Deciding on whether to fix or replace the rain gutters is difficult. The gutters are some of the most important components of the roofing system. Making the wrong decision today may lead to leaks tomorrow. To make things worse, when such dilemmas arise, there’s often an urgency. You don’t just get up one morning and put the gutter-dilemma on the table!
To put it simply, your decision on whether to opt for new gutters or settle for gutter repair depends on the extent of damage – the overall condition of the gutters.
Naturally, if the damaged sections are not many and the problem is not serious, some repairs will do the trick. Of course, you will need a gutter contractor to take a look and tell you if the problem is fixable or not, but overall, extensive damage leads to replacements.
So, what do we consider a rather simple problem – a fixable problem, and which situations are rendered crucial enough to require a gutter replacement? Let’s see.
When gutter repairs can do the trick
• It has to do with the extent of damage. If the problem areas are limited to only a few sections or spots on the gutters, they are usually fixed. If this is a sectional gutter system, the damaged part is removed and replaced with a new one.
• Some tiny cracks or holes on the gutters can also be fixed. They are usually sealed, but it still depends on their size. If the crack or hole is rather large and given that the rest of the gutter system is in good shape, an extra metal flashing strip is added and then the area is sealed.
• The gutters can be fixed if two sections are slightly separated, creating a seam that may or may have not caused a leak. Same with the hangers. If a hanger is damaged or the screws are loose, the problem can be addressed.
To sum things up here, the gutters don’t need to be replaced if the damage is confined to a specific spot. Also, when the rest of the gutter sections are in a good condition, free of mold too. While rain gutters cannot remain clean for long, their material, their performance, and the structure will all be threatened by mildew and mold. In such cases, it’s best to have the gutters replaced.
Then again, it has to do with the gutter material. For example, copper gutters are particularly expensive. You won’t replace them as lightheartedly as you would the aluminum or steel gutters. In such cases, it’s best to give some gutter repairs a try and if these don’t fix the problem or if by replacing the affected section doesn’t solve the problem, then decide to replace them.
When it’s time to have the rain gutters replaced
Obviously, gutters should be replaced when they cannot be fixed. And naturally, some sections of the gutters would still need to be replaced, anyway, overtime. But when will we need to have the whole system replaced? Which are the signs that scream it’s time to find a gutter installation team?
• Let’s talk about the obvious first. Gutters serve little if they’re extensively damaged. This would include many cracks, wear, and holes all over the sections along the length of the gutters. There’s no point in trying to seal and fix literally all gutter sections because their performance won’t be the same, anyway.
• Gutters should go if there’s a mix of problems. For example. If the fascia is disformed due to a previous leak, the hangers may not hold well. Now if this problem cannot be fixed and the gutters are not in their best shape, anyhow, it’s best to change the whole system.
• If due to the expansion and contraction of the material – and often a bad gutter installation, there’s a tiny gap between the sections, that’s a bad thing. This may also happen due to a complex gutter route or the climate combined with the old age of the gutters and the vulnerabilities of the material.
• Problems, like standing water in the gutters, mold build-up, significant dents on the material, or even wrong choice of material, usually cannot be fixed. Instead of taking chances, it’s best to have the gutters replaced. After all, when you start talking about the possibility of replacing the gutters, they are surely old and have their share of damage. Replace them if the damage is considerable.