The Basics of Basic Gutter Systems
In Pacific Northwest towns like Portland, Oregon, rain and moisture are as constant as the Columbia River. And all of that moisture means it’s especially important for residents to keep their homes properly weatherized. Portland’s rain gutters play a critical role in weatherization by increasing the lifespan of building foundations and roofs. Without them, water perpetually saturates the earth around the foundation, breaking it down more rapidly. Gutters also protect roofs by preventing moisture from running under shingles.
But, in this area, gutters are a given. No one needs to be convinced of their importance. However, not everyone keeps their gutters in great shape. And our years of experience repairing and building roof systems in Oregon has led us to believe that there is still much for residents to learn about their gutter systems.
For example, a basic gutter system does a fantastic job of carrying water away from the foundation of the building. But how does it perform during ice or snow storms? What about in wooded areas where falling debris is a year-round battle?
There are a number of ways that Portland homeowners can get more from their gutters in the short term and prevent damage in the long-term. Here are some secrets to getting both.
1. Plastic or Mesh Gutter Screens
Screens for gutters do exactly what you’d think. Similar to a screen door that keeps bugs out of the house, gutter screens prevent leaves, twigs, and pine needles from collecting in troughs and downspouts. The mesh or plastic screens are installed by snapping or placing them onto the horizontal sections and they work by letting water through, but no debris.
Though gutter screens are very effective, they do need to be cleaned periodically in order to prevent buildup on the screens themselves.
2. Surface Tension Guards
Surface tension guards fit between the roof and the gutter and work by following the principle of surface tension. This refers to how water molecules stick together just before flowing over an edge. As water gathers onto the lip of the guard, it’s directed into the trough while debris slips over the edge onto the ground below. These types of guards aren’t the best for tree needles, but they stand up against ice, snow, heavy winds, and large branches.
These guards need to be installed by one of our roofing specialists in order to get the most out of them. Installation is tricky because the slope needs to match that of the roof. And in some cases, surface tension guards require adjusting the gutters.
3. Foam Inserts
Porous foam gutter filters are the easiest to install but come with a host of upkeep tasks. They require more frequent cleaning because they’re susceptible to mold, seed germination, and moss growth. They also catch small pieces of debris that accumulate and minimize filtering efficiency over time. Foam inserts have the advantage of being pliable and lightweight, making them resistant to dents and bends. They can also be treated with solutions that inhibit mold growth and UV damage. In the end, however, this type of gutter screen is best as a short-term solution.
Gutter upgrades, repair, cleaning, and installation all under one roof
Dr. Roof helps Portland, Oregon residents keep their homes dry and free from damage by providing expert roofing and gutter service. Talk to us about how we can help your gutters perform better within your budget. We have a variety of options and are happy to schedule an appointment to inspect your current gutter system and offer professional insight.