Getting Gutters Installed: What You Need to Know
LESLIE: Tracy in New York is on the line with a gutter question. How can we help you with this project?
TRACY: I’m thinking about getting gutters put on my house but I’m not sure what I need to know and what I should ask when I have the contractors come over to do the quote.
TOM: Alright. So you have no gutters right now?
TRACY: That’s correct.
TOM: OK. So, here’s a couple things to think about. First of all, what you want are seamless gutters. So the way they’re made is the contractors come out and the gutter material is actually in a sheet stock and it’s on a roll of metal. And they run it through a forming machine that actually creates the shape of the gutter. And this way, they can make the gutters the exact length that you need for the different sections of your house.
Now, the number of spouts that you put into the gutter is important, because you don’t have – you want to have less than 600-800 square feet of roof surface per spout or the gutters will back up and get overwhelmed. So pay attention to that.
Also think about where the downspouts come down. You don’t want them dumping water right at the corner of the foundation, because that will collect there and it can soak in, it can weaken the foundation, it can flood a basement or a crawlspace. Just generally a bad idea. So you want the downspout to extend at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation. If you had a water problem, I’d tell you to take it out further but if you don’t have a problem, at least 3 to 4 feet out.
So, if you have, you know, one downspout and you have a – if you have one section of gutter and you have a choice as to whether the downspout is on the left than the right, use our head about thinking about that. Yeah, don’t bring it out near a walkway or something like that; bring it out in the opposite side of the house.
Now, the other thing to think about is gutter guards: whether or not you want to put them in or not. Because when you get gutters, you’re going to get the need to clean those gutters. And there are such a wide variety of gutter guards that are available today. The kind that seem, in my experience, to work the best are those that work on surface tension. So these have sort of a complete cover to them and the leaves will wash over them and the water hangs this cover or maybe goes through some louvered slots and falls into the gutter. So, think about that. Check out with the company whether or not they offer a gutter-guard option at the time of the installation. This way, you can get it sort of all done at the same time.
And then one other trick of the trade is that before you attach these to the house, do you know if the fascia is wood right now or is it aluminum? What are you going to be attaching it to?
TRACY: Wood, I believe.
TOM: So this is the perfect time for you to paint it. This is your one and only golden opportunity to put a couple of good coats of exterior paint on that. Because once that gutter is attached, you are never ever going to take them off or at least not for a heck of a long time. So get a couple of good coats of paint on that fascia now, before you put the gutter on, so that it’s protected.
TRACY: OK. That’s great. Thank you so much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.