These days, many people find DIY projects quite popular and especially motivating when they involve saving money. But is DIY gutter installation worth it for the untrained professional? While some house projects are easy to ‘do it yourself’, DIY gutters are just not one of them.
Gutter installation requires more than just watching a quick YouTube video. It may seem tempting to try the gutter installation yourself to save some money, but it’s best to leave it to a professional residential gutter service provider. They can get the job done right and on time.
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DIY Gutter Installation Isn’t Worth It
The fundamental purpose of gutters on a house is to direct rainwater away from your foundation. You may also hear a gutter referred to as an eavestrough, simply because it is a trough that collects water at the eaves of your roof. While some house projects like painting or installing shelving are great to DIY due to the relative ease, low cost, and low impact of any errors, trying to replace existing or install newgutters on your own is just not worth it.
8 common DIY Gutter Installation Mistakes
There are eight core risks of DIY gutter installation. It comes down to having your gutter system measured and installed accurately to protect one of your biggest investments, your home. Water damage is a nightmare to deal with, and what about ensuring your gutters hold up in extreme weather and snow?
The professionals will know exactly what material and type of gutter to select for your property ensuring they will be efficient all year round. Get it done right the first time to avoid headaches in the future.
Increased Safety Risks
Without a doubt, the biggest concern with DIY gutters is the high risk of injury to yourself or others involved. Installing gutters yourself involves being on a ladder or roof for extended periods of time working with tools and equipment you may not be familiar with.
If the ladder isn’t stable on the ground, you lose traction on the roof, or even just lose your balance for a brief moment, severe injuries can result. A single misstep can have grave consequences. When you hire professionals, they have the experience, safety training, tools, and equipment to ensure no one gets hurt.
Remember the old saying, “measure twice, cut once?” It certainly pertains to gutter replacements, especially if you are DIY-ing it. A single miscalculation can have a big impact on the overall success of your gutter system and be a nightmare to fix.
We aren’t just talking about cutting the downspout to the correct length, either. Gutters that are too far apart can cause sagging and improper water drainage over time. And have you factored in your roof pitch? The pitch of your roof will determine the size of the gutter needed to properly collect all of the rainwater.
Another issue we see often with inaccurate measurements is having too many or improper seams, which results in weak spots and can cause leaky gutters.
- Gutters Too Far Apart: if your gutter brackets are installed too far apart, your gutters can start to sag and cause a disruption in the flow of water.
- Factoring Roof Pitch: the steeper the roof pitch, the larger the gutter size needs to be in order to effectively capture all of the rainwater.
- Too Many or Improper Seams: one of the most common causes of leaky gutters is an improper seam or having too many seams in general.
- Quality and Weight of Gutter Hangers: the quality and weight of your gutter hangers are just as important as the quality of the gutter. If the gutter hanger is poor quality, the whole system could be at risk of falling over time.
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Choosing the Wrong Type or Materials
When it comes to installing gutters, the professionals will know exactly what type and material of gutter suits your home best. There are three main types of gutters, and they aren’t just shaped differently for aesthetic reasons.
Selecting the best gutter type for your home will depend on whether there are fascia boards, how much rainfall you receive in your area, and the overall style of your home. In addition to the shape of the gutter, the material you choose plays a big part in the longevity and effectiveness of your gutter system.
Vinyl gutters may seem like an affordable option, and you may have heard that installing vinyl gutters is easier than the rest, but will they hold up in extreme weather?
- K-Style Gutters: gutters with a flat bottom and curved side to mimic crown molding
- Half-Round Gutters: gutters in the shape of a half-circle
- Box Gutters: gutters in a rectangular shape that are much wider and deeper than K-style gutters
- Aluminum: the most common gutter material; lightweight, cost-effective, and available in many colors
- Copper: nice looking and one of the longest-lasting gutter materials, but most expensive
- Galvanized Steel: expensive and long-lasting, but not quite as durable as copper
- Galvalume: a layer of steel coated with aluminum and zinc to maintain durability while protecting the exterior from rust
- Zinc: durable and long-lasting, but this material does patina over time
- Vinyl: a type of plastic gutter that is cost-effective, lightweight, and has many color options
- U-Snap: a durable and cost-effective vinyl gutter system with a reinforced rim
- PVC: a seamless and cost-effective molded plastic gutter
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Installing aluminum gutters, or any gutter for that matter, is a complex process with many factors to consider. Aside from selecting the right type of gutter, gutter material, and getting the measurements exactly right, the installation may be the hardest part.
Gutters need to be installed at the right angle from the roof towards the downspout to achieve proper water drainage. Mastering the gutter slope can be tricky for the non-professional. You’ll need to consider how far apart to install your brackets and to allow for enough of a gap between your home’s fascia and the gutter to make sure you have proper airflow and drainage.
Improper installation can result in poor drainage, water leaks, gutters that sag or tear away from the home, and even damage to your foundation. With the stakes so high, is the risk worth it?
Overpaying For Materials
The cost of material goods has risen sharply in the past couple of years, and that is certainly true for gutter materials. Professional gutter installers purchase materials in bulk, and they possess a precise understanding of the necessary materials and tools for your project.
Do you have all the tools needed for properly measuring the gutters, cutting them down, welding the seams, and installing them? When you install gutters on your own, you can expect a few trips back and forth to the hardware store, which quickly adds up in time and money.
Risks to Warranty and Insurance
When you hire a reputable professional to install rain gutters, they will offer a warranty on both the product and installation. If you install gutters on your own, you void the manufacturer’s warranty on the product and it may void your roof warranty as well. This leaves you at risk of paying out of pocket for any water damage related to gutters in the future. Protect your investment by trusting the gutter experts with your gutter and downspout installation.
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As we’ve mentioned before, gutters play a critical role in keeping your home (and belongings) protected and dry all year round. Water damage is one of the worst problems to deal with in a home, and results in warping and discoloration, mold growth, and even pests.
The type of gutter, material, and slope for gutters all play a part in diverting water away from your home most effectively. Improper gutter installation can result in water pooling and causing damage to your roof or siding. If your gutter downspouts do not have the right angle or are not long enough, they can cause water to flow back towards your home and increase the risk of further damage to your foundation.
Hidden and Unexpected Problems
When considering to DIY your rain gutters, there are also hidden problems to consider. When you hire a professional to do the work, they receive training not only on proper gutter installation but also on detecting potential issues that may affect the longevity of your home.
Gutter installers will quickly identify problem areas such as clogs, damage to gutter guards or downspouts, issues with garage door functionality, and even issues with your roof or siding. Professionals get it done right the first time, preventing damage and costly repairs down the line.
It’s Not Worth The Risks: Let Professionals From Minnesota Exteriors Manage Your Gutter Installation
All things considered, gutter installation is best left to the pros. While you might save some money going the DIY gutter installation route, is it worth your time and energy? The absolute precision required and the safety risks involved with a DIY gutter install make it a job worth trusting to the professionals, especially since your home’s foundation is on the line. And don’t forget about gutter maintenance to keep your gutters running smoothly all year round.
At Minnesota Exteriors, get the job done correctly the first time. Whether you’re in need of gutter replacement or full gutter installation for a new home, we’re a top residential gutter service provider in the Minneapolis area, with quality and experience you can trust. We even offer residential services like ice dam removal to keep your roof and gutters in tip-top shape. Contact us today for a free estimate!