Although often overlooked until they’re full of leaf debris and sprouting saplings, gutters are an incredibly important component of a home’s structure. When functioning properly, gutters and downspouts channel rainwater away from your home, protecting the foundation, roof, lawn, and exterior walls. Once installed, they should be regularly cleaned, as clogged gutters can cause a number of problems, including leaks, structural damage, and mold growth.
Correctly installing gutters means taking several elements into account, including the pitch of the roof, the locations of downspouts, the spacing of hangers, and the slope of the gutter. A competent gutter company should have a history of successful gutter installations as well as expertise in working with your type of roof. The company should also be able to guide you to the best type of gutter for your needs and budget.
Gutters come in a variety of materials, reflecting different price points and different pros and cons. Aluminum gutters are very common, and though very cost effective, lower-gauge aluminum gutters are susceptible to dents, such as those from a ladder. Copper gutters are desirable for their elegant look and durability, but their up-front cost may be prohibitive for many homeowners. Galvanized steel gutters were popular years ago, and though they are still manufactured, they have fallen out of favor; this type of gutter is strong and very durable, but it can be prone to rust in spite of its protective coating.
For more information, ask a Best Pick gutter specialist about different gutter materials and styles. Best Pick companies are local experts, so they will know which types are popular in your area and which materials hold up best against freezing temperatures in winter.
Given Boston’s bitter winters, ice dams are a common issue that many homeowners grapple with. After a heavy snowstorm, melting snow will refreeze and build up at the edges of roofs and gutters, forming ice dams. If left unattended, ice dams can cause significant structural damage and encourage the formation of dangerously large icicles.
When the accumulated ice becomes too heavy, gutters may buckle or break under the weight. Depending on how they were installed, gutters can tear off shingles when they fail, which has the potential to void your roof warranty.
The best defense against ice dams is prevention. A properly insulated house is less likely to form ice dams, because less heat escapes through the roof and the snow on top melts more slowly. Homeowners can also ask their gutter or roofing contractors about ice dam solutions, such as ice shields, which prevent melting ice from seeping into your roof and causing leaks; or electric heating cables, which can be installed in gutters and downspouts to help moderate ice formation.
Before replacing your gutters, also consider the state of your roof. If you were thinking of having your roof replaced within the next few years, replacing the gutters and the roof at the same time will avoid potential damage done to gutters during a roof replacement down the road.
Or, maybe you already have gutters and instead need maintenance or gutter covers installed. Many Boston gutter companies offer maintenance in addition to gutter installation services, such as cleaning and repairs to keep your gutters in top shape. They can also install gutter covers to alleviate the chore of cleaning and heating cables to help prevent the formation of ice dams. Contact one of our Boston Best Picks above for more information.
Every year, the dedicated team at EBSCO Research qualifies companies to be a Best Pick based on thousands of customer reviews from Boston homeowners. We never accept reference lists from a company or use third-party research, and a company cannot buy their way into the book. All Best Pick companies must receive an average A rating from their recent customers in order to qualify, and EBSCO also verifies that they carry all the necessary licenses and insurance. We do all of this for one simple reason: so that you can be confident in the reputation of the company you hire.