The Essentials of Commercial Gutter System Installation
When people think about roofing, they tend to stop as soon as they get to the edge of the roof itself. But this overlooks one of the most important elements of any roof: The gutter system. Whether you have a small residential home or a much larger commercial property, gutters help to protect your entire property—not just your roof.
However, not all gutter systems are the same. This is especially true when you’re considering the differences between residential and commercial properties. From the size and shape of the gutter to the slope of the roof itself, it’s essential to understand these key differences. That way, you can make sure that your commercial gutter system installation will keep your property safe and dry for years to come.
How Gutters Protect Your Commercial Property
The role of gutters is actually really simple. Gutters are channels that guide water away from your home, usually directing it to a drain or out into the street. This prevents water from collecting where you don’t want it.
This protects your property in two ways. First, it prevents water from damaging your roof. For most high-pitched roofs, gutters channel water away before it can seep under the shingles at the edge of the roof. For low-pitched roofs, which are the most common roofs on commercial properties, gutters help to prevent water from pooling on your roof, which can cause dry rot, sagging, cracks, leaks, and mold and moss growth.
Most importantly, gutters help to protect your commercial property’s foundation. When water is allowed to run off the edge of your roof without a gutter system, it can cause several problems. The ground below the roof can quickly become eroded by cascading water, leaving ugly patches of dead vegetation.
More troublesome, though, is that the soil around the foundation of your business can become waterlogged, which can lead to settling, shifting, and other moisture problems that can wreak havoc on your foundation. You may also find water seeping into your basement, leading to even more problems within your business.
The simple answer, of course, is a gutter system. But in order to be effective, you need to make sure that you get the right gutter system to meet your needs. This means knowing more than just the differences between residential and commercial systems—it means knowing about the specifications of your building, as well.
The Difference Between Residential and Commercial Gutter System Installations
While in principle, residential and commercial gutters work the same, there are a number of considerations to take into account when you’re picking out a commercial gutter system installation. Here are some of the most important differences between residential and commercial gutter systems.
In general, homeowners will find they have many more gutter materials to choose from. This is due in large part to the fact that gutters are a highly visible part of most homes. They make up an important part of a home’s visual appeal. Homeowners have to decide whether they want their gutters to make a statement, perhaps by installing a decorative copper, or if they want their gutters to blend into the fascia with a painted vinyl gutter.
While gutters are also visible on commercial properties, the most pressing concern for business owners is performance. They need gutters that are going to be able to handle a potentially large volume of water over a number of years, which is why most businesses have gutters that are made from galvanized steel or aluminum.
These materials are corrosion-resistant and can withstand not only the wear and tear of water, but also external damage, including hail, stones, and other debris.
Most homes have gutters that are either K-shaped or U-shaped. U-shaped gutters, also called half-round gutters, are essentially cylinders that have been cut in half on the long edge. They are usually made from more decorative materials like copper. K-shaped gutters, on the other hand, look more like crown molding, featuring a decorative leading edge.
While some businesses may elect to use either of these shapes, it’s much more common to find box-shaped gutters on commercial properties. While these gutters aren’t as decorative, they can hold a much higher volume of water while adding clean, professional-looking lines to the building.
Because of the differences in size between most homes and commercial properties, properties also require differently-sized gutters. Most homes will be fine with 5- or 6-inch gutters, which are measured across the opening at the top. These gutters can handle most rainfall without backing up or overflowing.
While some businesses can get away with a 6-inch gutter, most commercial gutter system installations will need to be bigger gutters, up to 8 inches. This is especially true with low-slope roofs, where the water tends to flow much more slowly, as this can lead to higher volumes inside of the gutters themselves.
This is perhaps one of the most important differences between properties. As noted above, gutters installed on homes are usually located just past the edge of the roof, where they can catch water runoff from high-pitched roofs.
However, because commercial properties tend to have low-slope roofs, gutters are usually connected to drains in the roof. The gutters themselves are attached to the side of the building, but they usually aren’t open on the top, like residential gutters.
Another consideration is the weight of the materials used in commercial gutter system installations. Steel and aluminum tend to be much heavier than vinyl gutters, and they also require more corrosion-proofing, along with paint applied at the factory. That’s why you need to have a roofer you can trust to install your commercial gutter system.
Codes and Regulations
You should be aware of any local and state rules regarding gutters on your commercial property. Some locales are very strict about how much water your gutters can accommodate, and inspectors may check to ensure that your gutters can meet minimum specifications. However, a trained local roofing contractor should be well aware of these codes, as well, and will help to make sure that your gutters are in compliance.
The Specifics of Commercial Gutter System Installation
When they are installing your commercial gutter system, your roofing contractor will take some measurements, looking at the height of your building as well as the surface area and pitch of your roof. They’ll also take a look at your existing gutter system to determine whether a gutter repair might be a better solution.
Once your roofing technician has this information, they’ll combine it with knowledge of the average rain and snowfall you can expect throughout the year, as well as any local building codes and regulations. They will then put together a quote for your commercial gutter system installation.
A reputable roofing company will explain the choices they made, talking you through all of your available options and discussing how any changes will affect the cost for the project.
The actual installation of your gutter system usually goes quickly, depending on the specifics of your building. When the project is done, you should be confident that your roof and your property’s foundation will be well-protected against any potential damage from rain or snow.
Local, Reliable Roofers Near Me
If it’s time for you to get a commercial gutter system installation, call or contact us today. We’ll get you the information you need. With our high-quality workmanship and unmatched customer service, you’ll get the gutters you need, all at a reasonable cost.