Cleaning your Rain Gutters

by on 09/28/2010 - 07:03 pm |

Tags: Gutter Cleaning

Cleaning your Rain Gutters

At least twice a year, it’s recommended that you grab your ladder, a pair of gloves, and spend a couple hours tending to the gutters – once after fall and then once more after spring. If you’re home is close to trees, expect that number to double, especially if the trees in your area drastically change throughout the seasons. There are services specializing in providing routine gutter cleaning for about $100, but if you decide to do it yourself, keep these tips in mind when you’re up on the ladder. That way you’ll be guaranteed that the job is done safely and successfully every time.
First and foremost, make certain you have the right ladder for the job – never use a step ladder on anything taller than single story! When you reach up, your center of gravity will be shifted dangerously high, and your hands will be in the gutter if you begin to lose your balance. Always use a telescoping or pole ladder for two or three stories, being ever conscious of the power lines surrounding your home. Also, avoid resting the ladder on the gutters themselves – gutters dent and crush very easily, so try resting the ladder either directly underneath the gutter, or use a ladder stabilizer. Using a ladder stabilizer, such as the Ladder-Max, protects your gutters and gives you added stability, while safely resting on your roof.
Gutter cleaning tools, like gutter scoops, ladles, and garden trowels, seem like practical gear to make the chore easier but when you’re up on a ladder holding a bucket, adding another tool to the mix just seems impractical and unsafe. A pair of utility gloves is perfect for the job, and will only cost you a few dollars at the hardware store. You should invest in a pair either way – you’ll want to protect your hands from sharp gutter edges, regardless.
Inspect and clean all of your downspout screens if you have any. If not, consider running to the home improvement store and grabbing a few to install. They’re cheap, and they’ll prevent downspout blockages, which can be incredibly frustrating to clean.
The caked-on mud and debris that you find in your gutter channel can be nearly impossible to remove without damaging the gutter itself. Don’t try to chisel it to pieces, or use a sharp tool to slice it out. Instead, use water to dampen the debris; the moisture will make it softer and infinitely easier to scoop out.
While cleaning your gutters, make sure to inspect all of the components holding it together. This is the perfect time to catch a problem before it becomes a catastrophe, so check gutter channels and brackets for rust and other signs of needed repair.


How to Choose Your Gutter Contractor ...

by on 09/28/2010 - 07:00 pm |

Tags: Gutter Contractors

How to Choose Your Gutter Contractor & Gutter Installer

Are your gutters leaking and in need of repairs? Do you need a new gutter system installed? If you’re in the market for a gutter contractor, make sure you know what you’re getting before you commit. Here are a few hints and tips to speed up your search.
Before you begin researching independently, ask your friends and family if they know of a contractor who can install gutters. Referrals are good for everybody involved; referred services usually come at a discount, it takes the leg work out of researching, and if a contractor is being recommended in the first place, it’s typically because of a positive impression left on a previous job.
If you must research to find your own contractor, using Google and Google Maps could drastically cut the time spent searching. Results returned on Google Maps proide reviews from previous customers exemplifying the business or contractor’s quality of work. Websites returned can have pictures of previous jobs, details of warranties, experience, and certifications. The yellow pages, newspapers, and television and radio ads are also good resources to aid in your search. Cross-referencing all viable options with the Better Business Bureau is always recommended as well.
When you’re able to narrow down your options to 3 or 4 contractors or businesses, begin making phones calls and getting estimates. If you haven’t found out already, ask about previous jobs, licenses and insurance. Make sure they stand behind their work with warranties on the building materials and labor – mistakes made with rain gutter installation can mean damage to your home – if there’s no warranty, it’ll mean it’s coming out of your pocket.
After the installation is finished, if the contractor chosen has done an exceptional job, make sure to give feedback – even something as simple as writing a thank you letter or writing a review on Google Maps could be used as a testimonial. Feedback helps cut down on research legwork for the next customer and helps separate the exceptional from shoddy services in your area.

Gutter Products - Often overlooked it...

by on 09/23/2010 - 05:59 pm |

Tags: Gutter Products

Shopping for gutters can be a confusing ordeal to the average do-it-yourselfer looking to install their own gutter system. With the multitude of different pieces that go into constructing an effective system, there are a few components that don’t always get the consideration they deserve. These commonly overlooked products help to maximize the efficiency of your gutter system, reduce the time spent tending to gutter maintenance, and are still designed to look good when they’re installed properly.
Splash blocks are used to prevent the diverted rainwater from eroding any landscape surrounding the downspout, as well as carry water further from the foundation. They can be purchased at virtually any home improvement store and come in a variety of colors and designs that are available to coordinate with the aesthetics of your home’s exterior. Splash blocks can range from a basic colored polyprolene pad, running about $6 at (, to decorative concrete slabs, boasting intricately etched designs, priced at about $60.
Your gutters are designed to endure the worst of all the seasonal conditions, so make sure your hangers are, too — gutter hangers need to be able to support the weight of the entire gutter system in the worst of conditions. For this reason, quality hangers are highly recommended. Using common spike and ferrule hangers is easier on the wallet, but tends to require more maintenance. Eventually, the spike will work itself free, causing the gutter to sag, and rendering it useless until repaired. The best gutter hangers available use screws and hidden brackets to securely attach the gutters to the roofline, thereby eliminating dangerous gutter sag due to failed hangers. Products such as the Hidden Hanger, sold by AmeriMax, will provide extra sturdy, reliable support for your gutters through the worst the seasons have to offer. Sold separately, these hangers run about $2 (, but they can be bought in bulk for discounted pricing. Even if the initial investment seems steep, over time the hangers pay for themselves.
The debris and foliage carried into your gutters can make for a nasty blockage in your downspout, resulting in a heavy backup of standing water in the gutter channel. If you’re not prepared with quality hangers, the excess weight could cause your hangers to buckle, the gutter to sag, and, consequently, spill gallons upon gallons of rainwater onto your siding, windows, and around the foundation of your home. On top of that, clearing the clog can be pretty frustrating, too: the debris is lodged in an enclosed pipe, and if you cannot reach it by hand, you will need two people to safely knock the clog out. Fortunately, downspout guards are designed to prevent clogs and backups entirely — they are installed just above the entrance to the downspout to block any debris, while still allowing water to ...

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Why Install Rain Gutters?

by on 08/07/2012 - 05:53 pm |

Tags: Rain Gutters

Why Install Rain Gutters?

While they tend to go overlooked, rain gutters are an invaluable addition to any home. By lining the edge of the roof, they collect and direct rainwater and melting snow runoff away from the siding and foundation of the house to a safer location, thus adding decades of durability to a home’s appearance and integrity. There are a multitude of colors and styles to choose from that will match the aesthetics of virtually any exterior or accommodate for any steep or nontraditional roof line.
Gutters are attached at the house’s eaves, and pitched at a slight angle to allow the water to flow to the attached downspouts located at the corners of the house. The downspouts divert the water to the ground and away from the house to reduce the saturation and rotting of the foundation and fascia, prevent basement flooding, minimize siding wear and tear, and protect the home’s surrounding landscaping from erosion and flooding. There are two popular systems of gutters that are used today; both systems can be made of steel, aluminum, or vinyl, and both systems help to protect and preserve the home, as well as compliment the exterior’s aesthetics.
Sectional gutters are purchased in pre-cut sections, anywhere from 10 to 22 feet, and joined together with connectors to match the lengths of the roof lines. Sectional gutters can be purchased from a number of home improvement stores, making them a relatively easy do-it-yourself project. However, this system is known to develop leaks at the connecting seams, defeating the purpose of the gutter. This problem resulted in the creation of seamless gutters.
Seamless gutters are made on-site with a portable gutter extrusion machine to custom fit any eave length. This system eliminates seams, and thereby any leaks they produce. However, since portable gutter extruders typically run in the $12,000 range, they are not viewed as do-it-yourself friendly, and normally require an installer or contractor.
Even with constantly improving technology and ideas, gutters will still require routine maintenance and cleaning to ensure their effectiveness in the fight to preserve the home. Some products, like leaf guards and gutter screens, may make the job easier or less time consuming, but the bottom line is that gutters will always require a few hours on a ladder each year to ensure that they’re working properly to protect against the elements. The time invested will be rewarded with the assurance that the home is being kept structurally sound and looking great.

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