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Taking care of the outside of your home is a top priority for homeowners during the warm months of summer. While planting flowers, building decks, and adding a firepit is more aesthetically pleasing and elicit much more homeowner enthusiasm, gutters need a homeowner’s care and assessment on a regular basis.
A gutter installation provides your home protection from the storms and precipitation by acting as drain and whisking damaging water away from your home. By redirecting water, your gutters protect your basement from flooding and improve the longevity of your siding, roof, and overall condition of the foundation.
Ready to get started on improving your gutters? ImproveNet can help connect you to gutter contractors in your area for free!
Testing Your Gutters
Evaluating the current function and condition of your existing gutters and downspouts is important. You may find that your gutters don’t appear to be whisking the water away from your home, and instead, water is running over the gutters and down the side of your home causing flooding, mold, mildew, or worse to your home. Here is a quick gutter assessment checklist to determine the problem:
- Are the gutters free from debris?
- Are they at the right pitch?
Tip: Try pouring a bucket of water into the gutters and watching how the water drains. If the water drains down the sides-bottom-or along seams or if it sits in a pool, then the gutters don’t have the adequate pitch or are blocked at the spouts.
- Are they straight?
- Are there any cracks or holes where the water is running down the side of the home?
If you find that your gutters aren’t functioning properly, it is time for repairs or replacements. Gutter upgrades and repairs may not be an incredibly fun way to spend your hard-earned dollars, but they are pretty important for protecting the home you love.
While gutters can be done by homeowners and can somewhat be a “simple task,” gutter installation, like many home improvements, it isn’t as straightforward as you might think. The biggest argument for not doing it yourself and leaving it to the pros is the need to climb a ladder. By doing so, you are putting yourself at risk of a fall that comes with medical bills, recovery time, or worse. Another argument against a DIY gutter installation is that like many home projects, there are skillsets, a time-consuming learning curve, and the necessary tools that come with each project.
If you think that your gutters just need some simple repairs, you may be able to successfully do them yourself. If your gutters are leaking at the seams, a tube of waterproof sealant can do the trick. If your gutters have holes or larger cracks between the seams, you will have to do a more complex repair with a patch kit. If your gutters aren’t at the right pitch, you will need to try to determine where the problem is occurring and make adjustments to the hangers and possibly take them completely off and re-attach them. At the same time, you will need to ensure that you don’t put unnecessary holes in your roof or loosen your shingles.
If you are going for a complete overhaul and installing new gutters, you will need to make sure that your gutters are installed straight crooked gutters will not increase the value of your home, and at the right pitch to ensure proper drainage. You will need endcaps, drain spouts, elbows, hangers, and sealant. It's also better to be safe than sorry, rent some scaffolding.
Vinyl, aluminum, and stainless steel are the most common materials for gutters.
If you are looking for a more cost-effective material, the average cost of vinyl is $3-$5 per linear foot and aluminum is $6-$12 per linear foot. They are good choices because of weight and price, but they are less durable.
While stainless steel will cost you more, you are paying for durability and longevity. You can expect to pay between $9-$12 per linear foot.
Another aesthetically pleasing but costly option is copper, but it costs from $25-$40 per linear foot.
If you are in an area where hail, high winds, and damaging weather are common, you might want to spend more now by going with steel gutters that will take the impact of branches and ice with less denting and cracking.
Gutter installation will cost around $650-$1500 nationally, however, prices will vary based on the area of the home and the number of floors. You can get a better idea of how much it will cost in your area, as well as arrange for a free estimate from a local contractor with the ImproveNet cost guide.
Seamless Gutter Installation
Another consideration is seamless gutters. They do increase the value of your home and are less likely to leak. The installation helps to ventilate your roof which will protect it more from shingle damage and any rotting that can be caused by other installation practices. Unfortunately, they are costlier in materials and labor $3-$27) than their counterparts.
Gutter Guard Installation
The jury is hung on the use of gutter guards. Gutter guards attach to the top of your gutters and keep large debris such as sticks, leaves, nuts, and seeds from filling them and running down into your downspout. Sounds awesome, right? Some people think that this will eliminate maintenance. This is a myth. Gutters with guards may require clean up less often, but smaller debris still gets into the guards and will need to be cleaned out or washed down. The biggest downside to gutter guards is that they come with a price of $7-10 per linear foot.
Gutter Pros Near You
Gutter installation can be tricky and important business, so you want to hire a contractor with a great reputation who is insured and vetted. Let ImproveNet help you find the right person for the job.
- Roofing & Gutters