Just like most homeowners, you probably think gutter maintenance is something that’s not on top of your to-do list, out of sight, out of mind kind of issue. Most people believe gutters don’t need that much maintenance until they finally start to notice problems. But if there is a part of your home that needs regular maintenance, it has to be your gutters. Without gutter maintenance, it can risk damage to the foundation of your home. Don’t forget that clogged gutters can interfere with your home’s natural water drainage. Once it’s blocked, leaking is possible. Most gutter systems tend to start leaking over time, along with overtime, water runs over the top when gutters are clogged, leaving stains on the sides. This makes the overall appearance not so pleasant over time. Lots of the older gutters were the peg kind, where the peg was nailed across the whole gutter, and into the facia. The problem with this type of gutter system is, when the downspout stops up, the water fills up the gutter. When this happens, the weight of the water will pull the spike out of the facia, allowing the gutter to bend out and come loose. This can be fixed if you catch it early.
The Importance of Gutter Maintenance
It prevents costly replacements and repairs after water damage. Gutters are designed and created to collect water and immediately direct them away from your house. Once the gutter is clogged, the water collected is likely to accumulate in your gutter system, and when it stays there for long, it will seep thru your home’s structure causing fascia and other wood damage. This wood damage may need to be replaced if you wait too long to resolve the issue. Not only is this troublesome, but this also means you have to shell out money for roof repairs or replacements. When you clean your gutters religiously, leaking gutters are less likely to occur. Water won’t accumulate on the roof and put your structure at risk.
Prevent damages to your landscaping. When your house gutters are clogged, not only will this damage your home structure, but this also puts your home exterior at risk. Clogged gutters hold water, possibly dripping at the seams. It means your beautiful flower landscaping is likely to get damaged, or washed out. This also holds water against your house’s foundation, which is a big no-no. If you fail to maintain your gutters regularly, you are just doing both your pocketbook and your home a disservice!
It protects the health of your family. You also get several health benefits when you maintain your gutter properly. A clogged gutter causes moisture to develop. Whether it’s from water seeping through the foundation or a leaky roof, moisture can attract insects. This can also lead to mildew and mold. When not dealt with accordingly, this can cause serious health problems. Imagine the amount of money involved when you hire professionals just to get rid of those molds and mildew. Plus, mold is just not a health risk; it can cause damage to your property as well. To keep your gutters free from termites, mosquitoes, and insects, make sure your gutters are well-maintained.
It maintains your home’s value. Gutters are very important parts of a home that impact’s overall house foundation. When it’s poorly maintained, the house’s value depreciates over time. As a homeowner, make sure that the gutters are not clogged; otherwise, your home can be prone to water damage and compromise its value significantly! Potential home buyers will usually check the state of a home’s roof before making a purchase. If clogged gutters bring about water damage signs, you’ll likely have a hard time selling your house. You will end up spending more on repairs just to boost your property’s value. If your gutters show signs of damage along with the wood behind the gutters in a home inspection report, you can expect to adjust the homes asking price to fix the issues. I have personally had several houses needing fixing to fulfill an in-process sales contract.
Signs Your Gutters Needs an Upgrade
We all know how important rain gutters are in the home. They are there to protect your house from water damages by diverting rainwater away from your house, thus, it’s important to keep a fully functioning gutter system to avoid inconveniences in the future. While it sounds easy, it takes dedication and time from a homeowner to keep a gutter system in perfect working condition.
Although hiring a professional rain gutter repair service will do wonders, it’s still important to pay close attention to the telltale signs that your gutter system finally needs an upgrade. Here are ten signs to observe to help you decide whether your rain gutter needs a renovation.
#1. Stagnant Water. If you notice stagnant water just below your downspout’s outlet, your drainage system may have a problem. When left unattended, the pooled water can potentially seep through your home’s foundation and may result in structural problems. Downspouts are crucial elements in your rain gutter system because they are the ones that carry rainwater going down from your gutter to a strategic place on the ground. Downspouts are normally secured away from the property. However, when they become damaged, they will begin to dispose of water in the wrong place, initially in your garden. These are alarming signs that need immediate attention so you can avoid damaging your home’s overall structure.
#2. Messy Façade. When mud is splashed against your home’s wall, this can make your siding appear sloppy and untidy. A messy façade means that your rain gutter system is not functioning properly. The most common reason is an overflowing gutter caused by a clog, and it has to be repaired the soonest. Keep in mind that the appeal of your home can greatly add value to your property. Meaning, it’s imperative that your gutter system has to work correctly. That way, you won’t have to deal with terrible leaking gutters that somehow makes your outdoor space looking neglected and dirty.
#3. Rotting Fascia. The fascia serves as a blockage against precipitation brought about by rainwater. It creates a surface on the edge of the roof and protects your home from different weather conditions. The fascia also covers the gaps between the walls and the roof to keep rodents away from your property. When your rain gutter system overflows, this can cause the fascia to rot easily, even more quickly if you are using a wooden fascia. In case you see this in your house, it’s a clear sign to immediately change your rain gutter. That way, you won’t have to worry about the costly and time-consuming process of replacing your whole roof fascia.
#4. Sagging Gutters. Come the rainy season. Your rain gutters will start to become heavy because of the weight of the rainwater. Since gutters are usually made of materials like galvanized steel, aluminum, or vinyl, heavy gutters tend to sag, bend, or even loosen when it stores too much water. When this happens, the gutter will stop working, causing the rainwater to pool alongside its length. It adds to the weight and causes sagging. Don’t ignore these signs when you notice them. Call your local professionals to check for the best solutions.
#5. Holes and Cracks. Have you noticed holes and tiny cracks along your rain gutters, and you just shrugged them off, believing they are just small problems? Well, think again. Holes and cracks, when unattended, will grow large over time. You will end up having a leaky drainage system. You’ll likely see water flowing down your front door, your siding, or your driveway. These pose a potential risk for you because these areas will remain slippery. The usual solution for these problems is either replacement of the damaged sections or an extensive repair.
#6. Pests. The presence of pooled water is a perfect breeding ground not only for mosquitoes but also for other pests. The thought of going outdoors with mosquitoes lurking here and there is reason enough to make it hard for you to enjoy outdoor spaces. Gutters are homey places for birds, possums, mice, and even snakes. It’s best to check for pests clogging your gutter. That way, water can freely flow away from your property.
#7. Overflowing Gutters. When your gutter overflows, this is a very serious problem that can cause significant damage to your property. An overflowing gutter usually has three reasons: your gutters are not long enough to handle the rainwater volume, your gutters are sagging, or the downspout of your gutter is clogged. To check the underlying cause of the overflow, it’s best to seek advice from professionals. That way, they will assess and diagnose the problem and then go on with their action plans.
#8. Seam Separation. Seam separation is common, especially if your home utilizes the traditional seamed gutters. When this happens, the gutter system cannot function properly anymore, thus allowing water to run down on the sides of your house. Over time, this can damage your home’s siding, windows, paints, and even your surrounding landscaping. If you often find yourself constantly reconnecting parts of your gutters, then it’s time to replace them with new gutters to protect your property from outside water damage.
#9. Water in the Basement. When you notice your basement is wet, this may be a sign of several issues. But in most cases, some homeowners overlook their gutters when there’s water in their basements. When water is continuously pouring down on your home’s structure/foundation instead of getting diverted away, this will cause them to seep into your basement and possibly result in very costly damages. Upgrading your gutters can help prevent this from happening.
#10. Missing Screws or Broken Fasteners. These tiny hard wares are there to keep your gutters secured. They are attached to your home’s exterior. Although these parts are expected to give way at some point, having loose screws or broken fasteners repeatedly are clear manifestations that your gutter needs replacement.
Gutter Upgrade Basics: How Often Should You Replace your Gutters
A good and well-maintained gutter system is critical to guarantee your home is protected against the many water damage effects. This is the reason why it’s just as important to know when you need to upgrade or replace them. When the need calls for it, tapping the help of a trusted roof replacement contractor is the best solution. However, you must understand some important things you need to understand before you finally decide to upgrade your gutters.
Gutters Repairs vs. Complete Replacements
This is quite tricky. Have you ever found yourself asking which one is better: gutter repairs or completely replacing them? When you choose between both, it can be tough. So, your best solution is to seek the professional advice of home improvement pros that deal in gutter installations as they are the ones who can tell what solution is suitable for your gutter system based on the extent of the damage.
Any small damage on at least a portion of the gutter section calls for a repair. Similarly, if you find cracks and holes in the gutter, a repair needs to be done immediately. Bent and sagging gutters can be re-secured back to the roof’s fascia, while gutter hangers hanging loosely can be tightly screwed. However, professional roof replacement specialists will often advise replacing your gutters if they find them too damaged or when the fasteners and nails no longer hold properly.
Should You Hire a Professional Gutter Cleaner?
Almost all homeowners know how important it is to keep their house gutters working properly. Gutters are there to drain water away from your home and keep your drainage efficient. Gutters also help you save from unnecessary expenses brought about by damages that usually occur on the foundation, siding, roof, and landscaping.
But how do you ensure that your gutters are functioning properly and keep your home from getting damaged? To start, you need to keep them clean and well-maintained. Although the idea of cleaning your house gutters yourself may sound like a good thought, doing so is not advised. Instead, hiring professionals to do the cleaning is the best way to maintain your gutters. Here are the reasons why.
You can avoid accidents. Whether you admit it or not, no amount of YouTube tutorials can help you with your DIY gutter cleaning projects. You just cannot reach the level of expertise those professional gutter cleaners have. After acquiring ample amounts of experience cleaning hundreds of gutters, professionals know what they’re doing. And since they are experts, they understand how to keep safe while working on your gutters; whether on the ladder, on the roof, or the fascia. It’s not that you will come across accidents while you do the cleaning yourself, but chances are, you will. Thus, if you lack the experience of properly working on a ladder, it’s still best to seek the experts’ help.
You get quick results. Without a doubt, efficiency results from experience. When you tap the help of a professional who regularly does the job, you can achieve quicker and better results than when you handle the task yourself. To save yourself from the struggle of cleaning your gutter without knowing if you’re doing it properly, it’s still best to call an experienced gutter cleaning expert. It’s fast, it’s efficient, and it will get the job done correctly.
Professionals know what they’re doing. They are aware of all the twists and turns of gutter cleaning. They know what they are doing, and they know how to do it right the first time. Of course, you can remove debris and leaves from your gutter. After all, that’s where all this debris is supposed to be.
However, things are not the same with professionals because they know all the nooks and crannies in a gutter system. They can identify where the leak may have started, and they can deal with the issue efficiently. Or, in the event when a sudden leak happens in the middle of the cleaning job, they can immediately nip it on the bud. Imagine if you do it yourself; you are likely to panic, right? Thus, it’s imperative to call a professional, so you get effective results that you will not achieve.
Professionals know everything about gutters. Hiring a professional gutter cleaner is a wise choice as this can give you all the assistance you need from somebody who knows everything about how gutters work. A professional in this field is likely to be adept in this area, and just by looking and inspecting your gutter for telltale signs of problems, he can easily tell you what needs to be done. Does your gutter need a simple clean up? Or is a replacement and upgrade already necessary? Only a professional can assess these things.
Being not familiar with cleaning gutters, you will risk yourself unnoticing cracks or rusts around your gutters. Professionals cannot miss these. Thus, to avoid pricey repairs and gutter replacements, in the long run, it just makes sense to hire someone who does not only clean your gutter but who can also inform you of the many possible problems with it.
Upgrading Your Gutter
When the need to upgrade your home calls’ outdoor look, a good way to start is by upgrading your gutters. Gutters play very crucial roles in any part of your home. It has a massive impact not only on your home’s aesthetics but also on your property’s safety. But how will you know what type of gutter do you exactly need? There are several options for styles and make, including copper or seamless aluminum. But before you dive into your gutter upgrading project, there are some helpful things you should consider.
The Scope of the Project. Gutter installation projects like the common sectional guttering are usually considered DIY projects for most homeowners who believe they can do this tedious project themselves. However, even the most experienced and highly skilled gutter installer will admit that gutter upgrades are very labor-intensive projects. Even the best gutter installation will have leaks at the seams over time, along with other issues, as the gutters start to age.
To avoid this, seamless gutters are good options. These are gutters that are made as one continuous piece. It has no seams; thus, leak issues are less likely to happen. Although installing is quite a challenge and needs two people to secure and handle everything in place, more homeowners today are starting to go for these types of gutters. This is the reason why gutter installation should be done by professionals who have had the right training to keep your home aesthetically pleasing and can guarantee that your gutter and roofing needs are met.
The Material to Use: Copper, Aluminum, or Vinyl? Aluminum is a silver steel-based metal. Any aluminum gutter installation will look very clean and crisp. It is also rust-free, lightweight, and very easy to install. On average, aluminum costs $5 to $10 per linear foot. It’s the most popular choice among many homeowners, whether for new house construction or a gutter remodeling.
Copper, meanwhile, is also very resilient, just like aluminum. Upon installation, it looks colorful and shiny. But over time, the usual blue-green discoloration eventually sets in. This is one reason why other homeowners prefer copper gutters. It’s a more expensive gutter option, approximately running $15 per linear foot. But despite the price, this is still a common choice for a high-end statement.
Vinyl gutters are also becoming popular because they don’t rust, dent, chip, leak, or crush. It doesn’t require any painting jobs, although you can commonly see them in brown and white.
The Size and the Shape. To understand the size and shape suitable for your home, gutter installation experts can help you. The most common shapes are the K-shaped and U-shaped profiles. The gutter’s size is more complex since it is determined by your roof area’s size, plus how much water is to be carried during storms. The diameter of a gutter is usually four to six inches.
Downspouts. Downspouts are also important aspects to factor in. They can be round or rectangular, straight or curved, and they come in different diameters to accommodate the gutter size. Other factors to consider are the frequency of rains, overhanging trees, or seasonal patterns. All these can play a part in assessing what gutters will work best for your needs.
Downspout Extensions. When you need an extra length at the end of your downspout, these extensions come in handy. They can be simple extensions across your yard or through your landscaping, or maybe a buried pipe that guides the run-off into dry wells.
Roof Maintenance and Safety Tips
During the summer days, it’s likely that your roof has endured wear and tear from summer storms brought by rains, winds, and even hail. That’s why it’s extremely important to seek professionals’ help to check your gutters and the structural integrity of the roof as the seasons change. While you can easily see cracks, curls, and even missing shingles, you’re not that experienced yet to spot other damages like flashing, eaves, and the likes. So how do you maintain your roof?
Clean your gutters. For many homeowners, gutters are very frustrating because they can leak after a summer rainfall, get clogged with leaves from the autumn winds, and worse, it can overflow as snow begins to melt in the winter. To lessen the risks of structural damages and clogging, your gutter must be regularly cleaned, ideally twice a year. Do this once in the springtime and fall seasons. Tap the help of your local professional roofing company because not only will they keep your gutters free from debris, but they also check brackets, seams, and bolts.
Trim your trees. It’s relaxing to have trees close by, especially during spring and summer. However, these trees’ beautiful leaf-out limbs may have possibly grown too close to your house. Check for overhanging branches because these can puncture the shingles and even scrape your roof. Also, fallen leaves can cause your gutters to clog. It’s best to have a roof maintenance inspection once in a while. Once it’s completed, the roofing contractor can tell you if your tree nearby needs trimming, or if not, what should be done to lessen the risks of damaging your roof.
Finding the Right Gutter Repair and Installation Company
By this time, you now have a clear understanding of how important maintaining your gutter is. When your gutter gets clogged, it may be very tempting to handle the gutter’s cleaning and repairing yourself. But it’s still best to leave the job to the pros because not only will they get the job done. They can also provide longevity to your gutters.
If you are just like one of the many homeowners who have yet to touch the help of professional gutter cleaners and repairs specialists, finding the ideal company is daunting because of your overwhelming options. Below are critical points you should consider when you are scouting for the best gutter cleaning company.
Check the internet. By the time you realize that your gutter needs professional and thorough cleaning, you can start scouting the cleaning companies available within your area. The internet is the easiest and most convenient way for that. When you look for a company, you can check not only what they offer, but you get to read reviews from people who already have tapped the services of these companies. Go for reputable firms. Do your research. From there, contact them and check what they can offer you.
License. As you contact your chosen gutter cleaning companies, check the necessary licenses and registration. Although most companies display their certificates and registration numbers on their websites, some still don’t. If these documents are not available online, make sure you ask from their customer service desk.
Location. Go for a company that is close to your location. This is particularly important if your home is in an area that snows because gutter cleaning services are needed more often. Take note that you will choose to do your gutter cleaning has to consider their transportation or commuting costs (and this is added to your bill). Ideally, go for a company nearest you. It can help you save money, and the response time is better than those companies miles away.
Cost. Compare prices and choose providers that offer warranties for the service they offer.
Questions to Ask Your Gutter Contractor
When you invite a gutter contractor at home, it’s normal to ask:
- How long have you been in the industry?
- Do you have references?
- Are you a Better Business Bureau member?
While these questions can help, these are very basic. These should not be the ones you will ask. Below are the critical questions to help you ensure that you choose the right people for the job.
#1. What gutter sizes do you install?
Most houses have 5-inch gutters. Others have 6”. But even for a mere inch difference, the 6” gutters can greatly improve performance. If the contractor only deals with 5” gutters, chances are, they’re not giving you the best option.
#2. When installing gutters, do you use a level?
It’s very surprising to note that only very few contractors use a level in their installation jobs. Levels are the only way to check if the gutters are properly pitched. An unlevelled gutter is a primary reason why many homeowners go through the horrible experience of water problems in the gutter.
Gutters that are incorrectly pitched are guaranteed to cause problems in the long run because it can cause water pooling inside the gutters. While it takes a few seconds to level a gutter properly, most installers would prefer to do conduct a “water test” to check if the water flows properly in the right direction.
#3. Are you insured or bonded?
Insurance policies on liability and worker’s compensation are very expensive, and gutter and roofing firms pay the highest premiums. This is why only very few companies have insurance.
When you hire an installer with no proper insurance, you can be held liable if injuries happen while he is on your property. If this bothers you, check the company’s insurance certificate.
#4. How can you improve my home gutter?
Gutter installations are considered low-margin businesses. It is a volume game. This means that many installers will want to get your repairs done as quickly as possible and move on to the next client. It’s important to ask your contractors what they can offer to improve the design of your gutter. Listen to what they have to say. Asking them this will give you an idea of the company’s experience, quality of work, and attention to detail.
Now that you know the importance of upgrading your gutters and maintaining them, it’s now up to you whether you do it yourself or leave the work to the skilled professionals. While maintaining a gutter is may seem like it’s as easy as removing dead leaves clogging the system, nothing still beats leaving these things to the professionals.