If you’re like most homeowners, you probably think you can clean your own gutters. If you’re like some homeowners, you might even think you can install your own gutters. Like so many projects, however, hidden costs can evolve from the DIY approach. You may not be able to safely reach your gutters. You may not know how to properly flush out downspouts. Or, you may miss critical signs that your gutter channels are allowing water to back up into your roofing system or puddle around your foundation. Often, paying for an experienced contractor can save you money and headaches both now and for the lifetime of your gutters.
Gutter Installation and Materials
The DIY industry is presented in all-or-nothing terms. If you can do this and this and this, then you can install your own gutters. The problem is that even if you can do it yourself, you may not want to. Sectional gutters, whether aluminum, steel, or vinyl, require only the smallest seam to wreak havoc on roofing, siding, and foundations. Plus, most homeowners prefer to enjoy the low-risk and durability of seamless metal – a project that demands the skill of a professional.
The right gutter for your home will depend on your budget, the local climate, and your roofing eaves. More than just the work, a gutter contractor will have the necessary knowledge and expertise to advise you accordingly. By properly surveying your property and placing downspouts, you can rest assured your home will be protected from excessive rain for many years to come.
If playing it safe with gutter installation means not overextending your own expertise, then playing it safe with gutter cleaning is all about being safe rather than sorry. Any reputable gutter contractor is going to have the necessary tools and equipment to clean your gutters completely, while also being completely safe. Often, the decision to hire a pro isn’t motivated by laziness or convenience, but logistics. Whether it’s a fear of heights, an inadequate ladder to reach your second story roof, or the loss of balance and mobility that’s part of getting older, you may not be able to clean your own gutters and you shouldn’t try. And remember more than just safety, hiring a professional will ensure it’s done right.
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Tip: Even the best gutters require regular cleaning. Gutter guards can reduce the frequency, but don’t eliminate the need for cleaning.
Hiring a Gutter Contractor
Gutter installation or repair isn’t the biggest home improvement project but its potential to adversely affect critical areas of your home makes this hire as important as any other. Make sure you find an established contractor who has a permanent, local address. Never hire someone who comes to your door and offers to install your gutters that day. Get estimates from at least three different contractors. And don’t just get references, but check them out. Be sure to discuss your options so you can make an informed decision about which guttering system is right for your home and your budget. This conversation should ensure you know what’s going on with your gutters and help you make sure you’re hiring the right person for the job.
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