasons. One of the top reasons is that a copper half round gutter will not rust. Instead, a copper half round gutter will become a lovely light green after it oxidizes. In fact, it is the pleasing effect of oxidized copper that inspires many people to use the product in their construction projects.
In addition to copper, a half round gutter can also be made using aluminum. Aluminum is another popular construction material for gutters, but for different reasons than copper half round gutters.
An aluminum half round gutter is often less expensive than a copper half round gutter. Also, it is possible to purchase an aluminum gutter in many colors and finishes while copper is very specific in its color, which is an orange gold hue prior to oxidation and a sea green after oxidation.
Aluminum half round gutter color options include browns, light colors such as cream and ivory, various shades of green, a range of browns and tans, grays, and even red. For this reason, many people choose to use aluminum half round gutters in their construction or restoration projects so that they can make the gutters fit in well with the other colors on the exterior of the house. In addition to blending in with the exterior colors, aluminum gutters can also be used to accent the colors on the exterior of the house. For example, a yellow house can be brightened up with cream or ivory colored gutters.
Rain gutters are an often overlooked element of a home's exterior because when properly installed and cared for, the rain gutters blend into the trim of the home. When considering the replacement of exterior rain gutters, ogee gutters are the standard choice for a seamless design installation.
Ogee Gutter Profile
The term "ogee" refers to the style of gutter, and is sometimes called "k-style." The rain gutter choices available to a homeowner are half-round and ogee. The ogee profile is flat on the bottom, flat on the back to rest on the fascia board against the home, and tapers out to be larger on the top.
Available Material Choices
Ogee gutters can be made using stainless steel, galvanized steel, vinyl, copper, plastic, or aluminum. Ogee gutters made of aluminum are the most commonly installed gutters in the U.S.
Ogee gutters are made using a flat coil stock and receive their shape from a continuous gutter machine. The flat coil is fed into the machine, and the machine bends the coil into the ogee shape. The gutter is hand cut to the appropriate size and attached to the home with screws or long nails.
A wide variety of colors are available for aluminum, vinyl, and plastic ogee gutters including white, cream, red, green, brown, and gray. Steel and galvanized gutters are a mill finish gray color, and may come in a small selection of colors depending on the manufacturer.
Continuous Aluminum Gutters
This is the most common product used today. The gutter holds more water than traditional wood gutter, and this is the product, which is generally recommended. Prices range from $9 to $12 per lineal foot. When buying aluminum gutters, insist on primary aluminum, which is the thickest and most consistent kind. Heavy gauge aluminum and steel exceeds federal housing requirements. Avoid secondary aluminum, a recycled product that's often plagued by inconsistent thickness.
Construction Sectional vs. Seamless
All gutters are either sectional or seamless (or continuous). Sectional gutters are sold in pieces and installed as component systems. All do-it-yourself gutter systems are sectional, though some pros install these too. The sections themselves can be over 20 ft. long each or cut to any size with a hacksaw. Snap-in-place connectors join gutter sections to each other and to downspouts. All sectional systems have end caps, corner pieces and drop outlets for connecting to downspouts. The drawback to sectional systems is that all those seams can eventually invite leaks they also form weak points that can permanently sag and deform after high winds and/or rainfall. Seamless gutters won't leak at seams because there are none; sections join only at inside and outside corners and at downspout outlets. That's why they're the most popular configuration. Seamless gutters, made of aluminum, galvanized steel or copper, are extruded to custom lengths on site using a portable machine.
Aluminum, Copper, Vinyl, Stainless Steel-What do they mean? Which one do I choose? Believe it or not, when it comes to gutters, you have many choices to make. Color and style are the easy part, but choosing the material can be daunting. Here is the low-down on the materials, description and a brief explanation of them:
This gutter type was once considered a traditional construction system. Now this type is very rare except in restoration work. These can also be expensive running anywhere from $12 per linear foot to $20, depending on the wood type.
Vinyl and Plastic Gutters-
These materials are commonly used and often sold in do-it-yourself hardware stores. This type of gutter is easy to install yourself. If properly installed, this product is a good product. Vinyl gutters do not rust or rot, are the easiest to cut and can be installed by you, over a weekend. The downside of these materials is that they can become brittle with age or in extreme cold. Even though vinyl or plastic gutters can cost only $3 to $5 per 10 ft. in length, they can end up costing $3 to $5 per linear foot when you factor in couplings, hangers and downspouts.
Copper gutters can be a stunning, elegant choice of gutters for a home. Copper can add a sophisticated look to a home, and having quality copper gutters is the only route if you want to go with copper at all. Of course, there is a cost associated with this type of gutter system but It is unparalleled in its style and appearance.
Copper is a shiny bright color when first used in any application. This beautiful metal is used in many applications such as minting coins, making kitchenware, to pipes, wires, bicycle parts, and much more. The finish of copper starts off very bright and shiny but this color slowly changes over time.
This color on the copper is referred to as a patina. It is actually a protective surface that is a copper oxide patina. This is a normal and expected change that happens to copper.
After a few weeks of being left out, copper usually changes color to a bluish green color, or even orange to red hues, purple, green, you name it. It can develop some funky looking colors! These colors will eventually fade in time to a darker red or brown color you are probably most familiar with when you think of copper.
Some people actually look for methods to speed up the development of the patina on copper. Depending on the application or usage of copper, the amount of time it takes for these transformations can take years. For outdoor applications like copper gutters, it can be anywhere from a few years up to 15 years depending on the sulfur dioxide in the air.
Moisture also plays a big role in the development of the patina on copper. The sulfate patina that develops on the surface of the copper is very resistant to weathering. So once it is fully developed, it will boost the durability and lifespan of copper gutters.
Some people like the original color of the copper gutters and want to preserve that. However, there is no long-term solution for that. Temporary solutions of protective coatings can be applied to the copper gutters to preserve it a bit, but eventually it will still weather and change colors.
Sometimes people want the look of copper gutters, but don't want to pay the price tag that comes with them. There is an option available where you can purchase gutters that come painted to look like copper. There are actual copper flakes inside the paint that gives it this look. It also develops the patina over time like full copper rain gutters do. Personally, I think this is silly. Why pretend to have something you really don't. I would save up for some real copper gutters, or else don't get them at all.