Archive for March 2013

A Quality Gutter Installation

By: Brandon


When it comes to quality gutters Dallas seems to be lagging behind a bit. Most gutter installations I see here are very disappointing, yet so many homeowners assume that all gutter installations are pretty much the same: Just slap ’em up and screw ’em on, and that’s that. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There are an untold number of ways to cut corners on a gutter installation, and so many companies take full advantage of that fact.

So then what does truly make one gutter installation superior to another? That list would be beyond the scope of this blog, but I’ll try to outline a few of the more important considerations here:

1. Better Material, Better Gutters – Galvanized steel will eventually corrode once its zinc has been worn away, and plastic gutters are, well, plastic. Copper is great but who can afford that?! When it comes to getting the best bang for your buck, aluminum really is the way to go. Hands down, aluminum is the most common gutter material used in the US, and for good reason: Aluminum gutters do not corrode or rust when exposed to water. That combined with its light weight and sturdy form, aluminum gutters can last a lifetime.

2. Don’t Short On Hangers – Gutters in Dallas must be extra-sturdy due to the heavy rains we get here. It’s always best to use the sturdiest hangers available and to space them no more than 2 feet apart. This will provide the support needed to withstand the heavy weight of water year after year. Yes, it takes more time, and, yes, there are more material costs involved, but if you want the gutter system to last, don’t short on the hangers.

Note: If the overhang has angled fascia or open tail rafters, then gutter wedges and/or roof straps in addition to the hangers will be necessary.

3. Install Behind The Flashing – Neglecting to install the gutters behind the roof’s flashing (or drip-edge as its often called) will inevitably cause the wood to rot. Once water makes its way behind the gutter, it will sit there unventilated and hidden from the sun, until the wood begins to absorb the moisture. The fascia, soffit and eventually the frame behind will slowly but surely begin to rot. Hidden from view, the damage, if left unattended, will turn into quite a costly repair once finally discovered.

4. Use Anchors, Not Concrete Nails – Downspouts are most commonly fastened to brick using concrete nails driven into the mortar between the brick. That’s why so many houses have downspouts flapping in the wind. When it comes to fastening a downspout, anchors are the way to go. However, not just any anchor will do. Most commonly the anchors I see being used in our area are plastic. Obviously, plastic is never a good choice for fastening anything. I believe the best anchor to use is a sturdy metal anchor which flares at the end. By far, this creates the sturdiest hold which I’ve seen and is far superior to plastic anchors. Although, a bit more costly and time consuming, it certainly will last!

5. Slope ‘Em Properly – Obviously, the gutters must be sloped in order to drain. But learning to properly slope gutters is more of an art than a science and takes several years of experience to master. Too much slope and it will stick out like a sore thumb. Not enough slope, and, well, it won’t drain. Un-sloped gutter will no doubt overflow and potentially spill back up under the roof’s shingles causing a whole host of problems with the wood. Eventually, like all improperly-sloped gutters, it will eventually succumb to the heavy weight of the water and take its plunge to the ground.

6. Careful Design – Placing a downspout to drain too near a low point or against the yard’s slope can cause your home’s foundation more trouble than if you had no gutters at all. Ironically enough, most system “designers” are, yea, you guessed it – salesmen. The turnover for salesmen in this industry is astonishing. As a result, most gutter salesmen you meet will be in training, and have little or no experience in gutter system design, gutter installation or even no experience in any construction-related field at all! It’s very difficult, yet so very important to look past all that smooth talk and find someone who truly knows what they’re doing when they design your system.

So when it comes time to install new gutters on your home, keep those things mentioned above in mind. Quiz the contractors who are giving you quotes and see which ones know their stuff and learn to recognize the ones who are cutting corners to keep the price down. The old adage, “You get what you pay for” is more pertinent in remodeling than perhaps any other industry. If the price seems too good to be true, then you can bet that it probably is.