This is a list of some of the common concerns that affect every homeowner and contractor and should be addressed with an open mind by both parties. Homeowner should have a general idea of what to expect and help prepare their home for the project.
Safety - The first concern should be safety. Never allow children, pets or even adults to walk around the construction site. For the crews' safety they must stay focused on what they are doing on the roof and ladders.
Weather - Inclement weather generally delays scheduling and construction because of safety concerns for the installers. Guttering also needs to be dry to insure proper adhesion of sealants in the comers and end caps.
Access - Crews will need access to the entire yard. Make sure gates are unlocked and neighbors notified if necessary. Trees and shrubs should be trimmed back and should never be allowed to touch your roof and home. Access to the interior of the home is unnecessary. Identify and protect any items that could be damaged by vibration and turn alarms off. Crews will need electrical power; if there are no outside outlets an extension cord should be run under a window or garage door. Contractors should be given daytime phone numbers in case they need to contact the homeowner for any reason. Homeowners should also have contractor's cellular number. If the contractor can not be contacted promptly consider a different contractor. The homeowner should have evidence of contractor promptness and reliability from conversation, referrals, appointments, etc.
Clean Up - All trash and debris should be cleaned up and hauled away by your contractor.
Rooftop Items - If you have house numbers, flag holders, basketball hoops, antennas, satellite dishes, solar panels, patio covers, fences, telephone, power, tv cables, or other items that may interfere with the gutter installation, consider who will have responsibility of handling this equipment.
Sprinklers - Your sprinklers should be turned off and lawn watering avoided a few days before and during the installation. Wet yards can be a safety hazard for crews and will increase the potential of stress to landscape and yards by installer traffic.
Removal of Old Guttering - The removal of old gutter material may loosen caulk, open woodjoints, peel old paint, cause minor paint and wood scratches. Although care is taken by the contractor he should not be held responsible for minor cosmetic blemishes. Remember this is a major undertaking and minor wear is unavoidable. Consider painting your home when you regutter. Galvanized gutters have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years depending on maintenance and original installation. When guttering is removed it is a great opportunity to paint the boards the same color as one of the many gutter colors available. When the painting is completed, the pre-painted guttering can be installed. This can give your home a complete new look.
Pre-existing Conditions - Older homes will generally show minor examples of pre-existing conditions such as uneven rafters, decking, boards, eaves, overhangs, deteriorated bricks, mortar etc.. It is not the standard practice of the gutter industry or considered cost effective by homeowners to replace these items that are still considered serviceable. A new gutter system will not hide or correct these conditions. These pre-existing conditions should be addressed by the homeowner before they sign a contract if they are concerned.
If during the removal of old guttering rotten or water damaged wood is exposed, neither the homeowner nor roofing contractor is at fault for this unexpected surprises, but it is the property owner’s responsibility. If you question your contractors responsibility, ask yourself would this situation happened even if I had hired a different contractor? If the answer is yes, it was probably a pre-existing condition.
Gutter Sloping - It is Precision Guttering’s policy to slope gutters toward the downspouts to the best of our ability with the structure I have to work with (not all structures are level). This allows for faster flow, less standing water and cleaner gutters. Most slopping is a 1-inch drop from the center or high end opposite the downspout. Slopping more than this amount will increase the risk of water getting between the gutter and fascia board, risking wood rot. Sloping on a structure that is not level is often a compromise between function and esthetics. The next option is adding more downspouts.
Downspouts - Downspout location obviously depends on roof area, the house layout and esthetics. Alaska rains require a minimum of one downspout for every 40 feet of rain gutter. It is Precision Guttering’s policy to get by with as few downspouts as possible. The idea is to get water to the areas of the house where it can drain and dry quickly. This also saves the owner money by eliminating unnecessary downspouts. It is sometimes a better option to place downspouts where they will handle the majority of the water the majority of the time. Adding an extra downspout to eliminate overflow during an occasional very heavy rain usually means that downspout dumps water in an undesirable location during more frequent light rains. Trial and error is another option; downspouts can always be added later. Precision Guttering will come back and add downspouts at the original cost of the downspout; this is normally around $50 dollars for a 1-story downspout.
Gutter screen - Gutter screens can help prevent larger leaves from getting into gutters. They are not recommended for small leaves or pine trees, etc. The smaller debris that falls from these types of trees will penetrate the screen and require screen removal to clean unless the guttering is checked and cleaned on a very regular basis. Screening cannot guarantee complete elimination of gutter cleaning. The homeowner should be aware of this before installation. There are many gimmicks on the market today that promise to eliminate gutter cleaning; I have yet to find a reliable product.
Special Concerns -Every project should be looked at individually. If anything needs special attention or a verbal commitment was made, make sure it is added to the contract. The more information that is put into the original contract, the less likely discrepancies will occur during the course of the project. This protects both the homeowner and the contractor.
We hope these examples of some common concerns will help prepare you and your home for this improvement project.