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What You Need to Know Before You Hire a Gutter Company (And What It Costs)

A builder may not prioritize the installation of gutters and may neglect to install them correctly or at all. However, the homeowner will soon realize the consequences of this approach. The area around the roof line will become saturated with water runoff, leading to visible signs of water damage such as flooding, soil erosion, and damp and moldy siding. It's important to note that for every square foot of roof, an inch of rain produces 6 gallons of runoff, which can cause significant water accumulation around the home. Gutters are not an afterthought but an essential component of the roof. When installed properly and regularly maintained, they play a crucial role in draining water away from the home's siding and foundation, and can even benefit the surrounding landscaping.

Some homeowners may attempt to install or repair gutters themselves, thinking it's a simple task. However, gutter installation and repair require attention to detail. The gutters need to be sloped correctly, with a minimum slope of 1/2 inch for every 10 feet towards the downspouts. Joints must be sealed tightly to prevent leaks. Additionally, working on gutters involves using ladders, which can be dangerous and lead to falls and injuries. Hiring a licensed gutter contractor is recommended. They have the necessary tools and expertise to ensure proper installation and repair. Moreover, they carry liability and workers' compensation insurance, relieving homeowners of any responsibility for accidents or mishaps.

What a Gutter Contractor Does

If you require gutter installation, repair, or maintenance, you should contact a gutter contractor. Gutter contractors are typically general contractors, but they may also specialize in roofing. The tasks they perform include:

  • Gutter contractors can install various types of gutters. However, in certain states, a specialized gutter company that focuses on seamless metal gutters might require a metalworker's license.
  • Iftars have corroded or the hangers are failing, a gutter contractor can replace them. However, gutter contractors typically do not handle damage caused by failing gutters, such as rotted fascia or siding. Some gutter contractors may address such damage depending on the extent of the project.
  • A gutter contractor can replace downspouts and damaged sections of sectional gutters. They can also install gutter extensions to redirect water away from the house. However, repairing damage to the soil, foundation, or landscaping caused by roof runoff is generally not within the scope of a gutter contractor's responsibilities.
  • A gutter contractor is capable of installing gutter guards. Gutter guards are screens made of metal or fiberglass mesh that prevent debris from accumulating in the gutters and blocking the downspouts.
  • While homeowners can sometimes handle their gutter cleaning and maintenance, it is advisable to contact a professional contractor in situations where tall ladders are required or when leaks occur. Sealing old gutters often requires specialized tools and materials that homeowners typically do not possess.

Doing Your Homework

A trustworthy gutter contractor will not require you to provide a comprehensive list of the work you need. Instead, they will typically offer a free home visit to assess the situation, offer recommendations, and provide a quote. However, there are certain situations where you may need to conduct some research on your own.

If gutters are failing and you require replacement or repair, or if you are installing new gutters, it is important to consider your options. You may need to decide whether to replace a portion of your gutter system with the same materials or upgrade the entire system. If you choose to upgrade, you should consider which gutter materials would complement your house and fit within your budget. Some options include seamless Galvalume (galvanized aluminum gutters), galvanized steel, or copper gutters, which tend to be more expensive, or more affordable sectional vinyl or aluminum gutters. Before contacting a contractor, it is advisable to research the costs of different materials so that you can better understand the gutter installation cost provided in the quote.

Additionally, it is important to assess any related tasks that need to be addressed, such as replacing the fascia, soffits, or siding. These are not typically within the scope of work for gutter contractors, so you may need to find a separate contractor for those tasks. Gutter contractors are responsible for installing gutters with a precise slope towards the downspouts, ensuring that the gutters maintain this slope even during severe weather conditions without any leaks. Therefore, the surfaces to which the gutters are attached must be sturdy, free from rot, and in good condition. Before the arrival of the gutter installers, some preparatory work may be necessary.

When it comes to gutter maintenance and cleaning, you have the choice of doing it yourself or hiring a handyman. However, it is important to consider certain factors before making a decision. If you have a high roof or if there are power lines surrounding the roof, you should think twice about doing the work yourself or hiring someone without proper expertise. It is crucial to assess any potential issues that you or a hired individual might face, such as sloping or unstable ground that could make a ladder unsafe, or leaks in hard-to-reach areas. Based on the severity of these problems, you can determine whether professional installation or repair services are necessary.

Why Hire a Gutter Contractor?

Opting for a professional contractor is the most reliable approach to ensure a proper and long-lasting gutter installation or repair. However, there is an even more compelling reason to choose a professional. Although not all states require gutter contractors to be licensed, most contractors possess licenses, and licensing typically necessitates insurance coverage. This means that you are protected in the event of accidents, which are unfortunately common when workers are handling ladders and working at heights where a fall could result in severe injury.

Choosing a gutter contractor instead of a generalist, like a handyman, offers another significant advantage. A gutter specialist possesses the appropriate tools and materials specifically designed for gutter-related tasks. This not only reduces the time required to complete the job but can also lead to a lower overall cost. A specialist is knowledgeable about the precise quantity and placement of hangers and other hardware components needed to maintain the correct slope. As a result, there is no need for time-consuming and potentially expensive trips to the hardware store.

If you intend to install seamless metal gutters, it is essential to hire a gutter contractor. The reason is that these gutters need to be custom-made either at a shop or on-site, which is not a task you can undertake on your own or assign to a general contractor. Gutter contractors who specialize in this work possess the necessary expertise, specialized tools, and techniques. Depending on your location, they may also require metalwork licensing to ensure compliance with regulations.

Choosing the Right Gutter Contractor

To find a reliable gutter contractor, it is advisable to seek referrals from friends or neighbors who have previously had similar work done on their homes. Another option is to use a search engine to locate gutter contractors in your local area. It is recommended to obtain two or three quotes to ensure fair pricing. Before finalizing your decision, it is important to request the contractor's license, proof of insurance, and references to verify their credibility.

If you are considering the installation of specialty metal gutters like seamless copper, galvanized steel, or Galvalume gutters, the vetting process for finding a contractor may need to be more thorough. These types of gutters are typically custom-made at a shop or fabricated on-site using long sheets of metal and a specialized machine that shapes them into a U-shape. This allows for the installation of complete lengths of gutters instead of assembling them in sections. Local contractors or building supply outlets are often able to provide recommendations for professionals who specialize in this type of work.

It is advisable to choose local gutter contractors who have positive references, as they are more likely to exert additional effort to ensure the job is done correctly to uphold their reputation within the community. Additionally, local contractors are typically more knowledgeable about the type of gutter that is most suitable for the specific climate in your area.

The Cost of Hiring a Gutter Contractor

The cost of gutter installation varies based on factors such as the home's size, the number of stories, and the chosen gutter style and material. Seamless gutters made of aluminum and steel tend to be pricier compared to sectional K-style vinyl gutters. On average, gutter installation costs range from $590 to $1,556 per 200 linear feet, with the national average cost being $1,072. For multistory homes and premium materials like seamless copper gutters, the costs are typically higher.

Certain gutter contractors may provide a square foot estimate for gutter installation, taking into account the size of your home and the style of the roof. In some cases, roofs with complex designs, like hip roofs, are easier to estimate based on square footage rather than linear footage. The national average cost for installing aluminum gutters, which are commonly used, is approximately $3,000 for a home with an area of 2,400 square feet.

Most installers have a per linear foot charge for gable and other conventional roofs. The cost of installing seamless gutters typically includes labor and materials. The price range for seamless aluminum gutters is $6 to $12 per foot, stainless steel is $9 to $20, and copper is $25 to $40. Roofing Calculator offers a useful price calculator based on your house size and gutter material choice. Sectional vinyl gutters can cost as low as 60 cents per linear foot, while sectional aluminum gutters are around $2.50 per linear foot. Installation costs vary based on local labor prices but typically amount to $1,200 for a single-story house and $2,000 for a multistory house, including materials.

Gutter cleaning costs can be quoted based on the square foot or the linear foot. On average, the prices per linear foot are $1 for a single-story house and $2 for a multistory house. For square footage, the average prices are 40 cents for a single-story home and 80 cents for a multistory home. If the roof is very high and challenging to access, both installation and cleaning costs are typically higher.

Gutter Contractor Licensing

Gutter contractors who work independently must meet state licensing requirements for general contractors. If they are also roofing contractors, they may need to obtain additional licensing from the state. Not all states have mandatory licensing for general or roofing contractors at the state level. In some cases, licensing is issued by local authorities. In states where neither local nor state licensing is required, roofing and gutter contractors have the option to voluntarily obtain certification from a local trade association. Examples of such associations include the Georgia Roofing Contractors Association and the Kentucky Roof Contractors Association.

In addition to professional accreditation, gutter contractors must obtain a business license to operate their business. This license typically comes with the obligation to maintain active liability and workers' compensation insurance policies. Homeowners must ensure they hire a gutter contractor who meets these minimum requirements to avoid liability in the event of an accident. It is recommended to ask for the contractor's license and proof of insurance before hiring them.