Charlotte gutter expert answers questions
Bill Bergeman, co-owner
Jumbo Gutter Co. Charlotte, N.C.
Bill Bergeman has been installing gutters since 1967, after getting into the business in high school. It was a family affair - his father worked in the industry and, at one point, so did several other relatives.
Bergeman and his wife, Susan, started Jumbo Gutter Co. in 1988.
What are the most common problems you see?
"It could be anything from a nail coming out to gutters falling off the house. But generally, it's when people don't take care of their gutters and allow them to deteriorate to the point that they have to be replaced.
"A repair is easy enough, and generally aluminum products will last a long time. It usually depends on either how well the gutters are attached or how well the seams are sealed.
"A lot of times, you have situations where you have to take down the gutter to replace some wood, and it isn't worth the money to put up an old gutter - sometimes it's better to just pay for new ones.
"Most companies have a minimum charge. Ours is $150. Repairs could go up from there to about $400 or $500. In my opinion, once you pass that point, you [might consider] a replacement. For a 1,700-square-foot house, new gutters could be $800 to maybe $2,500.
"There are a dozen variables to consider - it depends on the size of the home, the gutters, and the material you're using. I tell people who aren't sure to call five companies and get different prices. Do your homework first."
What's the best thing homeowners can do for their gutters?
"You'll need to check them regularly - maybe once a year, if you have a good gutter protection system. If you don't check them yourself, hire someone to do it.
"If you live near trees and don't have gutter protection, you'll need to have them checked every couple of months and you'll have to clean them out continually. People don't think about this in the spring when leaves aren't falling, but pollen can get in your gutters and clog the downspouts when it rains.
"When you inspect the gutters, see if they're coming loose or if they're still tight against the fascia boards. Make sure nothing's clogged up. It comes down to water control: If gutters aren't functioning, water can damage the foundation, ruin the paint, or help deteriorate wood siding.
"I recommend gutter covers if you can't keep your gutters cleaned out easily. If you have a one-story house where you can get up on the roof, I wouldn't recommend them, but if you have a two-story home and need to hire somebody to clean them, then I would."
Do you have a guarantee?
"Yes. It's fairly standard. The manufacturer guarantees materials for 20 years. We have a three-year workmanship guarantee."