20 Important Questions to Ask About Gutters

Perched off your home’s fascia, gutters are often out of sight and out of mind – until there’s a problem. If you are lucky, these problems are infrequent. But if infrequent, then basic knowledge about gutters is not widely dispersed, leaving homeowners feeling vulnerable when dealing with contractors. Want to arm yourself with some knowledge so that you can better evaluate your options? Browse through our gutter FAQs to familiarize yourself with some basics about gutter systems.

Do I Need Gutters 

If you have a foundation, then you need gutters.

How Much Do Gutters Costs

Good seamless aluminum gutters with professional installation cost between $6.00 to $12.00 per lineal foot.

The cost is dependent on several factors, such as:

  • The grade and thickness of the aluminum, with the gold standard being .032 thickness
  • The number of stories of home
  • The amount of gutter sections
  • Site conditions – sloped grounds, bushes, trees, gardens impact access and therefore costs

Are Gutter Guards Overkill

No. In fact, guards are highly recommended if your property is surrounded by trees. Gutters become less when filled with leaves or other debris. It does not take many leaves to create an 80% clog. Without a good gutter cover, gutters are functioning poorly 75% of the year.

How Long Do Gutters Last 

  • A high-quality grade .032 aluminum will last 20 years or longer, assuming they are maintained properly. We have installed gutters that have been in customers’ homes for over 30 years.
  • Vinyl gutters only tend to last five years or less. The freeze/thaw cycle tends to weaken the molecular structure causing them to crack, break and fall apart.

How Long Does Gutter Installation Take?

A typical gutter will be installed within several hours. Larger homes or more complex systems can take a full day or more. We communicate our anticipated installation time when we provide an estimate.

We carry all the material and equipment needed on our site truck. Custom colors or special material are available but may need to be purchased specifically for your project which could require some lead time.

Which Materials Are Best for Gutters 

We primarily recommend either aluminum or copper. Copper can be four times more expensive, so homeowners typically prefer aluminum.

Both products perform well and have a long-life span. Aluminum offers more color options.

Aluminum repairs typically involve cleaning the interior to remove failed sealant and then re-sealing the seams. Copper is typically soldered and re-soldering the seams is a much more expensive repair.

Continuous versus Pieced (sectional-seamed) Gutters 

We recommend seamless gutters.

Seamless gutters mean that the gutter that extends between the corners of your home are fabricated as one piece. But these single pieces must be joined at the corners with special corner connectors therefore there are seams in the system.

Many box stores offer gutter sections sold in varying lengths (typically 8’ or 10’). Homeowners or contractors will need to join the pieces together using seam connectors. The weakest point of any gutter system are the seams. The more seams, the higher the probability of leaks.

How Often Should I Clean My Gutters 

The incorrect consensus is that your gutters should be cleaned once in the Spring and once in the Fall. But think through the logic of this and ask yourself “does this make sense”?

Typically, beginning in late September, your gutters begin filling with falling leaves. The average homeowner waits until all the leaves fall and then has the gutters cleaned. The problem is it only takes a few leaves to clog your gutters at the leader opening. Therefore, your gutters may become clogged within the first two weeks of falling leaves. Unfortunately, you have now lived with non-functioning gutters for several weeks or months. During this time, you are risking damage to your fascia and the other negative effects to your siding, foundation, and property. Additionally, the added weight from water collecting and sitting in the gutters causes stress on the fastening system and wood structure behind the gutters and can cause premature gutter failure. Dirty water flowing down and through your gutters streak stains that are sometimes impossible to remove, voiding any paint warranty you may have.

Should I Repair or Replace My Gutters 

  • Here are some considerations to evaluate when deciding to either repair or replace your gutters:
  • Are your gutters stained on the outside and can those stains be easily removed?
  • Are you ok with living with stained gutters?  (This is an aesthetic preference).
  • Do the gutters or leaders have dents or cracks? Are you ok with that?

Dented gutters do not necessarily affect the function of the system. Gutter guard installation may require an even surface to install. Dented or cracked leaders can affect the flow of water and should be replaced.

  • Are your gutters leaking? If so, can they be repaired? If not, then new gutters are needed.
  • Are your existing gutters properly pitched?
  • Are your existing gutters installed, mounted, and fastened properly?

Inferior brackets can be changed. Rusting, non-weather screw fastener can also be changed out without removing the gutters. Older gutters with “spikes and ferrules” as fasteners which fail need to be changed to a modern fastener. 

Is your fascia board damaged?

Anytime you might need to remove the gutters you may also want to look at the other factors listed above to determine if it makes better financial sense to install new gutters.

Is It Important that a Contractor Be Licensed and Insured 

A licensed contractor ensures the absolute minimum qualifications to perform your work. Many jurisdictions also require bonding and insurance to help further protect you. There are many other factors to consider when hiring a contractor, but these two requirements are minimum hurdles that need to be cleared.

Insurance is critical in the event a contractor damages your home or if there is some type of on-site accident.

How Do I Research References? 

Call them and ask questions you deem important. Be advised that references are cherry-picked, so you might need to do some more digging.

How Do I Research Complaints? 

You can check with the Better Business Bureau and other such ratings, licensing, or professional organizations.  If the company has an online presence, read testimonials and reviews, paying attention to how they resolve complaints, if any.

How will a Contractor’s Service Impact My Warranty?

First, it is important that they offer a warranty, and you understand what it covers. Also, hire a contractor with the proper credentials for the products that they are installing because many warrantees are void if not installed by a certified contractor.

Can I Install Gutters Myself?

You can buy sections of gutters at your local box store. If you have the expertise, equipment, and tools then yes you can install them yourself. You will need typically two people to help. You will have more seams as seamless gutters are not available from a store. When you do a cost analysis you will most likely learn that it is not much more to have your gutters installed professionally and benefit from a warranty.

Seamless gutters are a “Supply-Installed” product. The material comes in rolls and is formed with a special expensive roll forming machine. This is done at your home and fabricated to fit your exact sizes needed.

Is a DIY Gutter Cleaning Easy? 

Most everything is easy – once you learn the proper techniques. While cleaning gutters may be easy, it is also dangerous. You are either working on the edge of the roof or on a ladder that must be moved often. This is a task best left to an insured company.

What are Typical Payment Terms 

The payments vary by company but most often there is a 10% to 25% deposit to hold your spot in the schedule and commit resources to your job. The balance is due upon completion of the work.

Should I get a Written Contract?

You should ALWAYS have your agreement in writing. The contract should detail what is being installed (including styles, colors, thicknesses, fastener types and spacing, etc.), who is responsible for removal and disposal, and payment details. It should also include a simple diagram of installation, including gutters and leaders.

Should I request a warranty? 

A written warranty is important to have if an issue occurs in the future. Additionally, a warranty implies that the contractor has confidence and stands behind their workmanship and products used.

Who is the best gutter installer in Putnam County?  Who offers the best gutter repair in Westchester County?

Okay, the answer is self-serving, but obviously…

Still have questions? 

We offer many resources on our blog or service pages to help you with your research.

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(845) 896-4054

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