Aluminum Gutters: Traditional vs Seamless
Aluminum gutters account for much of the recent progress that has been made in gutter technology. If you're shopping for aluminum gutters, you'll have to choose between seamless and traditional. Seamless versions come with seams and because of that they have a tendency to leak. Traditional versions have invisible hanger systems. When choosing between seamless and traditional versions, make sure to check on attributes of the aluminum gutters that will make it more durable.
Seamless Aluminum Gutters
It is a myth that seamless aluminum gutters are completely seamless. The fact is that they have seams just like the traditional ones and hence there can be a tendency to develop leaks at a later date. Seams are present at corners within the aluminum gutters as well as at every outlet tube.
When doing a comparison between traditional and seamless aluminum gutters, focus on attributes pertaining to durability. Aspects like the method with which the aluminum gutters are installed. They can be attached to the home mounted using floating hangers or spikes. While floating hangers facilitate contraction and expansion, ferrules and spikes can become loose over time. The material used in the gutter needs to be relatively thick. Ideal thickness is somewhere around 0.032 inches and any thinner will crease or dent if a ladder is placed or branch strikes the aluminum gutters.
Some of the traditional as well as seamless aluminum gutters have hanger systems that are a better alternative to ferrules and spikes. Spikes are not just unattractive but also have a weak method of attachment. The newer hanger mechanisms allow nailing through the sheathing on the roof to the rafter top. This enhances the hold power. Hangers expand and contract with fluctuating temperatures, which can result in leaks at seams. However, in the case of traditional aluminum gutters these versions can handle expansion. Expansion joints can help with the contraction and expansion and need to be installed if the aluminum gutters are beyond 40 feet in length. While you can easily get expansion joints with traditional aluminum gutters, it can be difficult with a seamless version.
While aluminum gutters will never rust, they do have a tendency to corrode, which is why you should never keep aluminum within contact of other metals like tin, copper or steel. This can cause electrolysis and make the aluminum disappear. Chemicals present in stucco, concrete, treated lumber and brick mortar also cause corrosion. Use heavy plastic or rubber sheets to isolate the aluminum gutters.
Warranties and Installation
One aspect to consider is the warranty provided by the manufacturer, irrespective of whether you are planning to opt for traditional or seamless aluminum gutters. Many manufacturers are offering extended warranties these days. Choosing them over others makes sense as you are protected from costly repairs later on. Choosing a company that provides you with installers is a good idea. You should also make sure to choose manufacturers who provide excellent customer service and repair solutions should a problem occur.
The capacity of the aluminum gutters to bear weight also matters. Certain traditional aluminum gutters support weights of as much as 50 pounds for each linear foot.