If it’s time to replace your gutters, don’t be stressed! Instead, learn how to make your replacement gutters last as long as possible. Of course, you could contact a professional to make the whole process go a lot more smoothly, but if you’re ready to take on the challenge by yourself, we have some tips to help you out. Read on to learn how to make your experience as efficient and painless as possible!
- Make sure the gutters actually need replacing
Depending on the materials used, and how they were installed, gutters usually last between 10 to 70 years. Climate, as well as proper maintenance, can influence the lifespan of gutters.
To make sure your gutters last as long as possible, maintain them properly. This includes taking care of any cracks in the gutters, screws that might be loose, bended pieces, or any place where the gutters are not properly attached. It also includes looking after rust or corrosion, leaks, peeled paint, and blocked or overflowing gutters.
If issues keep happening even after maintenance, then it’s likely that the gutters need to be replacing.
2. Consider the climate in your area
Whether you live in a hot or cold climate, or a rainy or dry climate, these factors will influence what kind of gutter system would be best for you. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of rain, snow, or hail, then you’ll need a system robust enough to handle that. Likewise, a dry climate needs a gutter system and paint that can stand up to the UV rays of the sun.
3. Choose the right materials
The materials you choose can have a large impact on both the appearance and longevity of your gutter system. Aluminum gutters are the most affordable. Copper gutters are more expensive, however they can last for decades if maintained properly. Each material has its own pros and cons.
4. Consider your home’s architectural style
Certain styles of architecture tend to work well with certain types of rain gutters. A Spanish colonial home, for example, works well with copper half-round gutters. California bungalows, however, tend to look better with half-round cast-iron gutters, or painted aluminum gutters.
5. Check the state of your roof
If your gutters are not working properly, there’s a chance your roof could be damaged as well. If your roof—including the fascia board, if you have one—needs fixing, it would be better to do that first, before replacing the gutters. Gutters last longer when they are supported by a solid roof.
6. Make sure your gutters are in the best location
Often when gutters are not professionally installed, they are compromised by inaccurate measurements and aren’t placed in their ideal location, making them inefficient from the start.
It’s also important to make sure the downspouts are placed in the correct location, and that they are away from any obstacles or electric meters.
7. Choose the best size for your gutters
The size of gutters you choose will depend on the size and pitch of your roof. It’s important to make sure that the gutters can handle the level of water that is thrown at them.
8. Consider what accessories you’d like with your gutters
These days there are a variety of accessories available for gutter systems. These include hangers, which are especially handy in houses without a fascia board. They also include metal hangings that can stop water from running behind the gutters. Also available are leaf guards, that stop leaves and other debris from getting into the gutter system. Rain chains are a nice aesthetic choice, and can also be useful for irrigation. In dry climates, a rain barrel can also be useful for collecting rain water for washing or gardening.
9. Be careful when removing old gutters
Removing old gutters is not something you can rush through! Care must be taken so that the the facade, roof and walls of your home are not damaged. These areas must remain strong and intact, so that the new gutter system can be properly supported.
Start removing at the ground, where the bend at the downspout is, then work your way up, detaching the straps holding the gutters in place.
10. Safety first
Replacing gutters is not an easy job and can be dangerous. Before you start, make sure you have everything you’ll need. This includes a latter than can support your body weight, all your tools, and all the gutter supplies. You should consider buying a stabilizer bar to make the ladder extra strong. Also, if your ladder is a collapsible one, check all the locks and make sure they’re secure before attempting to climb. Also, wear shoes with rubber soles so that your feet can grip the rungs of the ladder. Sadly, many accidents have happened as a result of feet slipping off the ladder.
Make sure you have a level, to check that the gutters are even when installing them. While gutters may look even to the naked eye, this can’t be trusted and uneven gutters may not work properly, leading to costly property damage.
A drill or power screwdriver is necessary to secure the gutters and downspouts. To make sure you have the right one handy, bring bits of many shapes and sizes. Depending on the material you’re using, you may tin snips to cut the gutter to the needed length. You’ll also need rubber nitrile sealers and a caulk gun. These will let you fill in the seams between the gutters and the downspouts.
Make sure to clear the area on the ground near where you’re working, You don’t want a dropped gutter to land on a person, vehicle, or pet. Also make sure there’s nothing under the ladder such as wet leaves that could make the ladder slip. Also around the roof, make sure there isn’t any debris or dirt that could fall into the place where you’re installing the gutters.
Check the weather before you start. You don’t want to install gutters on a windy or rainy day, as this could be dangerous. Also, make sure to have a spotter. Someone else should be around in case of emergency, or to help if you drop something. Make sure they stand in a place where they won’t be injured by any falling objects. Remember to go slow and do it carefully. Every part of the installation should be double-checked before proceeding to the next part.
If you have trouble with the installation or if you find you’re not comfortable with it, don’t be afraid to call a professional for help. You don’t want a malfunctioning gutter system due to improper installation, and you definitely don’t want to injure yourself—or someone else—while you’re installing. A professional in your area can make sure the job gets done correctly, safely, and in a timely fashion.
So there you have ten things to know before replacing rain gutters! Replacing rain gutters isn’t an easy job, but it’s a very important one. Rain gutters protect your home from costly water damage, so be sure to protect your investment.