Why living in the Northwest affects your gutters
Angie's List asked to talk to three experts about gutter cleaning and maintenance and which system might be right to buy.
Portland gutter system experts
When should I have my gutters cleaned?
Morse: If you have many trees surrounding your house, you need to clean your gutters several times a year. Even if there are no trees, grit and grime still build up in the gutters and require cleaning every year or two.
Cutright: Realistically, you should have them cleaned when they start getting full of debris - usually in the fall when the leaves drop.
Reed: If you constantly get debris clogging your gutters, get a micro-filtration gutter guard system, which will suck down water but seal out other debris.
How do I know whether to repair or replace my gutters?
Morse: If your gutters are leaking, they are either plugged up with debris or in need of repair or replacement. If the gutters are rusted, they need to be replaced. If they are pulling away due to loose nails, they can be repaired.
Cutright: Certain things such as leaking corners, overflows and clogged downspouts can be repaired. If there are defects, such as rusted spots or holes, they'll need to be replaced.
Reed: Especially in the Northwest, a lot of pine and fir will stuff your gutters, causing gradual but steady damage. We recommend a gutter guard system to avoid expensive repairs later.
How much will it cost to repair or replace my gutters?
Morse: Repairs are less expensive than replacement. Going with standard aluminum or steel will be a lot less expensive than copper. Factors such as height, risk and difficulty will all play a role in the price.
Cutright: This depends on how many repairs are needed, the difficulty, the labor and materials needed, etc. Repairs will almost always be less expensive than replacement, but repaired gutters will not last as long as new ones.
Reed: Most people think of gutters as a commodity and buy from the lowest bidder, but they don't understand the importance of your system. Here, most homes are fairly large, so a typical replacement, including a micro-filtration system, will run between $3,000 to $5,000.
How many years should new gutters last?
Morse: New steel gutters can last 30 years, as long as they are kept free of standing water.
Cutright: Typically, new gutters should last around 20 years.
Reed: The gutter system should last a lifetime.