Gutters (also known as eavestroughs) are long, narrow tubes that are attached to the fascia of your home and are used to reroute rain. Downspouts attached to the gutters then funnel water to the ground where ideally, it’s directed away from the foundation of the home.
Proper irrigation that takes the water from the downspout and away from the foundation of your home is important as it will keep the ground immediately around the house from becoming waterlogged. The wet ground around your foundation can potentially leak into the basement and cause water damage to the structure, as well as mold/mould.
Needless to say, gutters play an important role in the longevity of your home and ensuring it remains a healthy environment for the whole family. We talked to Ryan Reynolds at Reynolds Bros Eavestroughs about the top 10 questions homeowners generally have about their eavestroughs and gutters.
1. Will the installation of eavestroughs or leaf guards affect a roof warranty?
Generally, installing eavestroughs/gutters or leaf-guards does not affect the warranty on your roof. Often your roof warranty may require that eavestroughs be in place especially if there is one roof draining above a lower roof. An example of this would be on a back split or multi-level home.
2. Do most companies offer warranties for the eavestroughs they install?
Most reputable companies do offer warranties and will stand behind their work. The warranty should cover the company’s workmanship and materials installation for a specific number of years. The manufacturer will also have their own warranty on the product. A company’s warranty could vary from 10 to 20 years or even a lifetime on certain products to no warranty at all. It makes sense to ask for a company’s warranty in writing.
Also ensure that the company that you hire has their WSIB insurance up to date. Most people assume that all installers have WSIB, but many times they don’t. This would leave the homeowner liable if someone were to fall off their roof.
3. If a homeowner uses a ladder against their eavestroughs (say, to install holiday lights), does it affect the warranty covering their gutters?
If damage was caused to the gutters by the homeowner, it is possible that the warranty could be invalidated. Again the warranty generally only covers the company’s workmanship on the installation and materials provided. You can also contact the eavestrough manufacturer in addition to the installer for any warranty claims.
You can also add additional strength and resilience to your eavestroughs by installing gutter guards (such as Alu-Rex T-Rex). Gutter guard keeps the eavestroughs clear of debris while adding a strengthening component which would protect the eavestroughs against the weight of a ladder. Keep in mind that not all leaf-guards are equal. Some may only provide a cover for debris, therefore do your research or speak with the installer for further details. Additionally, you could use a special ladder which hooks above the eavestroughs directly to the roof and never touches the eavestroughs.
4. What types of gutter styles are available to homeowners?
Eavestroughs have evolved from the 4 inch which were used in the past. Presently eavestroughs are offered in 5 and 6 inch sizes. 5 inch is usually geared to residential homes while 6 inch is used for commercial properties. Sometimes people with steel roofs or a steep pitch may want the 6 inch option.
Our company is unique in offering several multi-profile eavestroughs choices. This allows the eavestroughs to have a unique look from the old style standard including crown-molding, colonial, two-step and a few others. We are one of only a few companies across Canada with this unique machine. This gives your home great curb appeal and a beautiful finish. Many times there is no additional cost for this option. This is the next evolution in eavestroughs.
Most companies offer seamless eavestroughs which are a much better option to keep water out. This is the industry standard although you may find a small number of companies with older equipment using shortened pieces of eavestroughs. This is an issue as you are adding more seams which increases the chances of water getting through to your foundation. Water in your house-and especially in the foundation- is your home’s worst enemy.
Finally, the corners of the eavestroughs can either have boxed or hand mitered corners installed. Hand mitered corners are the best option because they have only 1 seam as opposed to 3. This greatly reduces the chance of water getting through. Not all companies offer the hand mitered option because of the additional time and cost to them but it is an important item to demand. It will give you peace of mind for years to come.
5. What is the difference between the styles?
The different styles previously described can affect many factors from the look to the quality and number of years the eavestroughs last on your home. These small details are important. It is important to ask the right questions so that an installer will know that you did your homework. This will ensure that they won’t take shortcuts that you may not notice for years.
Also, ensure that your downpipes don’t drain directly onto the foundation. This can be achieved by having proper grading and downpipe placement.
6. Are there gutters that are better for colder climates that experience ice buildup vs. lots of water?
There are no specific products geared to the cold but it is highly recommended to install a gutter guard or high grade leaf guard to alleviate ice build up which leads to continued stress on eavestroughs. An example of this is the tremendous amount of weight that slush can cause during the spring thaw. Sometimes an eavestrough length may break away from the home. The gutter guard/leaf guard protects eavestroughs, by acting as a barrier to prevent snow/ice from being trapped inside the eavestroughs.
7. What kinds of products are available to keep leaves and other debris out of eavestroughs?
There are a multitude of leaf-guard products that all claim to keep eavestroughs clear of leaves and debris. Many claim that they are the best. They range in cost and quality. Homeowners should do their research to validate a product’s claim. One of the best ways to do this is to go to HomeStars to look over their reviews. This will give you a real sense of the homeowners experience with a specific product. The manufacturers warranty usually speaks to their confidence in the product. I know of one gutter guard that has a lifetime warranty.
8. What are the drawbacks of using an add-on leaf-free product such as screens, helmets and flashing style attachments?
There are many positives aspects to having leaf-guards installed but some of them may actually disrupt the shingles. They also don’t keep pine needles out of eavestroughs. This usually doesn’t affect the water from draining.
9. How often should a homeowner get their eavestroughs cleaned if they don’t have leaf guards? And if they do have leaf guards, should they get them cleaned periodically anyway?
A homeowner should have their eavestroughs cleaned twice a year. Spring and Fall are the best time to do so to clear the debris. If you have leaf-guards in place then you would usually only have to get them cleaned if there are signs of water overflowing. That means there is an issue. If you have a reliable leaf-guard then this should not be an issue. A reputable leaf-guard company should have a no-clog guarantee.
10. How do you stop gutter joints and corners from clogging up with ice and therefore cracking the gutters in the winter?
Using seamless eavestroughs is your first step. From there, preventing standing water by having it installed effectively with proper slope. Using the right material and gutter seal in the corners for the climate is important. The quality of the gutter seal affects the long term ability to reduce leaks. Installing quality gutter guards to prevent ice and snow from sitting inside eavestroughs will reduce wear and tear.
If you’re looking for a home professional to help with your gutters and eavestroughs, get a quote by clicking here. Good luck with all your eavestrough projects! If you do hire a professional to help you out, please write a review when the job is done as it helps the whole community!
Article updated September 20, 2019.