Homeowner: Eavestroughs

Eavestroughs, gutters, downspouts, all the hardware round your house that collects the water off your roof and directs it away from the house, turns out to be very important!

Ours needed repair; a roofer came to replace them, and took down the old ones. Then he started to put up the new ones. Mike, a handyman who works for us to do odd jobs, noticed that the new ones were too short; the gutters didn't go all the way to the end of the roof! So the workers immediately stopped and went away, leaving us without gutters. Several months later, when they had not returned, after numerous calls, we realized the problem: other roofing jobs were more lucrative. So we got someone else to finish the job, and although he did a lousy job, at least we have gutters.

In the mean-time, when we were without gutters, the drips of rain coming off the roof damaged our deck, and possibly also the porch roof.

You can get several types of gutters, or eaves troughs as they are known here in Ontario. They vary from very thin aluminium ones that come in sections, through continuuously welded aluminium made to length, to high quality steel or copper. But all the roofing people you can find in the local phone book sell the cheapest sort, and that's what we got.

One day our dog was annoyed with me, and took out his anger by chewing the down-pipe. He flattened it as you might be treading on an empty toilet-paper roll, and he left it full of holes. This shows how durable they are!

When you order the new eavestroughs, make sure you're getting the continuous welded sort (we got ones in sections, through ignorance). Also note that you can order them to be in any of a range of colours, and that way you don't have to paint them.

When the eavestroughs are in place, a golf ball placed gently in the gutter should roll towards a down-spout. The eaves-troughs should not be horizontal!

Since water is a scarce commodity in Summer, and our well sometimes runs dry, we have the down-pipes going into rain barrels. You can easily pay over $100 for a barrel, more if it has a faucet near the bottom. But you can look in the paper and find them for $20 or so, too. We have Atlantic rainbarrels that were used to make whisky; they came from Home Hardware, a Canadian chain of hardware stores.

In the Spring and early Summer, mosquitos will lay eggs in the rainwater, so you need to have a thin layer of gauze over the top of the barrels, or a lid, or to put a drop of oil on the water every so often, just as with any other open water.

You can also get (e.g. from Canadian Tire) wire trellises to put on the top of the gutters, to keep leaves out of them. You can get wire or plastic, but the plastic ones probably last about 30 seconds.

[these pages are in preparation and not yet public]