Rain Gutter Replacement
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Protect Your Home from Water Damage with Professional Gutter Replacement Services!
If you’re like most people, you never think about gutters or their purpose. Gutters provide protection from the damage that rainwater can do to your house, soil, and foundation. If water is allowed to pool around your home’s foundation, damaging the concrete and creating cracks. This can lead to structural damage, leading to your house shifting and sinking.
The Purpose of Rain Gutters
Protects the Foundation
Gutters are the primary defense system when it comes to protecting your home's foundation. Downspouts direct water away from your house. The soil under your foundation can erode and cause the foundation to shift or crack. If the foundation breaks down, it will need to be repaired. This has an average cost which can range from $2,000 to $20,000. This is an expense that can be avoided by replacing gutters when needed.
A house should be situated on a slight slope so that rain runs away from the foundation. If rainwater flows off your roof because there aren’t any gutters or downspouts, the runoff will pool at the base of your house instead of flowing away. Eventually, the home’s foundation will start to be affected by the water.
Prevents Basement Flooding
Soil becomes heavy when it is saturated with water. Over time, the soil will push on the basement walls, causing them to crack. When this happens, water can leak into your basement. Even if the leak is small and isn’t threatening material items, the smallest amount of water can cause mold to grow.
Protects the Siding
Siding is designed to protect your house from the elements, but siding is susceptible to standing water. Gutters channel the water away from the house so that the cladding at the bottom of the house is not damaged. Siding replacement can be costly.
Protects Landscaping and Gardens
When you think about landscaping as a tool and not just for curb appeal, it’s important to protect it. The right landscape design can direct water away from your home’s foundation. If not having gutters allows water to run off the roof into the landscaping, the plants, flowers, and rocks are likely to wash away.
New Gutters and Replacement
Now that we’ve established the reason gutters are so important, the type of gutter you should consider the type you get. As far as shape goes, there are half-round, K-shaped, and custom built fascia gutters. K-shaped are the most common type, and due to their flat back, can be nailed easily to the fascia board for DIY installation.
The materials offered for gutters are Aluminum, vinyl, zinc, steel, and copper. Here is how the five materials stack up to each other:
This material comes in different thicknesses, can be painted to match your home, and is an inexpensive option when it comes to material. It’s lightweight so that makes it easy to install. Aluminum is also weatherproof and can last up to 25 years. The disadvantage to aluminum is that is can easily bend or dent.
Vinyl is the least expensive of all the materials and is the easiest for DIY installation due to how lightweight they are. They come in a wide variety of colors, but can be painted easily to match your siding. It won’t corrode or rust, but can crack when exposed to a hard freeze or a continued high heat climate.
This substance is very long-lasting with expectations of it lasting up to 50 years. It won’t rust, warp, or fade. The cons to having zinc gutters are that they are expensive, and they are intolerant of salty air. They are also not easy to work with if you are thinking of installing them yourself.
Steel gutters are great for all types of weather. They are very strong and can be painted. However, they are very heavy and not suitable for a do-it-yourself task. Depending on the climate in which you live, steel can be prone to rust.
Copper is a beautiful option that doesn’t need painting, and that will eventually give way to a green patina. Some people like this characteristic, but it’s not to everyone’s taste. Copper is very durable, but it’s also very expensive.
The Nuts and Bolts of Gutter Replacement
Traditional vs. Seamless
Traditional gutters come in pre-cut sections that are easily assembled, but they will need to be sealed or soldered where the sections overlap. Traditional or sectional gutters come in a wide variety of colors. One negative aspect of using these is that they tend to weaken where they are joined. Another negative point is that they are prone to clogs. When replacing old gutters, choosing seamless to eliminate clog issues is important.
Seamless gutters are not sectioned and only have seams at the corners and downspouts. They are offered in the same material as traditional gutters, but are stronger since there are no joints or seams that can weaken. Seamless gutters are more expensive, but you will save money over the years by not having to repair them like you may with traditional rain gutters.
Both seamless and sectional gutters are available in quality materials. Your professional installer will help you choose the right type of gutter for you and your home.
Choosing Seamless Gutters
While initially the cost of these gutters is more, in the long run, you will find the investment is worth it. They are generally stronger and don’t have joints that can break down over time and leak. Seamless gutters are also easier to maintain. Like with any home project, call around for a free estimate.
Seamless gutters can be installed yourself but it’s a project that is left best to a professional installer. A gutter contractor and his team will manufacture and assemble your new gutter system on site so they will be a perfect fit for your house. If you’re interested in the process and how it all comes together, it starts with removing the old gutters.
Measurements will be taken first. While on the ladder, inspect the fascia board to make sure there is no rot and that it will support your new gutter. When replacing old gutters, the old ones will be measured to ensure proper placement of the new gutters.
The new gutters will be cut to the appropriate lengths, and it will be determined where the downspouts will be placed. Determine those same spots on the house so the downspouts line up with where they should be. Sealant is used around the downspout opening before attaching to ensure there are no leaks. End caps are attached at the end of the gutter where there is no downspout.
Last, the new gutter flashing slides under the shingles and gets nailed down. The hangers are attached to keep the gutter in place, and the downspouts are added last for a complete new gutter system.
Gutter Repair and Section Replacement
Homeowners are well aware of the importance of gutters to their homes and why it is necessary to keep them clear of leaves, twigs, and other debris. It’s also very important to repair or replace any damaged section of gutter. If you have older gutters on your home, it may be time to replace the gutter system. However, if they are relatively new, a simple repair or replacement of a section of gutter may be all that’s needed.
You can likely get away with repairs if one or two of the following apply:
- Damage to the gutter is localized to only one or two sections of the gutter. Simply replacing those sections is all that is required.
- You only need to fix a few cracks or holes. Small openings can be cleaned and then covered with a sealant. Large holes can be covered with metal flashing by gluing it, then sealing it.
- A single seam is leaking. Making sure that an elbow joint or that two sections are securely fastened might solve this problem. Sealant may be required as well.
- There are loose hangers or fasteners. You can fix this issue by tightening the hangers or by making a fresh hole in the gutter or the fascia. You only need to replace the hangers or fasteners if they are bent.
- Minor fixes on copper gutters. Because copper is so expensive, you’re usually better off trying to make these repairs yourself or by calling a gutter contractor before deciding on a full copper gutter replacement.
Choosing a Contractor
Carefully choosing a professional gutter contractor for the job is important. Always get more than one estimate, and if one estimate is considerably lower than the rest, check the gutter material he is using. Make sure the bid includes all carpentry or fascia repair. Another tip is when the pro comes to bid on the project, make sure you are present to meet with them. Finally, check the warranty offered. Look for a warranty that lasts 20 years or longer, and look for a one-year warranty for labor. Check the contractor’s insurance as well.
New Seamless Gutters
The choice between seamed and seamless gutters depends on a few factors: durability, affordability, and installation. In the long run, seamless is the best option. They last longer, they are stronger, and they are easier to maintain. In order to maintain and protect your foundation, making sure your house has the best gutter system in place is a priority. Contacting a local professional installer is the first step in keeping this priority.