[:en]Rain gutters may not be the most exciting aspect of your home, but they are arguably one of the most important. Whether you are a new homeowner or simply have never given your rain gutters much though, here are the main things you need to know:

Why Gutters Are So Important

Without gutters and downspouts to direct rain and snow away from your home, the moisture can really wreak havoc in a variety of ways. Excess rain and snow with nowhere to go can damage your roof and cause it to leak, lead to wood rot, and flow directly toward your foundation, causing water damage and even basement flooding. Gutters keep the water flowing away from your roof, exterior walls, basement, and foundation in order to prevent expensive damage.

Gutters Come in a Variety of Materials

Vinyl gutters are very popular because they are affordable and easy to cut and install, making them a good option for those on a budget and DIY-ers who want to install their own gutters. Aluminum gutters are more durable than vinyl and are also rust-proof. Steel gutters are extremely heavy duty and can stand up to years of abuse by the elements, but unfortunately they are prone to rust after a while. Copper gutters are starting to gain popularity for their beauty, especially with homeowners having a home built or renovating an older home to be more beautiful.

Gutters Need Cleaned Out Regularly

The rule of thumb is to clean out your gutters twice a year in the spring and fall, as well as any time you notice that they are clogged with leaves and debris. Dirty gutters can’t perform their job effectively and also attract rodents and other pests. Cleaning your gutters yourself is relatively simple but perhaps not for the faint of heart or those who are afraid of heights. Gutter cleaning and repair companies are abundant, and many will set you up on a regular schedule throughout the year.

Positioning Matters

Gutters need to be installed at a slight pitch in order to properly carry water away from your home. In general, they should decline an inch or two for every forty feet of length. Getting your gutters and downspouts in just the right position can be a little tricky, so if you are installing or replacing gutters you may want to hire a professional contractor.

Consider Adding Rain Chains

Rain chains are alternatives to conventional downspouts that are designed to be as beautiful as they are functional. The rain chain is a decorative series of metal chains or cups that gently direct rain downward from your gutters in a way that is very pleasant to behold. Since they help guide the rainwater down in stages, it doesn’t fall to the ground with as much impact, minimizing rain and snow damage to your landscaping.

Homeownership comes with many responsibilities, including the proper maintenance of your rain gutters. For more helpful tips for all areas of your home, including home security, keep checking for new Fluent blog posts.[:]