Some gutters go quickly from 'clean to clogged'
Angie's List asked to talk to three experts about gutter cleaning and maintenance and which system might be right to buy.
Minneapolis gutter system experts
Bruce Donatell, owner, Gutter Systems, Minneapolis
Howard Holmberg, owner, Park Exteriors, St. Louis Park, Minn.
Scott O'Connor, vice president, Tonka Seamless Gutters, Edina, Minn., tonkaseamlessgutters.com
When should I have my gutters cleaned?
Donatell: Usually once or twice a year. But people should keep an eye on them. I've seen some gutters that went from clean to clogged in a couple of weeks.
Holmberg: A lot of people can get by with once a year in the fall, but twice a year would be better. A lot depends on what kind of trees you have.
O’Connor: At least twice a year - once in spring and once in fall.
What are the benefits of clean gutters?
Donatell: If the water overflows, the soil around the house can absorb a lot of water, leak into the basement and cause mold.
Holmberg: When your gutters are clogged, it allows the water to run off willy-nilly, destroying plants and seeping into your foundation.
O’Connor: If water backs up, it can go under the shingles and cause damage, or get into the ground and get water in the basement or foundation.
What should I know when deciding to repair or replace my gutters?
Donatell: Make sure when the old gutters are torn off that the new installation is weather tight and the roof isn't damaged.
Holmberg: Make sure you use the heaviest material available. Aluminum is available in two thicknesses: 0.032 and 0.026 gauge. You want 0.032.
O’Connor: We're installing larger downspouts these days. The most common used to be 2 inches by 3 inches, but 3 inches by 4 inches flushes through much better and requires much less maintenance.
How long should new gutters last?
Donatell: They should last 40 years. Aluminum can't rust, and the sealant I use is guaranteed for 50 years.
Holmberg: Cheap vinyl gutters will last several years at most. Aluminum can last 20 years or more. Copper lasts 50-plus years, and galvanized steel should last 30 years.
O’Connor: They should last you a long time. Our aluminum materials come with a 50-year warranty.
What do I need to know when purchasing a gutter cover?
Donatell: I believe a solid cover is very good. You pay a little bit more for it than a mesh cover, but it tends to keep the gutter more clean.
Holmberg: Look into the reputation of the product and the installing company. Ask other people who've had them, especially if their situation is similar to yours.
O’Connor: Solid covers work very well. Make sure whoever you hire to install or repair gutters or gutter covers is licensed, bonded and insured.