Rain gutters can be a great way to improve your drainage and reduce foundation problems. OR if they are installed wrong it might make your problems worse.
We recently had gutters added to our 100 year old Craftsman Style home. I decided to bite the bullet after spending a small fortune trying to repair the foundation.
I learned a whole lot more about gutters than I ever wanted to in the process.
Mistakes to Avoid When Installing Rain Gutters
There are a few mistakes that I avoided, and a few that I didn’t. You’ll see the proof in the photos. If you are having rain gutters installed I hope this will help you to avoid a bad installation. Many companies offer a guaranty, so if you’ve recently had gutters installed keep reading and check your gutters.
1.) Getting Gutters that are Too Small
When you buy gutters there are different sizes. Have you ever watched the water drain off your roof? When you are directing all of that rain water into a smaller area it can be a lot of water at once. If you can afford it, get the larger sized gutters which are 4×6 inches instead of the standard size which is 3×4 inches.
If you live in a place that doesn’t get much rain, it might be fine to get the smaller size. I went for the larger one because I’ve seen the rain water rise outside my back door within an hour.
2.) Not getting extensions on the ends of your downspouts
The gutters direct all the rain to a downspout. This downspout is where all of the rainwater dumps out. If you don’t ask, your gutter installer will just dump all of the water at the bottom of the downspout.
For me this could have made my foundation problems worse. It’s never a good idea to have lots of water dumping at one edge of your foundation. If you have room and it doesn’t get in the way of mowing your lawn, ask them to add extensions to take the water farther away from your home’s foundation.
In my small house (1800 square feet) I have 6 downspouts. On most of them I asked the gutter installer to add extensions. One of the downspouts was installed right at the corner of my house that is the weakest. Great idea, dump gallons of water right in that spot.
In addition to this problem, they directed the water away from the drains that were already installed in two places. Why would this make sense?
The fixes for these problems are pretty simple for the gutter company to fix, you just need to ask.
3.) assuming that they installed your gutters correctly
After you get your gutters installed you need to walk around the borders of your home IN THE RAIN. I’m sure your gutters are up there, but they may not even be sending water the right way. Mine weren’t.
My gutters were installed by a very reputable company, but on both sides of my house they didn’t slope the gutters enough to direct the water in the right direction. Water was flowing out the end of the gutter that’s supposed to be blocked.
The fix for this problem is to remount the gutters at more of an angle, which they CAN and DID do.
4.) Not getting covers on your gutters
If you live in an area without tress you might not need the covers. If you live in a place that has trees, your gutters will eventually fill up with leaves, acorns and every other thing that a tree sheds.
It’s possible to clean your gutters out with a gutter cleaning tool like this. However, they require much less frequent cleaning if you get the covers installed over the gutter. These covers do raise the price several hundred dollars, but they are worth it in the long run if you don’t want to clean your gutters every year.
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How much do rain gutters cost?
It depends on how big your house is and whether your home is one story or more. It also depends on what size gutter you buy and whether you get them covered. To give you an idea I got a few quotes from different gutter companies in Dallas.
Here are the details of my quotes.
- $1,164 for 3×4 inch gutters without covers.
- An extra $404 for covers on the 3×4 inch gutters.
- $1,956 for a 6 inch half round gutter.
- An extra $565 for covers on the 6 inch gutters
I got a second quote for $2500 without covers for a 3×4 inch size. It’s worth it to get multiple quotes because I found a 25% difference in the price.
are rain gutters worth the price?
The answer to this question depends on your home and what type of foundation you have. It also depends on what kinds of foundation problems you’ve had. If you live in a place like Texas, where foundation problems are a regular thing the investment in gutters can be worth it.