Ultimate Guide To Gutter Installations

Rain gutters are an important part of any home that is in a region where there is moderate to heavy rainfall.  Without the presence of house gutters, rainwater would flow off of the roof of a house and over time would likely end up causing significant water damage.  Because of how important rain gutters are for protecting your home from water damage, it’s important that you have them inspected by a professional gutter cleaning and repair company on a regular basis.

If that company informs you that the rain gutters on your home have reached a point where they need to be replaced, you should respect their opinion and start looking into the different options that are available for you.

Like it or not, at some point there’s a good chance that you are going to have to hire a company for gutter replacement on your home.  If you are lucky enough to have a home that has metal gutters that are in good condition, and you keep them up, then they may very well last you a lifetime.  Unfortunately, not all rain gutters are made from metal, and even rain gutters that are made from metal are not always properly maintained.

That means that there’s a good chance that you are going to end up having to replace your house gutters at some point.  Keeping that in mind, you are going to be much better off learning about what to expect during the rain gutter installation process.

The First Rule of Rain Gutter Installation is That It Is A Job Best Left to Professionals

Whenever you decide it’s time for gutter replacement then you should also realize that it’s time to call a professional.  While you may be tempted to try to do the job yourself or to hire a handyman to save some money, either of these options is a poor choice.  While it’s going to cost you more money to hire a professional to install your gutter brackets, gutters, and downspouts, it’s money that is well spent.

In fact, it’s more an investment in your home that it is an actual expense. An improperly installed rain gutter system can lead to your home suffering significant water damage, that can be very expensive to repair.

You can tell that a company is a professional gutter installation company and not a handyman service based upon their credentials.  If a company is licensed, bonded, and insured, then that means that they are a professional company that can generally be trusted.

If on the other hand, a so-called company cannot provide documentation to you that shows that they are licensed, bonded, and insured, then you should avoid doing business with them.

Doing business with a non-professional gutter installer is a mistake for a number of reasons.  First of all, hiring a handyman will generally lead to a lower overall quality of work. Is it possible that a handyman will do as good of a job at eavestrough installation as a professional would? Sure, but it’s more likely that they will not.

If they do a poor job with your rain gutter installation then this can lead to the gutters failing prematurely. It can and will also likely lead to water damage to your home.

The worst part about this type of situation is that in the event that you do hire a non-professional company and they do a poor job, then you don’t have a lot of options available to you in order to force them to make things right.  On the other hand, a professional gutter installation company will not only be more likely to do a better job, if they don’t you can always file a complaint with the Registrar of Contractors to get your money back. If that fails you can always file a lawsuit.  In either case, you are protected.

How Does the Rain Gutter Installation Process Work?

Once you’ve decided to go ahead and have new rain gutters installed, you may have some questions about the rain gutter installation process.  Exactly how the process works is going to depend on the type of rain gutters and downspouts you are having installed.

For example, if you are having traditional vinyl gutters installed then the process will be quite a bit different than if you were having seamless aluminum gutters installed.  In either case, there are a few steps that are going to be common to any type of gutter installation job.

The first thing that needs to happen is you need to find the right company to install your house gutters.  As mentioned above, you really need to ensure that anyone you hire is a professional company that has all of the necessary licensing and insurance.  Make sure that you take the time to do a little homework on any company you are considering hiring before you make a final decision.

Make sure that the gutter installation company that you hire has all of the necessary licensing and insurance.  Then, take things a step further and check out their work history. See if they have any complaints, and just check out how their prior clients viewed them.

One final thing to consider when you are planning to have a new roof gutter system installed is that you are probably going to be better off having seamless gutters installed.  What are seamless gutters? Like the name implies, they are house gutters that are made from solid lengths of material, such as aluminum or copper.

They are not made from multiple segments, which means that they don’t have any joints that tend to accumulate debris and are also weak points in a gutter system.  The cost of gutters is going to be higher when you opt for the seamless style, but the return on your investment will generally make it well worth it. They are easier to clean so cleaning services normally charge less, and they are also longer lasting.

Step 1:  Consultation

The first step in gutter replacement is going to be consultation with the company you are considering hiring.  This is a meeting where the gutter installation company you are working with will come out and spend some time talking with you and looking at your property.  They should spend a good amount of time looking at your current rain gutters, looking at the landscaping around your house, and assessing what things look like so they can figure out how much labor will be involved.

They should also take some measurements as well so they can figure out material costs. Any company that doesn’t spend a decent amount of time with this process is probably a company that you should avoid doing business with.

After taking measurements, looking at your property, and going through the process of figuring out what it should cost to install your gutters, they should then sit down and explain things to you.  Ask for a written estimate, this will show the gutter installation company you are working with that you are serious about knowing how much things are going to cost.

When you get your estimate back ask questions about anything you aren’t sure of.  If something seems strange, then do a little more research yourself before committing to anything.

Once again, this is a process that any company that provides gutters services such as installation should expect to have to go through.  If they are hesitant to spend the time answering your questions, well, then you can always take your business elsewhere. The bottom line is that once you have finished your consultation process with the gutter installation company of your choice, you should feel confident in letting them get started working on your home.

Step 2:  Removing Your Old Rain Gutters

Unless you have a brand-new home, your home should have rain gutters on it already.  The first step in the installation process then will involve the removal of your old gutters.  Any roof gutter company you hire should include removal and disposal of your old rain gutters and downspouts as part of their installation cost.

Does this mean that they will do it for free? Probably not, because removal of old rain gutters and disposing of them is fairly labor intensive, and most companies aren’t too keen on taking on a lot of work and not charging for it.  But, they should definitely include the cost of gutter removal and disposal in their estimate.

How does the process of removing your old house gutters proceed? Well, it’s not overly complicated, but it does take quite a bit of work.  You can’t just go up and start ripping gutters down, you need to do it carefully or the home being worked on could end up being damaged.

The fascia gutter connection, which is a think border that gutters are mounted on, is particularly vulnerable to being damaged during rain gutter removal.  The bottom line is that the company you hire will have to go through and carefully remove and disassemble the old house gutters on your home before installing the new ones.

After removing and disposing of your old gutters the next step is going to involve inspecting your home before they start to put your new roof gutter system in.  The gutter installation company should inspect the fascia on your home for damage and look for any other problem areas before they start to put the new gutters up.  Once they have completed a thorough inspection they should be able to start to actually plan out the gutter installation.

Planning Out the Installation Process

Before the new rain gutters on your home can be put up it’s important that the company you have hired has a solid plan in place before they start the work.  This is kind of like how an architect would use plans before building. They wouldn’t go up and just start building while winging things, they would have a solid plan in place first.

While house gutter installation is nowhere near as complicated as actual construction a building, it’s still complicated enough that a solid plan needs to be in place before they get to work.

The way that they plan things out is by using chalk in most cases to make marks on the fascia of your home.  This is an outline that will let them see where the gutter connectors go, and it should also be used to outline any joints, and where the downspouts are going to be located.

The tighter the planning that is done up front the easier the process should be for them going forward. While any good gutter installation company should be able to make adjustments, any good gutter installation company should be able to avoid the majority of these adjustments by planning properly.

At this point, things are going to differ depending on the type of gutters you are having installed.  The process for putting up a traditional roof gutter system is going to be very different from the process used to put up seamless gutters.

Installing Traditional Segmented Gutters

1.    The gutter installation company should lay out the segments of gutter around the exterior of your home so that it lines up with the outline they have created.  They should then use a saw to cut the gutters to size and line up all of the joints.

2.    Next, the gutter brackets need to be mounted on your roof.  These brackets are how most gutters are initially mounted to the roof of your house.  Additional support will later be provided by placing screws through the gutter and into the fascia.  Brackets should be placed no more than 2 feet apart. Placing them 18 inches apart will add more structural stability to your rain gutters, which makes this a better mounting option.

3.    Next, the location of the downspouts need to be marked on the gutters, then a jigsaw needs to be used to create an opening.  When this is being done the company, you hire should take care to ensure that the opening is big enough for the downspout to fit into, but not too big because this will lead to leaks as well as instability.

4.    Once the hole for the downspouts is created they will then have to attach the downspout connector to your rain gutters.  This is secured in place using short metal screws and then sealed using silicone caulking to prevent leaking.

5.    Pre-manufactured gutters that are cut into the proper lengths should be designed to fit into the mounting brackets snugly.  A stainless-steel screw that is about 2 inches long should then be placed through the rain gutter and into the fascia to secure it in place.

6.    After the house gutters are in place the downspouts will then have to be installed into the downspout connector that they installed earlier.

7.    Finally, they should go through and apply a waterproof sealant to any seams or cracks that they find in order to prevent any leaks.  This sealant should be allowed to dry for 24 hours before it is exposed to water.

That’s the process for installation of a traditional, segmented, house gutter system on a home.  As you can probably see, it’s not the most complicated process. This is why this type of gutter installation is generally quite a bit less expensive than having seamless gutters installed.  With that being said, even a relatively simple installation of segmented gutters should be done by a trained professional. There’s just too much at stake to attempt to do the job yourself or to entrust it to a handyman.

Installing Seamless Gutters

Installing Seamless Gutters

1.    The gutter installation company should have already created an outline and taken measurements.  When they arrive, they should lay out whatever material you have chosen to have your house gutters made from around the perimeter of your home.

2.    Next, entire lengths of gutter will be manufactured on site using special machines.  As the lengths of gutter are extruded, endcaps and hidden hangers will also be installed on them to be used to attach the gutters to your home later on in the process.

3.    Next, a special tool will be used to cut a hole in your custom gutters where downspouts can be installed.

4.    The newly manufactured gutters are then mounted to the fascia on your home using the hidden hangers that were created during the manufacturing process.  To further secure your new house gutters in place a 2-inch screw should be used to attach the gutter directly to the fascia.

5.    The downspouts should then be attached to your rain gutters, then the gutter system should be checked for leaks.

It should be clear that installing seamless gutters is a more complicated process that requires the skills of an expert, along with specialized tools and equipment.  This is important to remember because it will illustrate why it’s going to cost more to have seamless gutters installed as opposed to a traditional, pre-manufactured gutter system.  While the higher up-front cost may deter you from having seamless gutters installed, the long-term value makes the well worth it in most cases.

How Long Will All of This Take?

You may be wondering how long this process is going to take, after all, it probably sounds like your home is going to be turned upside down while your new eavestrough system is installed.  Well, there’s good news and there’s also good news. The first bit of good news is that an experienced gutter installation company will make it a point to cause as little of a disturbance as possible when they are going through the eavestrough installation process.

To them, you are the customer. That means they want you to be happy so that you will hire them again in the future if you need more gutter work done. They also want you to feel confident in recommending them to other people in the future.

So, the bottom line, how long is all of this going to take? Believe it or not, from the start of the removal of your old gutters to the end of the process of installing your new gutters, it should take around 2 days at most.  While it may seem like this much work should take considerably longer, companies that do this for a living are experts.

This is all that they do, and they can use their years of experience to your benefit. So, if you are thinking of having new rain gutters installed, you can actually have them done in 2 days or less most of the time.

Now, there are exceptions to this estimate of course.  There are things that could possibly come up that will make the gutter installation process more expensive.  What kinds of things? Well, for example, if the gutter installation company you have hired discovers any type of water damage to your home that is present after removing your old gutters, that’s going to need a repair.

Which means it’s going to cost money and take more time. If your home is more than 2 stories tall then this is going to require additional work, which will also make the installation process longer. Having landscaping that is difficult to navigate could also add to the installation time.  The point here is that there are no guarantees, but for the most part it should be around 2 days at most to have your new house gutters installed.

How Much Is It Going to Cost Me to Have Gutters Installed by A Professional?

Now for the all-important question, how much will all of this cost you? That’s an important question to ask because the cost of having a new rain gutter system designed and installed won’t be cheap.

While it won’t be cheap, it’s still a far less expensive option than having to deal with the water damage that will happen if you don’t have a properly functioning rain gutter system.

When looking at the total cost of having your rain gutters installed you have to take into account the materials, the style of gutter you want, and how difficult the installation will be.

Cost of Traditional Gutters

Traditional gutters that are made from pre-manufactured segments of rain gutter is a less expensive option available to you.  While having traditional gutters installed can save you money up front, they often end up costing you more money in the long run.  That’s because traditional gutters have joints that are weak points, that are prone to leaking. So, a traditional gutter system is more likely to result in your home being damaged by water.

They also tend to fail more quickly than a seamless gutter, which means you will have to pay to replace them sooner. With that being said, if you simply cannot afford the cost of seamless gutters, having a traditional house gutter system installed may be the best option available to you.

•    On average vinyl, gutters cost between $5 and $6 per foot.

•    On average aluminum, gutters cost between $4 and $9 per foot.

•    On average steel, gutters cost between $4 and $9 per foot.

Cost of Seamless Gutters

As mentioned before, seamless gutters are going to cost more than traditional gutters.  The labor involved in much more extensive since each segment of gutter will have to be custom manufacture don site to fit your home.  Seamless gutters are usually made from more expensive materials as well, because if you are going to spend the extra money on seamless gutters then you might as well spring for a better material that will last longer.

•    On average vinyl, seamless gutters average between $3 and $6 per foot.

•    On average aluminum seamless gutters average between $5 and $9 per foot.

•    On average steel, seamless gutters average between $6 and $11 per foot.

•    On average copper, seamless gutters average between $17 and $27 per foot.

•    You also need to take into account an additional labor cost of around $2.50 to $3.50 per foot of gutter.

•    This means that seamless gutters can run you anywhere from $300 on the low end all the way up to just over $9,000 on the high end.

After looking at the cost comparison between seamless gutters and traditional gutters, the overall price difference isn’t great enough that you should opt for traditional gutters in order to save money.  Since traditional gutters require more maintenance, fail more quickly, and leak more frequently, the little bit of money you save by choosing them over seamless gutters isn’t worth it.

Don’t Have Any Type of Gutter Guards Installed If They Are Offered to You

During the gutter replacement process, the company you have hired may approach you with an offer to add gutter guards, gutter screens, or some other type of gutter protection device to your new rain gutters.  At first, this may sound like a good idea. You spend a little more money now and then you won’t have to pay to have your gutters cleaned ever again? Well, that’s definitely something you should sign up for, but only if this type of product actually works.

The reality is that gutter guards don’t work.  They add an additional expense to the gutter installation process, and they aren’t even going to do what they claim to be able to do.  So, paying for gutter guards is essentially the same thing as just throwing your money away. You probably work hard for your money, so the idea of throwing it away should be quite upsetting to you.  So, don’t throw it away by buying gutter guards, which are useless ineffective products.

If you still think that gutter guards are a good addition to your rain gutters, then go online and look for gutter cleaning companies in your area.  Chances are pretty good that you are going to find quite a few of them. Well, if gutter guards really worked, then why are there so many companies out there that offer rain gutter cleaning services? It’s because they are in demand because gutter guards don’t work.

What Should I Do If I Need to Have My Rain Gutters Repaired?

Unfortunately, gutter cleaning and rain gutter installation aren’t the only things you may need to hire a professional for.  Accidents happen, and when they happen to your house gutters you will probably need an experienced professional to come out and make repairs.  Hiring anyone that is not licensed, bonded, and insured to work on your rain gutters is a recipe for disaster that can easily end up costing you a lot of money.

That’s why it’s important that if you need to have your gutters repaired, you hold any company you are considering using to the same standards that you would expect from a company that installs your house gutters in the first place.

What Types of Issues Can Lead to Gutter Damage?

While having rain gutters that are made from a durable material and installed by professionals can help you to avoid having to deal with rain gutter damage, there may still be issues that come up from time to time.  For example, if there is a storm that knocks down a tree on your home, that tree could end up hitting your gutters and knocking them down. Or, a strong storm could generate enough wind gusts to knock your gutters down.

These types of issues are the type of things that you can’t do much about. All you can really do is make sure that you keep your gutters in good shape, and then hope for the best.

What Types of Issues Arise as a Result of Neglecting your Gutters?

If you don’t take care of your gutters and maintain them, then they tend to accumulate debris in them over time.  This then leads to issues that can damage your gutters and cause them to need repair. One of the most common issues that having too much debris in your gutters causes is having your gutters sag, or even collapse.

When you have a lot of weight weighing down your gutters it places a lot of strain on the seams, joints, and connectors of your gutter system, as well as the fascia. This can easily lead to a partial or total collapse of your gutter system.

Even if you are lucky enough to avoid having your gutters collapse, when they are weighed down they tend to warp.  This is something that if caught early, can be repaired before it results in a catastrophic failure. This isn’t a situation you want to ever find yourself in, but if you do then acting quickly can mean the difference between a relatively minor repair and having to completely replace your gutter system.

One particularly dangerous situation that can arise from neglecting your rain gutters is the formation of an ice dam.  What is an ice dam? An ice dam forms when there is a blockage in your gutter that causes water to end up trapped in it.  Then, when temperatures drop below freezing that water freezes and additional water continues to drip onto the damn, making it bigger and bigger.

Eventually, if the ice dam is not removed it will end up collapsing, which will then necessitate having your gutters repaired.  Not only will you need to pay a gutter repair company to come out and repair the damage, you could also end up having to deal with additional damage or injuries that happen as a result of the ice damn collapsing.

Toxic Black Mold Is Another Major Concern That You Must Content with If You Neglect Your House Gutters

Neglecting your gutters will eventually cause them to fail.  If that failure leads to them collapsing and creating an obvious problem, then you may actually have gotten off easy.  Confused about how a total collapse of a section of your rain gutter can actually be a better option than if it doesn’t collapse? Well, the reason for that is simple, a leaking gutter will usually result in a major problem called toxic black mold.

Toxic black mold forms when mold spores, which are everywhere, are exposed to moisture.  Normally mold spores sit around your home in a dormant state. But, if you have a faulty rain gutter system in place that allows those spores access to water, then they are going to become active.  When that happens they will spread quickly, and before you know it you are going to have a major problem.

This is particularly problematic if you have a problem with your house gutters that results in a slow, undetected leak.  In this type of scenario, a damaged rain gutter will allow small amounts of water to seep into your home for a long period of time.  Since the amount of water seeping into your home is small, there’s a good chance you won’t notice it. Then, when you finally do notice it you are already going to be in a lot of trouble and have a major problem.

Should you be unfortunate enough to end up with a toxic black mold problem, then you are going to have to call in a mold remediation company. This won’t be cheap. Not only will you have to pay them for their services, you will have to pay for new materials to replace the damaged ones, and you will also have to find somewhere else to stay while they complete their work.  Obviously, this is not a good situation to be in, and it’s one that you need to do everything in your power to avoid.

What Steps Can You Take to Help Reduce the Risk of Gutter Damage?

If you want to avoid dealing with eavestrough damage that will require the help of a professional to repair, there is one thing you can do to greatly reduce the risk of your gutters suffering damage.  That one thing is to not neglect your gutters. Your rain gutters need to be cleaned out on a regular basis in order to keep debris from building up in them.

If they are not cleaned out on a regular basis then they are going to end up becoming damaged, start to leak, and eventually fail completely.  That’s just how the process works when you don’t take care of your gutters.

In order to keep your house gutters in the best condition possible, you need to hire a professional company to handle their cleaning and maintenance. Think about this, do you really want to pay the kid next door $20 to clean your gutters and downspouts and trust that he will actually do a good job.

Chances are that he won’t care enough to be thorough.  Even if he does care enough to be thorough, he won’t have the ability to clean your gutters as well as a licensed professional can.

On top of doing a more thorough job, a licensed, bonded, and insured gutter cleaning company will also inspect your gutters while they are cleaning them.  They will look for signs of water damage to your home, and for warning signs that your gutters are damaged. This information can be invaluable to you because it can save you a lot of money.

Take Your Time and Make A Smart Decision

When the time comes for gutter replacement at your home, don’t let all of the information out there overwhelm or intimidate you.  Who would have thought rain gutters could be so complicated? What material should you use? Should you get seamless or traditional gutters? Should you get gutter extenders? Should you have gutter guards installed? Which company should you hire?

That’s a lot of questions you need to answer quickly, but it’s important that you actually take the time to answer them.  The last thing you want is to get in a rush and end up getting gutters that you aren’t happy with. So, take a few minutes and do some research.

Look at the cost of different materials and learn about the benefits of seamless gutters. Read up on gutter guards so that you can tell the gutter installer you have hired with confidence that you don’t want them.  Most importantly of all, only hire a professional to clean, repair, and install your house gutters.