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Wood gutters are an older type of gutter installed on the edges of roofs to channel water away from the house and carry it to a safe location for it to run down a downspout and absorb into the ground. Early homes used wood gutters, but the advancements of technology led to the discovery of more efficient gutter materials such as metal and plastic. Wood requires a significant amount of maintenance and upkeep. Wood gutters may drain slower, rot from the water, or sag and fall down if not properly installed and maintained. For these reasons, homeowners typically limit the use of wood gutters to older homes where they may wish to keep up the authentic or hand-built appearance.
The main advantage of wood gutters lies in their unimposing appearance. They can create a quaint, charming home and work well when recreating historic or old houses where the owner wants to keep the traditional look and design alive. Wood gutters may also blend into the house naturally instead of standing out as metal or vinyl gutters tend to do when pared with a country or rustic architectural style.
Despite the pleasing look, wood gutters do have several disadvantages. Since wood is heavy, proper installation and constant maintenance is needed to ensure the gutters don’t come loose. Sealing with a primer or coat of paint is required at least once a year to slow down the process of rotting. Cleaning the gutters out will also prevent a buildup of leaves and debris which can trap and collect water. The rough texture of many wooded gutters causes the water to run slower through them than a smooth metal surface and, as a result, the gutters need extra cleaning to ensure they function properly.
A homeowner who wants to invest in wood gutters should first check for a reputable installer for putting up the gutters. The price is higher than many other gutter types and can range from $10 to $20 US Dollars (USD) per linear foot. The homeowner should add in the cost of time and maintenance to decide if she can keep her gutters in top shape. If she decides wood is not the right material for her, she can consider a dark color metal to blend in with the home almost as well as wood.