Gutter systems are more than just a supplemental part or a finishing touch to your home or roofing. They are highly functional pieces that prevent water damage, especially to your foundation. That said, gutters are essential in keeping your home protected and ensuring its structural integrity for years to come.
Of course, it goes without saying that gutters should be replaced as soon as you notice extensive damage or recurring issues. Typically, gutters get damaged due to poor installation or neglect – both of which can be avoided as long as you hire qualified contractors and ensure proper gutter maintenance.
Nevertheless, in the event that your gutters break down due to normal wear or other issues, make sure to replace them as soon as you can. Research the different styles, options and processes available so that you can make an informed decision regarding your gutter replacement project. If things get a little confusing or overwhelming, you should consult with professionals and let them guide you along the way.
Orion Home Improvements LLC suggests asking the following questions to your gutter installer to gain a better understanding of their capabilities and processes. This can give you an idea of what gutter system would suit your needs and provide the best bang for your buck.
Do You Use Seamless Gutters?
Seamless gutters are generally considered the gold standard because they only have seams at the corners. Installed continuously from corner to corner, these gutters are ideal for avoiding or minimizing the risk of leaks.
Aluminum or Galvanized: Which Is Better?
Galvanized gutters were preferred until the 1980s. The material was malleable and easy to install, but it was also prone to corrosion and decay. Aluminum gutters, on the other hand, is today’s industry standard when it comes to gutter systems. They’re strong, durable and non-corrosive. They can also be easily formed using a gutter machine on the job site, making them perfect for seamless gutter installation.
What Styles of Gutters Do You Have?
You can find a wide range of gutter styles and colors on the market, but you also have to make sure that your contractor can also offer you a good selection. For seamless gutters, these are some of the choices that you can have:
- Seamless aluminum (one-piece)
- Seamless half-round six inches (aluminum or copper)
- Seamless traditional box gutter aluminum or copper
- Seamless five or six inches standard aluminum and copper gutters
Find out if they also have enough add-ons to offer like screens, helmets and flashing style attachments. Add-ons, however, are generally a short-term solution. And, when attached to the roofing shingles or decking, they may void your existing roof warranty.
What Types of Seams Do You Use on Corners?
Different types of corner seams can be used for your gutters. Some of these may have lesser chances of developing leaks while others may be considered more prone to leaks.
- Box miter – A preformed corner with three seams, it can be easily installed and isn’t expensive.
- Strip miter – A seam formed in the corner, it is held together by a separate thinner strip of aluminum material. It typically creates two seams per corner.
- Custom hand mitered – It has only one seam per corner, and it’s known for having a stronger, tighter, and longer fit.
How Do You Fasten Gutters to the Home?
Fastening gutters to your home can be done either by nails or screws. Nails or spikes are often used in the older style method, where the nail goes through the outside of the gutter and passes through the inside. They attach into the fascia board and rafter. But over time, the nails tend to pull out due to the weight of water in the gutter, which causes sagging and detachment.
Screws, on the other hand, are generally considered more reliable because they don’t pull or corrode over time. Just make sure your contractor uses long-form screws, which are typically over 2 1/2 inches long. Shorter screws may save time and labor, but they are not able to hold to anything other than the fascia.
Can You Repair Home Damage Prior to Gutter Replacement?
In some cases, damage can only be discovered after removing the existing gutters. Ask your gutter contractors if they have someone on their team who has the right skills to repair the affected areas in case there are any. It’s crucial that the rest of your home is in good condition prior to starting the process for gutter replacement.
Are All Your Workers Insured?
Ensure that the gutter company you hired has liability insurance and workers’ compensation binders, which can cover your home and their employees when needed. Your contractor should be able to provide you with proper documentation as proof that they bear responsibility.
Are the Installers Subs or Full-Time Employees of Your Company?
It’s not uncommon for gutter installation companies to use subcontractors for jobs. Subcontracting basically means hiring someone else to carry out your project, and this may cause you headaches since you’ll be put in between your contractor and their sub. If a problem arises, you’ll have to deal with both of these companies.
Obviously, if your contractor has full-time employees to do your job, this eliminates confusion or complications with regards to who is ultimately responsible for the results. Full-time gutter installers are also considered more as craftsmen than laborers, so you can be sure of getting quality workmanship.
How Many Days Will It Take to Finish the Job?
This may depend on the weather or unforeseen circumstances. But generally gutter replacement takes only about two days. The first day is usually spent on the removal of existing gutters and preparation for the new. Then, the second day is dedicated for the completion of the installation.
Do You Clean Up After the Job?
It’s normal for dirt and construction waste to pile up by the time the installation is done. But with the help of your contractor, the worksite can look the same as it did before the work started. Gutter installation companies usually offer a cleanup service, but just to be sure, make sure to confirm this with your contractor. It would also be great to have it in writing for your peace of mind.
How Is the Reputation of Your Company With the BBB?
Check the reputation of your company with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can call BBB or visit the website to find out if there have been any complaints against the gutter company. This will give you a good idea of their reliability, trustworthiness and professionalism.
What Type of Satisfaction Guarantee Do You Offer?
Inquire about any guarantee that they can offer you. This will help give you some peace of mind regarding the quality of their work. It’s important that you are satisfied with the results that they can provide because you deserve to get value for your money.
With an established reputation for quality services, Orion Home Improvements LLC can ensure value for your money. Our team always strives to deliver customer satisfaction by taking our time to learn more about your needs. Whether it’s roofing or gutter installation, you can count on us to deliver exceptional results. Call us at (571) 354-0331, or fill out our contact form to request a free quote. We serve customers in Alexandria and Fairfax, VA.