The Builder's Blog

Useful information and home maintenance tips that we hope will help you prevent problems and solve issues.
November 20, 2023

How do I know when my gutters need to be replaced?

How do I know when my gutters need to be replaced?

The gutters in your home are one of the most important parts of your roof. They protect you from water damage, prevent rainwater from getting too close to the foundations of walls and other areas that need to stay dry and free from leaks. But if they’re not installed properly or maintained regularly, they can cause problems for you and your family.

Home gutters may look like they're made out of flimsy materials, but they actually aren't. Aluminum gutters typically last 15 to 30 years but might require replacement earlier than expected due to weather conditions. For those of you with a metal roof, it is also important to make sure you have a snow retention system of some kind.  However, these times may not be accurate enough to take into consideration things such as damage from fallen trees, hail, or other extreme weather.

So, if you don't know when they were installed, how can we tell whether it’s time for new ones.  You don't want to put your trust in an ineffective gutter system, but you also don't want to remove a perfectly good existing set of gutters just because they look old.

Here are some things to look for when considering whether to replace your gutters.

Basement flooding. Make sure that you don't let your home's foundation suffer from unnecessary exposure. If water continuously flows in the vicinity of your home’s foundation, it could have potential to cause leakages and can end up costing you a lot of money. You may want to consider replacing your gutter system at the same time as fixing your basement.

Broken screws or other fasteners. They may seem small, but those little pieces play two critical roles; holding your gutters to your roof, and making sure that they stay properly leveled. If you can fix a few screws, then great! But if they continue to fail, the gutter itself might be the problem.

Peeling paint. Rainwater leakage through gaps between gutter supports and walls is one reason water damage occurs when gutters fail. Peeling paint is a good indicator that this has been happening for a quite some time and that you should probably replace your gutters.

Finding nails or screws on the ground around your home. If the gutters aren’t properly secured to the house, they could fall off at any time. Replacing them isn’t hard at all. But if they keep coming loose or falling out, there might be more substantial wear to your gutters than it appears.

Incorrectly pitched or sagging gutters. If a proper pitch isn't maintained throughout your gutters, the water may collect in certain parts and overflow. If you're having trouble fixing this issue, consider replacing them instead.

Gutter separation. Only when gutter systems are connected in a continuous stream can they be effective at removing water from roofs. If your gutters are regularly separating from one another, it might be time to replace the gutters.

Gutter pulls away from the house. You'll want to make sure you're alert to preventing gaps from appearing between your fascia and roof line so that rainwater doesn't continue to collect in these areas. Some methods for repairing this issue include replacing fascia boards or investing in new gutters altogether.

There may be a lot of cracks, holes, and rusted spots. Some of these can be fixed easily with some sealant, whereas larger areas of damage may require the use of flashing as well. However, if you notice more than six sections where this is obvious, then you might consider using all new gutters instead.

Erosion of your landscaping. It takes time and effort to keep a landscape looking good. If recurring damage to your landscape is costing you time and money, you may be better off replacing your gutters and save both in the long term.

Think You Need Gutters? Now What?

Before making any decisions, you'll need to decide if you're going to install gutters yourself or hire someone else to do it for you.

Most home improvement centers offer a broad selection of DIY rain gutter systems if you want to put up the gutters yourself. There are many gutters that you can choose from when your home needs repairs. Having a professional company install what you need could be the best option for you if you do not know much about the installation process yourself.

Vinyl gutters are by far the most common type of roofing system used for DIY residential projects. Aluminum gutter systems offer a variety of colors for their gutters so if you want them to match something else, then consider using these instead.

If you're not comfortable doing this work, hiring professionals is always the best way to go. They have the tools and knowledge necessary to ensure that your gutters perform as designed and that they last as long as possible, and that they are covered by the full manufacturer’s warranty.

In addition to giving you the best chance at having them installed properly, professional gutter installations offer you widest variety of gutter options. As opposed to sectional gutters, seamless gutters tend to be strong and durable because they're made up of just one piece. In addition, because seamless gutters consist of one continuous piece of metal, they significantly reduce the chance of leaks.

Regardless of the style or material you choose, when choosing a contractor, make sure they use quality products, have experience installing gutters, and provide you with a written estimate before beginning the project, and if you are thinking about replacing your roof that is also a great time to replace your gutter!

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