By Elton Magoon
The mystery, at least for me, is why anyone would want wood gutters. I just don't understand why anyone in this day and age would spend good money, installing and fixing wood. It is a dainty roof run-off solution, made from a material that is susceptible to water damage. This splintery product needs constant attention or it rots. They are a curse that I would think any home owner would jump at the chance to free themselves from. Unfortunately, some historical houses must by law keep their wood gutters.
Some people claim they love the look of wood, but who really notices the gutters? Once the gutters are painted, the untrained eye can't tell the difference between wood, aluminum, or plastic.
Most wood gutters can't handle a lot of water volume either. The petite little gooseneck drains seem to always be clogged. The wood never seems to get enough linseed oil despite multiple coats. When water pools and sits in the gutter, an expensive repair is right around the corner.
I have heard people say that gutters made from wood are indisputably the best. Some experts claim gutters made of redwood can last a hundred years-A HUNDRED YEARS HE SAYS! Sure they may last a long time with constant maintenance, but doesn't a home owner have other things to do?
Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for the people who install and maintain wood gutters. There is an art and a science to it. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of these artisans around anymore. The amount of tar I routinely see in wood gutters is proof enough for me. Also, why is there so much disagreement on maintenance? When it comes to oiling wood, do you use boiled or unboiled? Or do you use engine oil? Or are they all equally as good? Is it one, two, or three coats? You will get a different answer depending on which expert you ask.
The one thing I like about wood gutters is that they are easy to clean. I would be perfectly happy cleaning them out day after day, I just try to avoid working on them. Avoidance happens to be easy because few people want to pay the money to have the work done right. I can't say I blame them.