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Arizona gutters require less work

Angie's List asked to talk to three experts about gutter cleaning, maintenance and the right time to repair or replace.

Tim Bender, vice president, Arizona Energy Products & Raingutters, Phoenix, azenergy.com

Scott Rovelli, president, Diamond Gutter Inc., Phoenix, diamondgutterinc.com

Stephen Malisa, owner, Arizona Raingutters & Sunscreens, Avondale, Ariz.

When should I have my gutters cleaned?

Bender: It's not as big a deal in Arizona because we don't have a lot of tall trees. If you do have tall trees, you'll want to clean them at least once a year.

Rovelli: It depends on your surroundings and foliage. Take a look inside every six months to make sure the downspouts are clear, especially after the monsoon times and winter rains.

Malisa: Once or twice a year, depending on how often your trees shed.

What are the benefits of clean gutters?

Bender: They keep water away from the foundation of the house, prevent water from ruining landscaping and keep moisture and termites at bay.

Rovelli: If it overflows, you're going to have puddling, which will lead to problems with your foundation. You could see cracking or infestations of termites.

Malisa: You put up gutters to protect fascia, stucco or landscaping. If it's not clean and in good repair, it's like not having a gutter at all.

How do I know whether to repair or replace my gutters?

Bender: The size of gutter and number of downspouts are both very important. If it's too small or you don't have enough downspouts, the gutter can't drain fast enough.

Rovelli: Most A/Cs run their condensation lines into the gutter, but I recommend people run the line under the shingle or tile and run the line to the downspout. Calcium buildup can eat through metal over time.

Malisa: Ask your contractor to use a seamless gutter, which is less likely to leak. You should only use aluminum for gutters. Vinyl will quickly rip or crack in the Arizona sun.

How long should new gutters last?

Bender: Ninety-nine percent of the gutters around here are aluminum, which doesn't rust or deteriorate over time. Material warranties on those are about 100 years.

Rovelli: Most of the time, you can expect 15 to 20 years out of an aluminum gutter. With the Arizona summer sun, you can expect the finish to start fading after about 10 years.

Malisa: Aluminum has a lifetime warranty on the materials.

What licensing and insurance should I look for in a contractor?

Bender: Make sure the person you hire knows what they're doing and is licensed through the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

Rovelli: Insurance protects the homeowner if something gets damaged or someone gets injured.

Malisa: You should always verify that your contractor is licensed with the Registrar of Contractors by looking them up at azroc.gov.


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