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Replacing Gutters: When to Replace Them and Tips on How to Install New Gutters

In most cities across the United States, equipping a home with rain gutters is a necessary step when it comes to protecting the home from water damage. Without gutters, water will eventually wreak havoc on the structure of a home, causing everything from leaks, cracks, and foundational instability over time. For homeowners, gutter maintenance should be a regular component of home improvement.

Knowing your home needs a rain gutter system is one thing, but knowing when it’s time to replace old gutters with new gutters is another thing entirely. Many homeowners will likely try to continuously patch up existing gutters with caulk and other methods of DIY gutter repair rather than replace them. This is often a decision made in the name of saving money, but can lead to severe and costly damage to a home’s foundation, roofing, and landscaping down the line.  

3 Signs it’s Time for Gutter Replacement 

While the patch it up and move along method works for a while, there are a few sure signs to look out for that indicate it’s time to replace gutters and start over fresh. In fact, waiting too long to replace your gutter system can result in unforeseen damages that end up costing more than a new system ever would.

Knowing when to replace gutters begins with taking note of points of weakness along the gutter line that can potentially lead to bigger problems. Even high-quality gutters can break down over time depending on their materials and the weather they endure year after year. 

1. There Are Cracks in the Gutters, Or Noticeable Stress Along The Seams

No matter what type of gutters your home is equipped with, the most vulnerable area of the system occurs at the seams. You can confidently know it’s time to replace gutters when visible separation occurs at the seam of two gutters and leaks become a regular occurrence.

To avoid this type of damage going forward, it may be worth your while to consider the benefits of seamless gutters. This style of gutter is far less prone to separation and acts as one singular track for rainwater to flow through.

Cracked drainage systems are perhaps the most obvious sign that it’s time to replace gutters. Far beyond a small hole, a cracked gutter can no longer carry water efficiently and will likely be more expensive to repair than to replace.

2. There’s Rot and Mildew Along the  Fascia Boards, Siding, and Trim

Gutters are responsible for keeping rainwater away from the foundation of a home. Faulty systems that need to be replaced fail at this and the results can be disastrous.

If you notice rotting around the fascia boards, window frames, or siding it’s definitely time to replace the gutters. Similarly, if homeowners begin to notice mildew creeping up basement walls that were previously dry; faulty gutters are frequently the root of the issue.

In addition to being costly to repair, mildew has the potential to cause you and your family health problems. When mildew shows up, replacing your gutters is also a step towards ensuring you and your family live in a home where healthy air quality is a priority.

3. You See that Surrounding Paint is Peeling

The appearance of cracked or peeling paint on the side of a home can help homeowners know when to replace gutters. Gutters that suffer from leaks allow excess moisture to run down the side of the house, causing damage along the way.

While a little bit of peeling in a single area could point to a single and patchable leak in a gutter, excessive peeling means there are multiple cracks within the gutter and replacement is often a good option.

Gutter Installation Tips 

Many homeowners wonder how to replace gutters without having to call in professional installers. If you’re a homeowner up for a DIY project, replacing gutters successfully is well-within reach. The following are just a few helpful tips on how to prepare yourself to install gutters without it becoming an overwhelming task.

Repair Rot and Damage Before Moving Forward with Installation

Knowing how to replace gutters is important, but just as essential is dealing with damage and rot on the exterior  prior to putting up a new gutter system. Before brackets are ever installed or gutters placed, it’s imperative to make sure the structure is stable and secure to work as a foundation for efficient gutters. 

Plan Ahead with Chalk Snap Lines

There’s nothing worse than installing new gutters only to realize that by the time they’re ready to be placed, they’re crooked on the house. No matter how high-quality they may be, uneven gutters won’t move rainwater efficiently.

Before you begin cutting gutters to size or securing them in place, make sure to mark installation lines using snap chalk. Most of the time, this means making a mark at the highest point of the gutter run which generally falls about 1.25 inches below the drip-edge.

You’ll then make a second mark at the opposite end of the gutter run. Measure a slope that’s quarter inch  for every 10-feet of gutter length. Once you snap the chalk line between these marks, you’ll know you’re on track for an even and efficient installation process.  Be sure to test your chalk line with a level to ensure the chalk line has the pitch we’re looking for.

Consider Adding Gutter Guards To your New Gutter System

To prevent the water damage that can come from clogged gutters full of leaves, sticks, and other debris, gutter guards might be a wise investment. Clogs can compromise the water capacity of gutters during rainstorms, leading to uncontrolled runoff that can damage the roofing, foundation, and landscaping of a home. 

Gutter guards come in various screen, mesh, and surface tension options that cover your gutters to keep debris out. If you live in areas with heavy winds, rain, or lots of trees, gutter guards will help keep your gutters effective and operational.

Get Started Replacing Your Gutters 

Gutter Supply is the industry leader in gutter systems, gutter guards, downspouts, rain chains, and many more gutter accessories. 

We have an incredible line-up. Shop by style from k-style gutters to half-round. Shop by material and explore: 

If you have questions, call (888) 909-RAIN to speak with one of our knowledgeable and friendly experts. We’re here to make sure our customers are always equipped with top-of-the-line drainage systems.

Author: Mike Milliman

Mike is managing partner at Gutter Supply Inc. and has over 20 years of experience in the industry. His expertise and vast knowledge of the industry, along with his priority on customer service, has contributed to the continued success of Gutter Supply, it’s contractor customers and homeowner DIY’s.

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