Boston gutter expert reveals best gutter system
Stephen Frederick, owner
Stephen Frederick has been repairing and replacing gutters in the Boston area for 25 years. He's handled every type of project, from installing systems on new homes to repairing downspouts.
"My main concern is being a first-rate, competitively priced contractor," Frederick says. "I like to solve problems, not just sell [gutters]."
What are the most common problems you see?
"I made more repairs last year from poor installations on new systems than to older existing gutters. A lot of installers don't take the time to install them correctly and, with the snow and ice in New England, they pull right off the house.
"Generally, it's $200 to $500 to reattach them. It's a pretty easy fix - it just takes a lot of time. I do a lot of repairs to disconnected elbows and downspouts. One disconnection is $50 to $60 and if there's several it's usually under $150.
"I make repairs to aluminum, wood and copper gutters. I won't install or repair plastic gutters. They leak as soon as you put them up and don't perform the way they should."
Should you have your gutters inspected regularly?
"You should have them inspected every year. The fascia boards should be checked for signs of rot. The downspouts and elbows should be checked for silt, and the entire system should be checked to make sure it's properly attached to the structure.
"If a problem is ignored, water can get in the structural elements of the home. Rotting fascia boards become susceptible to squirrels chewing through and making nests.
"If water stays around the home, it can erode the soil and get into the foundation, destroying the mortar and cracking the foundation. More damage can occur if water freezes against the foundation."
What's the best thing homeowners can do for their gutters?
"You should have them cleaned every fall, more often if there's a lot of trees around the home. I always tell people to check them in the rain. Grab a raincoat or umbrella and go see if water is spilling out or if it's being properly routed."
What is your favorite kind of gutter system?
"Alcoa aluminum gutters are the best. The back is higher than the front so water is forced out the front, away from the fascia board. They only come in white and don't fit on every home, so they're not for everyone.
"My repair jobs come with a two-year guarantee and new gutter applications a five-year guarantee, both protect against leaks and gutters staying attached to the structure. I stand behind my work. The customer has to be happy with the work I do."