Gutters aren’t one of those things you admire when you take your first look at your home. While you might love the beautiful windows, the great landscaping, or the color of the siding, you’ll rarely look up at the gutters and say, “Aren’t they lovely?”.
Yet, gutters are such an integral part of the structure of your home. Gutters protect your home from water and the damage it can cause, from floods to less severe moisture issues that can cost you plenty of money. But though your gutters often fall into the category of “out of sight, out of mind”, it’s important that they remain in good condition in order to do their job well.
So, what are the primary signs that indicate it’s time to replace your gutters?
- Seam separations – The seams of a gutter are the most vulnerable places on the system that keeps water away from your home. Hence, where two sections come together, separations and leaks can be very common if your gutters are aging. It’s sometimes possible for gutter seams to be mended, but if your gutters are old, it’s often more effective to just opt for a replacement. Your gutter expert can advise you as to the best course of action.
- Cracking – Cracks pretty much render your gutters useless, but they’re not always obvious. Larger cracks might be easy to see from ground level, but to detect smaller cracks you might need to more closely inspect your gutters. You can do this yourself or can hire a gutter expert if you suspect cracks are present. Again, some small, isolated cracks can sometimes be repaired, but if cracking is extensive, replacement is often necessary.
- Wear and tear on your home’s exterior – Not all signs of worn gutters can be easily detected, but you might spot some warning signs on the surface of your house rather than on the gutters themselves. For example, when cracks or present or when water is leaking through less-than-sturdy seams, you could notice peeling or bubbled paint on your siding. If the paint damage seems unusual, check your gutters. Similarly, you might also spot rot on areas where gutters are leaking, such as on outdoor windowsills, door jambs, and other exterior wood trim items. Mold is also a good indication that there’s an issue with your gutters, so if moisture is accumulating near the foundation, you might spy mildew and mold in a formerly-dry area below ground. That can cause mounds of damage, so you’ll want to act quickly!
Should I replace them myself or hire an expert?
These days, media like HGTV pushes homeowners to “do it themselves” when it comes to home repairs of many kinds. They stress the money saving aspect of DIY and encourage homeowners to do some research, watch videos, and look for tips about conquering home repairs that would normally be done by a professional.
So, when it’s time to replace your gutters, should you consider doing it yourself?
Some DIY projects are easy to moderate in difficulty, like perhaps hanging a ceiling fan or repairing your toilet. Others, like replacing gutters, rank among the more difficult tasks to complete for a number of reasons.
The first is correct placement of the gutters. The gutters on the exterior of your home must be placed at the correct “pitch” in order for the rainwater to flow down properly. When the pitch is incorrect, the water may wind up flowing towards your house (and foundation) rather than away from it. Experts in gutter replacement are well-versed in placing the gutters at the correct angle for your home’s shape and size.
You’ll also need to choose the right style of gutters for your home and for the area in which you live. As with improper pitch, installing the wrong gutters could result in damage to your home. So, if you decide to move in the DIY direction, be sure to duplicate the style your current gutters or you’ll risk water problems.
Of course, not everyone has the tools they need to replace their gutters on their own. At the very least, you’ll need things like a cordless drill, tape measure, caulk gun, tin snips, a crimper, a hex head driver, and other items you may need to purchase before tackling the job. (And you may never use those tools again!) Your local gutter experts, like the pros at Advantage Gutter, already have everything they need to get the job done.
Time is also something to consider. Do you work 50-60 hours a week and then try to relax on the weekends? Does your work schedule leave you little time to do projects around the house? Replacing rain gutters isn’t a quick project. Even if you have all the materials in place, you’ll need at least a full day (8-9 hours) to install about 50 meters of gutter.
Furthermore, gutter replacement is not always a one-person job; you may need to tap a friend or family member for some help in installing those unwieldy gutters. From holding the ladder to helping carry a large piece of gutter, that second set of hands is often a necessity.
Gutters that work properly are essential to the health of your home. If you’ve detected problems with your gutters and are ready to talk about replacing them, give Advantage Gutters a call at 604-514-9886 to discuss your options.