Stay Away From Wood Gutters

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Posted by AAA Gutters 03/28/23

Wood gutters are a common feature on many homes, but unfortunately, they are also prone to rotting. The very purpose of gutters is to carry water away from the house, which means that they are constantly exposed to moisture. Over time, this can lead to decay and deterioration, which can cause significant problems for homeowners.

One of the main causes of wood gutter rot is moisture. Gutters are designed to get wet, but when the moisture content and ambient temperatures are high enough, wood decay spores that have settled on the wood gutter will begin to germinate into fungus. The fungus grows by consuming the wood fibers of your gutters, causing the wood to become soft and spongy. Once the fungus has taken hold, it can spread very rapidly if the conditions remain favorable – wet and warm. The result is failing wood gutters that can pose a serious risk to the structural integrity of your home.

It's essential to address rotted wood gutters promptly because rot is a living organism that can spread to other parts of your house. When gutters are left unchecked, the rot may spread to the fascia board behind the gutter, and in extreme cases, the rot can spread to the rafter tails, soffit, and rake boards, leading to costly repairs. If you notice signs of rot on your wood gutters, it's best to have them replaced before other parts of your house are impacted.

There are three common types of rot found on wood gutters: brown-rot fungi, white-rot fungi, and dry-rot. Brown-rot fungi actively decay wood and are characterized by the appearance of brown cube-shaped splits, or cubical fracturing, in the wood. In advanced cases, the wood will become powdery and crumble. Brown-rot is common in wood gutters made from Douglas fir, cedar, and redwood. White-rot fungi also actively decay wood and cause the wood to take on a whitish appearance, becoming soft, spongy, or stringy. White-rot is more prevalent in hardwoods. Dry-rot, on the other hand, is not a fungi. It is a bit of a misnomer, as what is referred to as dry rot is actually brown rot in a dry, crumbly condition.

Unfortunately, replacing your old gutters with new wood gutters is not really a viable solution anymore. When your house was built, the wood was far more rot-resistant, less susceptible to insect infiltration, and far more durable than the softer new growth wood of today. Today's wood gutters made from new growth wood are often rotting in just 2 to 5 years after installation, even when properly maintained.

The solution for rotted wood gutters is to replace them with fiberglass gutters. These gutters are far more durable and rot-resistant than wood, and they require zero maintenance except for an occasional cleaning. Fiberglass gutters are the number one choice for homeowners who want a long-lasting, low-maintenance solution to their gutter problems. 

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