Most people view the gutters, siding, or roofing elements as individual items, instead of an entire ecosystem that works together to protect a home. But when one piece is damaged it can bring down the whole home. While gutters feel the least important of the three, they play a critical job in keeping your attic dry and moving water away from critical points along the foundation of your home.
But if it’s something small, it’s hard to know when to repair and when to replace damaged gutters. Every homeowner wants to save money, so we’ve compiled a few tips for assessing your roof.
We have our list broken down by type of gutters as well as specific instances. Hopefully this addresses your problem, but if you have any questions, call Proven Contracting today to discuss your situation.
The type of gutter (and when it was installed) will have a huge impact on whether or not you will want to repair or replace. Here are a few of the most common types of gutters that you can use as a guide. Properly cared for (and repaired before big breaks) a gutter system can last 15 to 20 years. But remember that this is a rough guide and your mileage may vary.
Today seamless gutters are de rigueur, they have beaten out all the competition because they are simple and custom to every home they are installed on. All a homeowner needs to do is choose the material, size, and color that they wish to install, and the contractor will schedule a crew to install it. Most seamless gutter jobs take only one day.
These gutters come in precut segments that are then cut again to fit any specific length and then overlapped and sealed. The problem with these gutters is that they have more points of failure than seamless. If you have issues with old gutters, it is worth considering upgrading to seamless.
These gutters look like they sound, but are almost obsolete. They do not hold as much water as “K style” gutters. If you are having issues with half round gutters it is worth considering replacing them.
The thing about copper gutters is that they are expensive. They look beautiful, especially with the weathered patina they develop over time. While it’s not ideal to replace an older copper gutter segment with new (due to looks), many with copper gutters choose repairs over replacement due to the cost.
Small sections of damage, tears or breaks in your gutter system that is leading to leaking, sagging, or is visibly damaged.
Repair. Using sealant or any number of small repair pieces to plug the holes. If it is truly small (a few inches or less) it is possible you were just unlucky with this piece of gutter, but it could also be a sign that there are bigger problems. Make sure you take a close look as to why this is happening to see if there are, in fact, larger issues.
Medium sized sections of damage, large cracks or holes in gutters that lead to a medium amount of overflow or leakage.
Repair (probably). Depending on the severity it is possible to attach metal flashing and seal it. However it is important to note that this adds another point of failure to an already compromised system, and should be watched after repair.
Clog that lead to overflow
Repair. Cleaning your gutters is the best way to maintain them. Check their structural integrity while you clean.
Small leaks around joiners or overlapping segments.
Repair. Use sealant to secure the gutter system points of failure. Don’t forget to check other screws and joinery for leaks.
Gutters falling off the house or severely sagging.
Replace. Whether it is because your screws have been stripped from the fascia or a metal piece has failed you will need to replace this gutter system. If you do not you will likely begin to see a small amount of flooding around your foundations, mildew, and damage to the siding on your house. Leaving this unaddressed will lead to larger damage.
Large rust patches or holes in your gutter system.
Replace. When you can see visible damage on a gutter system (or see through the gutters themselves) it is time to replace them. They have already passed the point of repair and are not protecting your home. Repair is not really an option with large segments or holes. Replacing them will give you results that will actually protect your home.
Clean, then replace if still overflowing. Blockage could be behind your overflowing gutters. Look at the system and see what’s clogging it. If it is simply because there are leaves and branches, clean them out and see if that was enough. If it was not it is likely your gutters are too small for your roof and need to be replaced with new and larger gutters. 4″ and 5″ gutters will work for many roofs, but some (especially bigger and steeper roofs that collect more volume of water in a rainfall) benefit from 6″ or 7″ “jumbo” gutters. A 6″ gutter will collect 40% more water than a 4″.
Water damage on siding or in attic, mildew or rotting on the facade.
Replace. The damage is already done and you will need to assess how far it goes. Not only will you need to replace your gutters, you will likely need to replace your siding, insulation, or fascia that have been damaged by water ingress.
Ground level flooding
Replace. Your gutters are now overflowing and need to be addressed. Long term ground level flooding (whether outside of the home or in the basement) will only get worse. It will erode your foundations over time and allow mildew to grow. You will likely need to replace siding along with your gutters.
There’s no right or wrong time to replace pieces of your home, and it’s okay to want a facelift. However, we believe it’s most effective to replace siding, roofing, and gutters simultaneously because they operate as a full system.
The longer you leave outdated gutters on your home, the more likely you are to need extensive repairs.
If you are worried about your gutters or want to explore updating your home, contact us at Proven Contracting today, where we’ve served New Jersey residents for over five years.