Seamless aluminum guttering is the most commonly installed type of guttering on residential homes in the Midwest. It is made in the field using a roll-forming machine. There are no seams in the guttering except for corners or expansion joints. There are different styles of seamless gutters, but the “K” style is by far the most common in the Midwest. This style has a flat bottom with a roundish front and a top lip that is easily identifiable. This is the style that Weathercraft installs.
There are different thicknesses of aluminum guttering. Most manufacturers provide a .029-inch- and a .032-inch-thick gutter coil. Weathercraft believes that the .029-inch is too light for the high winds and hail experienced in the Midwest. Therefore, we only install .032-inch and recommend that a homeowner clarify what thickness is considered when comparing bids. Seamless aluminum gutters are available in two sizes. The standard size for residential is 5 inches, with 6 inches commonly used in commercial applications.
Various methods of hanging gutters include spikes and ferrel, roof straps, wrap-around straps, and hidden hangers. Weathercraft has been installing gutters since the early 1980s and has found that hidden hangers result in the fewest number of callbacks with loose gutters. Weathercraft also uses screws instead of nails in the hidden hangers.
Aluminum downspouts are not seamless and are also available in two different sizes. The standard downspouts for 5-inch gutters are 2-inch-by-3-inch, while oversized downspouts are 3-inch-by-4-inch, which can be used with either the 5-inch gutters or are standard with the 6-inch gutters. Downspouts can be custom designed to discharge the water away from the house, depending on the slope of the lot, and to be in the most convenient location for the homeowner. Depending on how much roof is being drained to a certain area, downspouts should be hung for every 40 to 50 feet of gutters.
Steel Box Gutters
Steel box gutters are custom-made large gutters made of 24-gauge steel (minimum) in a sheet metal shop and mainly installed on commercial buildings. They are fabricated in 10-foot pieces, seamed together, and sealed with gutter sealant. They are typically 7 inches to -10 inches wide and can be made in varying heights and styles. Older box gutters were made of galvanized steel, but are now available in numerous finished colors.
Downspouts for steel box gutters are typically box-in shape and can be closed or open-faced, depending on the design. Box downspouts are also made of 24-gauge steel. Corrugated round downspouts of varying sizes are available and were very common in the 1970s and ’80s.
Plastic gutters occasionally are found in the Midwest. Plastic gutters are typically white and come in sections of varying lengths. Plastic gutters are susceptible to hail and ladder damage. Weathercraft does not recommend or install plastic gutters.