Sometimes, the most important features of a building's design are in the small details. This is certainly the case when it comes to gutters and downspouts on your steel building. Gutters are an essential component for diverting rainwater, snow melt and heavy condensation from your roof and directing it elsewhere.
While walking through streams of water to get in and out of the building may be (barely) tolerable, failure to install these critical details can gravely affect the quality and durability of your building.
Gutters Are an Essential "Detail" in Your Steel Building Design
There are a multitude of reasons why gutters are important to the longevity of your steel building. Here are three of the top contenders:
- You Will Save a Ton of Money. Let's just start right out with the big guns. Money is always a top priority. In fact, it's often the reason why people skip the gutters in the first place. One less thing to pay for, right? We assure you, however, the relatively minor investment of gutters will pay for itself over and over again in terms of the maintenance nightmares gutters will prevent throughout your building's lifetime.
Installing gutters may be one of the most cost-effective things you can do to protect your building in the long run. By now, you are probably aware that steel and metal are two of the most durable building materials out there. Their weakness, however, is moisture. Once a protective coating is penetrated, you run the risk of rust and corrosion that will quickly compromise your building's structural integrity.
Once the building's structural integrity is compromised, the dollar signs start mounting. Leaks have to be repaired, whole sections of foundation, wall panels and/or framing materials may need to be replaced. Interior possessions and finishes may need to be repaired or replaced, and you will have to re-coat the compromised exterior components more often than you ever would have if a good water drainage system had been implemented.
- Prevent Widespread Moisture Damage. Yes, steel and metal buildings can be built with incredibly durable coatings. However, rainwater and snow melt are often laden with environmental toxins that react with the protective coatings, no matter how tough they are, and this will eventually lead to their breakdown and the infiltration of moisture. Installing gutters and downspouts will keep this water moving down and away from your building it never has a chance to do any damage.
Your building isn't the only thing that can be compromised by moisture. When water isn't directed where you want it to go, it chooses the path it wants to take. That path often leads to oversaturated soil around your building's foundation. In addition to compromising your foundation, this water can flood your home or business. It is also more apt to cause erosion, which destroys landscaping and leads to sediment and debris that clog storm drains and can destroy the local environment.
- Physical Comfort. Finally, there is an immediately impactful reason to install gutters: they prevent your building from turning into a Niagara Falls attraction. Kids may think it's fun to run in and out of the sheets of water that pour from your roof line and down to the ground below, odds are you and your customers will not. These sheets of water can last for days or weeks depending on the climate in your area. They make entrance and egress to and from your building a nightmare.
The resulting water from these downpours will flood your home or business's entrance, making it difficult or impossible to navigate. If your business has hard surface flooring, a lack of gutters will create more water on your interior floor surfaces, which puts you, employees and customers at greater risk for slip and fall accidents. Gutters are a one-stop solution to this, diverting the water from even a mild rain storm away from building entrances where runoff is never a nuisance.
"But, wait," you say. "We designed a nifty roof line that carries moisture runoff onto the side of the building and into channels/drains/perfectly sloped grading that directs it elsewhere..."
While we commend your ingenuity and thoughtfulness to future water runoff, these solutions aren't enough. Odds are, there is still too much water penetrating the ground directly adjacent to your building and this is bad news for your foundation and your steel building components. Are you prepared to maintain the "perfect" slope and drainage required to divert the water where it needs to go? Can you control the work neighboring developers or builders do on lots adjacent to you? While these types of water shedding systems are effective in theory, they cannot compete with a well-built gutter system.
Have questions about the gutters required for your steel building? Contact the representatives at Whirlwind Steel.