Are you thinking about replacing your gutter system with a new one? If so, you will soon learn there are several options to choose from in terms of material, style, quality, and more. One of the choices you may come across are wooden gutters. Although a staple a hundred years ago, today, this type of set up is mostly seen on very old homes.
On the other hand, there are modern methods for using wood for a gutter system, and it is common for contractors to use these systems when restoring historical properties. But before deciding on a natural material like wood for your new gutters, be sure to consider all the facts. You may decide that wood is not the right choice for your home. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about wood gutter systems.
Maintenance and Longevity
When shopping around for major exterior components of a home, such as gutters, your top priority is generally to find a durable product that requires little maintenance and will last a long time. Unfortunately, wood gutters do not fit this description. Because wood is a natural element, it is more prone to damages caused by natural wear and tear, inclement weather, precipitation, humidity, heat, sun, nuisance wildlife, pest infestations, and more. With good care, a wood system can last 15 to 30 years or more, but it takes a lot of work.
If you are looking for a low-maintenance system that will last several decades, turn your attention toward alternative materials, like galvanized steel, aluminum, or even vinyl. These materials are the most popular and recommended in the residential and commercial gutter market.
Cost and Installation
Not only do alternative gutter materials require less maintenance and last longer, they are cheaper and easier to install compared to wood. Wood is heavy, and it is naturally-sourced, so it makes sense that it is more expensive to purchase, more expensive to install, and more difficult to install. When wood gutters are the only option for your personal preference, you must be prepared to pay more, implement a higher standard of care, and recognize that you may have to replace them at some point.
Types of Wood
If you decide to pursue wooden gutters, your best option is to choose a wood that is more resilient and durable than others, like Redwood or red cedar heartwoods. These are the go-to choices for historical renovations and wood gutters because they both contain natural oils that work well to repel water, which reduces the onset of mold, mildew, and fungal growth, as well as, water leaks. Furthermore, these natural oils work well against drying out (splitting and cracking), which is another common problem for wooden gutters.
If you need a cheaper option that will still do the job, Douglas fir is acceptable. Although it is cheaper than redwoods and red cedar heartwoods, it will not last as long nor stand up against outdoor elements as well. Routine painting and mineral oil application (do not use linseed or Tung oil) can help prevent these problems and increase the life of your wood.