Roofs and gutters; gutters and roofs. It just makes sense that the two go together. But which should you install first, and do you even have to replace your gutters if you’re replacing your roof? Let’s dig into these questions and other essential gutter considerations.
Installing gutters and installing a new roof are two different jobs. If you’re getting both done, which we estimate happens 35% to 50% of the time, we replace the roof first and then install the gutters.
When you install a roof, to protect the house from falling shingles and any ladders stacked up against the house, tarps are nailed to the roof deck, which is the area right above the gutters. This allows your roofing contractor to easily slide shingles off the roof without hitting anything, like siding, windows, or screens. With ladders normally pressing up against gutters, there’s also no reason to risk any damage to a new gutter system.
In total, if someone’s getting both a full roof replacement and a brand new gutter system, then it will usually take two days to complete the job. That’s one day for the roof and one day for the gutters, although not necessarily two back to back days. It could be within a few days or a week.
We usually install “K” style gutters that are either 5 inches wide, the standard size, or 6 inch wide gutters, which are considered oversized. A six-inch gutter is for larger roofs that have a lot more water coming off them, and they’re often found on commercial buildings. A one inch difference might not sound like a lot, but it is. That extra inch adds 40% more capacity!
Custom, seamless gutters are a popular choice among consumers. They’re produced by a gutter extruding machine (AKA a seamless gutter machine) that requires a lot of space. That’s another reason why gutters need their day: it would be hard to accommodate a company van and a dumpster for disposing of shingles and other discarded roof parts along with a gutter extruding machine.
The seamless gutter machine comes in a van. It can push out a single 50 foot piece of gutter in one go in minutes. To use a gutter extruding machine, we need to be in the driveway with the van, and may need to set up some cones on the street so that drivers know to steer clear.
We recommend oversized gutters if your roof is very steep. The steeper the roof, the greater the speed of the water coming down. If you have an oversized gutter, you have a greater probability of catching the water in the gutter. Similarly, the larger and/or more complex the roof is overall, the more water there is to catch. Otherwise, the 5 inch gutter will suffice.
Aluminum gutters, which are the type Proven Contracting is most often asked to install, last about 20 years. Copper gutters can last 50 years or more.
Whatever color you want! The color of the gutters has no impact on their lifespan. White is the standard color, but it’s becoming trendy to use gutters that compliment the color of your shutters. Colored gutters may cost a little bit more, but you do get a more personalized appearance. Black gutters that complement a black roof are also a popular choice.
If you have inadequate gutters and, for example, a large, steep roof with water running down very quickly during heavy rain, then you’ll have water pouring over the edge of the gutters, which may be an annoyance. But if you have no gutters, then the water is just going straight down, drilling into the same area over and over again. If that battering goes on long enough and soaks into the ground very close to your home, then the water could get into your foundation and cause structural issues or the water could leak into your basement.
Gutters are a water management system designed to get water off the roof and safely direct the water away from the home using a downspout (AKA “leader”). So, if your gutters are inadequate then water will end up not being moved away from your home and, potentially, you will experience adverse effects from water damage.
If you have inadequately sized gutters and a big roof, the water could backfill into your home. A gutter has two sides, and water that spills over due to inadequate draining could lead to deterioration or decaying of the facial trim that the gutters are attached to.
Inadequate gutters can also lead to trenching around the home. If there’s a negative grade pitch to the property that causes the water to roll back onto your foundation, the water can create cracks in the foundation, leading to mold. And mold remediation is expensive.
Proven Contracting offers different gutter protection systems that keep your gutters from being clogged with debris like leaves and sticks. Gutter cleanings can be pricey, with some gutter systems requiring more than one cleaning per year. That adds up. Instead, you can just install a decluttering system that costs $700 to $1,200 on average, and then you don’t have to worry about gutter cleaning or maintenance. The decluttering system keeps debris from collecting in your gutters.
Icicles can form on the gutters if you have inadequate insulation and/or ventilation in your home. When warm air collects in attics or ceilings, it can melt the layer of snow that’s sitting on top of the roof, leading more water to run down and freeze.
One of the reasons gutters overhang is so that they don’t have stuff underneath. This way, any heat from the house that might emanate is less likely to lead to icicles. When you see giant icicles on commercial or government buildings like schools it’s usually due to melting caused by heat loss. The melted water hits the gutters, freezes, and the process just keeps repeating until you can get icicles upwards of two feet or more in length.
When it comes to inadequate ventilation or insulations, if it’s the intake vents that deal with roofing, we’ll take care of that. Otherwise, we will recommend contractors.
The same questions you ask to find a good roofing company and the same checklist to find good roofers can be used to find good gutter installation.
You’ll want your gutter contractor to be licensed and insured. Confirm their insurance by calling the issuers of the policy to make sure the policy is still active.
You’ll want a gutter contractor that’s been in business for a while. The more gutter work they’ve performed, the more their workmanship has been put to the test. You’ll also gain an appreciation for the company’s follow-through with warranties and contracts.
Proven Contracting currently has a 4.9 out of 5 stars based on 147 reviews on Google. We’re proud of that! Our reviews are also consistent across from Yelp to Home Advisor to Facebook. You’ll want your gutter contractor to be the same. Call the state Department of Consumer Affairs to see if there are any complaints.
You can also consult the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but keep in mind that the BBB is not a government agency; the BBB is a non-profit organization that allows people to post reviews and mediats complaints. Reviews, complaints, and resolutions left on the BBB website are still valid, but not paying for a BBB accreditation should have no bearing on your decision. Paying BBB dues primarily gives businesses access to marketing materials and learning resources. Opting out of BBB accreditation is not a reflection of a business’s quality.
In general, if a company has a negative review but resolves it, then that’s a sign of a commitment to professionalism. It takes humility to admit one’s mistakes and to correct them. No one is perfect, including contractors.
Even if you don’t want financing, what it takes to offer financing is also what it takes to be a reputable gutter contractor. At a minimum, a contractor will have to have been in business for a certain number of years, have good credit, and a good reputation. Depending on the lender, the company may also have their bookkeeping practices examined and may have to provide references from distributors of materials to make sure the contractors pay their debts on time.
One of the benefits of working with a local company is that you can see their finished work in your own town. You can also ask to watch a project in progress to see how the team works.
The same methods that allow you to pay for a roofing job with no money can help you pay for gutters. Of course, the cost of gutters is less than the roof replacement cost. Although, if you plan to get your gutters and an entire roof done at once, these are still feasible options.
If you can’t afford to pay for your gutter system all at once, then you can put together a finance agreement just as you would if buying a cellphone or car. You’ll first need to pass a credit check, but after that you’ll be able to put something together with a lender.
The advantage of putting your payment plan with your roofer is that you cut out any intermediaries. For example, with Proven Contracting, all the customer has to provide is their phone number, Social Security number, email address, driver’s license number, and the details of their mortgage and income. We take that info, call our lender, and within moments you’ll know if you’re approved. The loan you get is unsecured, which means that you don’t need to put anything, like your house, up for collateral.
By paying with a credit card, you can get your gutters installed in just one swipe. And if you have good credit, you could get a card with no interest for a year and pay off your entire gutter system before you’re even charged any interest (or at least a negligible amount of interest).
A cash-out refinance is when you get a new loan for your home for more than your home is worth so that the additional money can be spent however you want, like on a replacement roof or new gutter system. It can take upwards of 45 to 60 days to go from the entire refinancing process, so it’s not ideal for an emergency. But, better loan terms and money for a capital expense level improvement is a good deal when you’re not in a hurry. Also, the cash from a cash-out refinance is not income, so you do not pay income taxes on it.
Your home equity is the percentage of your home that’s yours based on the percentage of your mortgage you’ve paid off. If you have enough equity and good credit, you can get a loan with a potentially lower rate than an unsecured loan because it would be secured, with your home acting as collateral.
If you decide to have Proven Contracting install both your roof and your gutter, we’ll install your roof first and your gutter second. If you’re concerned about our workmanship, put us through the wringer. And if after we’ve earned your trust you need help paying for your new gutters and/or roof, we can help you put together a plan to pay for the gutters you deserve.