Gutter Talk - Tips for Keeping Gutters Up

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Coastal Realty

There is "gutter talk" and then there is "gutter talk"! Let's talk about the gutters on your home - the how and whys of keeping them clean. After a heavy rainstorm or long winter some homeowners may discover that their gutters are not doing their job due to being filled to the brink with dead leaves,  dead bugs and pine needles. Maybe you looked up to find they were barely attached to the house anymore or dangerous icicles were growing from the seams! Or in the worse cases you look up to find trees growing out of the gutters! You as the homeowner have to help your gutters do their job by keeping them clean out of debris.

Could be it is time to get up on the ladder to clean them out or maybe it is time to replace them all together. When looking for new gutters there is some science involved - the thinner the gutter material the more likely it is to bend or buckle under the weight of leaves and ice. The leaders that drain the water off the gutters doesn't need to be as thick because it isn't bearing the weight of the water just directing it. Make sure you are directing it away from the house not straight down into the basement!





Another consideration is seams or seamless gutters. In the old days you went to the hardware store and purchased all the materials, brought it home and put it together like a jig saw puzzle. Nowadays there is a seamless option. Seamless is preferable because there are no seams to leak. Leaking seams can lead to nasty icicles and sometimes even killer icicles. Seamless gutters are created on the job site by a professional using a machine that bends the aluminum into the desired length and shape.

What else should we look for in a gutter? Well how about open top gutters vs. gutters with any type of leaf guard system? Leaf guards give you free flowing gutters forever! There are several styles of gutter guards on the market. Too many to mention here. No more getting up so high on the ladder to clear them out. Or trying to angle some long tool attached to the garden hose to wash out the debris. Definitely a gutter bonus!

Why gutter at all? Well, to direct the water off the roof and away from the house, deck or stairs. Not only is there safety involved - reducing icy steps in the winter. There is also long term destruction of wood. - dripping roofs onto the deck eventually wears out the wood. Now we have to replace the deck and/or stairs. Basic rule of thumb is that wood and water do not go together. Think about what water can do to rock after years - just look at the Grand Canyon! And wood isn't as hard as rock!

When buying a home be sure to look up not only to check out the roof but also the gutters. Are there any gutters at all? Are they in good shape or barely attached? This is something you need to keep in mind when purchasing and budget for gutter installation or repair. My advice is to look at the whole house - inside and out. And when you are outside, please don't forget to look up!

(c) 2008 Shannon Aldrich, Keller Williams Coastal Realty

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Ken Lambert
Ken Lambert Mortgage Enterprises, Inc. - Brentwood, NH

Hi Shannon-  Nice post.  I used to be the home warranty and service manager for a developer, and I've been through the gutter ringer more than once.  Good points-  a few others of note on the subject-

1. About half of the architects out there (the home design experts) don't like gutters and won't design a single family or 2 family home with gutters- period.  For all the reasons you mentioned, they can be more of a nuisance than a help- especially with ice dams, etc.

2. Do your research and your price shopping carefully for all these "gutter guards/ caps".  You'd be surprised how different they are, and their costs.   If you live in an area that has MANY evergreen/ pine trees above your home, consider the kind that will also keep out pine needles.  MOST do NOT keep out pine needles- so you'll still have to go up and clean your gutters.  Only this time it'll be after you spend $4000 on gutter guards...

That'll do it.  Thanks,

Ken L.

Jan 19, 2009 05:03 AM #1
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