Some friends of ours recently replaced their gutters and downspouts. And while that sounds like a relatively simple project, they found there was more to consider than they expected. If you are planning for a gutter replacement anytime soon, here are the top five decisions you will need to make before you start the work.
1. What size gutters do you need?
Here in North Texas, we get serious thunderstorms that can quickly overwhelm the 5″ gutters that many homes in the area have. Our friends often couldn’t stand under the eaves on their back patio, because water overflowed their gutters, spilling out onto the pavement below. With their new 6″ gutters, that problem has been eliminated. If you live in an area of frequent rainfall, consider making an investment in 6″ gutters to avoid overspill.
2. Do you need changes to your downspouts?
The most important job your gutters and downspouts perform is moving water away from your house when it rains. Downspout size, quantity, and placement are key. Your gutter installation professional should do a thorough inspection of your current system and discuss any changes that would help water move away from your home effectively, including installing additional downspouts and adding downspout extensions.
3. Should you repair any other damage?
Our friends’ gutter installation company spotted damage to the wood behind their gutters and recommended they hire someone to repair and repaint the damage after the old gutters were removed and before the new ones were installed. Taking advantage of the opportunity to make repairs to wood rot, rodent damage, or roofing problems while your home is free of its old gutters requires time, money, and logistical planning, but it makes good sense.
Additionally, if you need to repaint certain parts of the wood on your home after repairs, go ahead and get an estimate for repainting all of it. If your home has a brick exterior, it may not cost much more, and think how good your home will look after being power-washed and given a fresh new coat of paint in the color of your choice!
4. Leaf guards? What kind?
You have some decisions to make if you choose to install leaf guards. There are two types: gutter covers and gutter screens. Gutter covers are solid covers that allow rain to flow into the gutters while keeping large debris out. They may last longer than gutter screens, but they don’t allow the water to flow into your gutters as effectively as gutter screens. Gutter screens sit on top of the gutters and are usually made of wire mesh. They allow water to enter your gutters more effectively, but they may not last as long as their more solid counterparts. Leaves and other debris can also get stuck in the mesh holes, so you may need to clear them out more frequently. Your gutter company will likely have a recommendation, but you should discuss the pros and cons before making a decision.
5. How will you select a gutter repair professional or company?
As with hiring for any home maintenance work, do your due diligence. Get estimates from at least three companies. Look at reviews on Angie’s List and Best Pick Reports. And ask for references. Ideally, call one or two, but keep in mind, you can also drive by to see how the gutters look in person.
About Our Licensed Dallas Home Inspections
At Stonebriar Property Inspections, Dallas home inspector Keith Boggs proudly provides quality home inspections throughout North Texas seven days a week, including evenings and weekends. Contact him at (214) 923-7304 or [email protected].
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Image Credit: Dallas Gutters