Do you need to guard your gutters?
Angie's List asked to talk to three experts about gutter cleaning and maintenance and which system might be right to buy.
Houston gutter system experts
When should I have my gutters cleaned?
Darbonne: Anytime they get debris in them. As little as 10 to 20 pine needles can cover your outlet and cause water to overflow.
Bisotooni: Twice a year: In the fall when the leaves are down, and one time between.
Campbell: At least twice a year, including fall.
How many years should new gutters last?
Darbonne: We give a 50-year warranty on the gutter and 15-year warranty on installation. It should last as long as the house.
Bisotooni: If it's aluminum or copper, it will last almost forever and won't need to be replaced unless damaged.
Campbell: Aluminum never rots, so as long as gutters are maintained they should last the life of the house.
What is the price to clean, repair or replace a gutter?
Darbonne: We price according to the components, number of corners, number of downspouts, and number of stories and size of roof.
Bisotooni: It depends. We give a free estimate, but they have to call so we can get some idea of how many gutters they have, the height, etc.
Campbell: It's different throughout the country and depends on what's wrong, the system's age and how it was installed. In Houston, a typical repair is less than $200. We charge $2.50 per linear foot to replace and $1 per foot to clean.
Do you recommend any kind of gutter guards, screenings or covers?
Darbonne: If you have any trees, install a gutter guard to prevent debris from getting in.
Bisotooni: We don't recommend any of that. Just old-fashioned cleaning is the best. Any cover you have, stuff will still get in there.
Campbell: We recommend LeafFilter. It uses a screen you can't even stick a pin through, but lets in a high volume of water.
Do you have other advice for homeowners?
Darbonne: Make sure downspouts are not clogged. We just did a house where the PVC pipe connection to the downspout was clogged for years. At the corner of his foundation, there was a gap where water had eroded the concrete.
Bisotooni: Clean them at least once a year. That will eliminate leaks into attic spaces, closet corners and ceilings, and expensive wall replacements. If gutters are not maintained, that's what can happen.
Campbell: Make sure gutters and downspouts are clear so water can escape. Go out with an umbrella when it's raining and see if the system functions properly.