When you’re cleaning the gutters this fall, it’s a great time to assess your gutter system. Aluminum gutters can last up to 40 years depending on climate conditions and how well they have been maintained. If your gutters are 15 years or older and displaying signs of wear and tear, you might need to replace them sooner than anticipated. Because the gutter system is part of the roofing system, here are some things to consider before installing new gutters.
What Shape is the Roof In?
If gutters aren’t working quite the way they should, a failing asphalt roof may be the actual cause of the gutter system’s poor performance. In this scenario, replacing the gutters will not fix the roof. When gutters haven’t reached their manufacturer’s expected lifespan inspect the roof for:
- Roofing shingles with curled edges
- Roofing shingles with cracks
- Shingles missing their protective granules
- Overall worn appearance
- Damp patches that never seem to dry out
Another telltale sign that it might be roof that needs to be replaced rather than the gutters is a lot of shingle granules in the gutter channel. Left unattended they can create clogs resulting in pooling water, standing water, and overflowing gutters.
What Shape is the Fascia In?
Most modern day gutter systems are attached to the fascia of the house. If the fascia is soft or water damaged in some other way the nails and fasteners used to secure gutter sections into place won’t hold tightly. When gutters pull away from the fascia rainwater entering the gutter system can slide down behind the gutter section instead of into it. Any type of damage can destabilize a gutter system. Before installing new gutters examine fascia boards for the following:
- Wood rot
Does just part of the Gutter System need Replacing?
When you’ve discovered that the north side section of guttering keeps leaking or the downspouts sustained major wind damage it might appear that there is no other option than to replace the entire gutter system. Before deciding if the whole gutter system needs to be replaced or just one section take into account that different parts of the system will age at different rates depending on microclimate and other environmental factors. If the extent of the damage is confined to one area, partial replacement or repair is a viable option.
However, if the gutters have been structurally damaged (buckled, sagging, etc.) or when you keep making the same type of repair in the same area, then installing new gutters will be more budget-friendly in the long run.
What Kind of Gutter System is best for You?
When installing a metal gutter system, the two main choices are sectional gutters or seamless gutters. Seamless aluminum gutters eliminate the number of seams or joints that can wear down over time and need repair. Seamless gutters are also good for curb appeal since the gutter run is visually smooth, uninterrupted by brackets and fasteners. In addition to requiring less maintenance, seamless aluminum gutters are known to last longer than a sectional gutter system.
Do the Downspouts need an Upgrade?
Just because your current gutter system is using the standard 2 x 3 inch downspouts for a 5 inch gutter system, it doesn’t mean they have to be identical. Before installing new gutters reassess the downspouts – the amount of local rainfall may have changed or oversized downspouts might work better with your existing roof.