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The main purpose of a rain gutter is to protect a building's foundation by channeling water away from its base. The gutter also helps to reduce erosion, prevents leaks in basements and crawlspaces, and protects painted or stained surfaces by reducing exposure to water. Often found attached to the fascia.


Most new homes have 5" seamless gutter and 2"x3" downspouts installed on them. Some homes with tile roofs and those with roof areas needing higher capacity system will need a 6" seamless gutter and 3"x4" downspouts. Sometimes, although the gutters are in need of replacement, the downspouts may be reusable.


Galvanized steel is a little stronger than aluminum but may rust over 5 to 10 years as the paint wears. Gutters that are not kept clean will have a shorter life because rust will start where raw steel is exposed (at a seam, corner, or where a hole was drilled to let water exit) unless they are primed and sealed.


Aluminum with a baked-on finished wears better than the steel, and can be cleaned from time to time with a mild detergent. But, sooner or later, you will need to repaint either one.

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