Many do-it-yourselfers have become home improvement enthusiasts because they enjoy the challenge and the money they save. But installing gutters can test the skills of even the most accomplished DIYer. If something unexpected comes up when installing gutters, will you be able to resolve it like a pro? Here are 7 reasons not to DIY a gutter installation.
Missing the Big Picture
By installing gutters yourself, you could be missing the big picture. When you hire a professional gutter installer to do the work for you, a good contractor will be able to identify and repair problems such as rotting fascia, sagging gutter sections or missing roof shingles. If their company can’t do the repairs, they will give you referrals.
A gutter installation professional might also recommend drainage solutions such as adding a rain barrel or more downspouts. They can suggest landscaping tweaks to make downspouts function better or recommend replacing existing downspouts with larger ones.
It Can Be Dangerous
It can be dangerous to install your own gutters especially if your home is two or more storeys. While falling off ladders is the main reason for home improvement emergency room visits, accidents involving hammers and drills are also very common.
What about balance, coordination, lifting long gutter sections, and standing for stretches at a time while working on a ladder? You might be in good to excellent physical condition, but professional gutter installers do these kinds of demanding tasks on a daily basis.
Aluminum Gutters Dent Easily
Even if you have access to a large truck, transporting everything you need for your gutter installation, including 10-foot lengths of aluminum gutters, can be a juggling act. Aluminum gutters can easily be dented in transit and during the installation process. Installation professionals know how to properly handle aluminum gutters throughout the installation process from start to finish.
Potential for Costly Mistakes
There are mistakes non-professional gutter installers can make that might end up being costly. Some common installation mistakes include:
- selecting the wrong gutter material for your climate region
- not using the correct method – installing aluminum gutters requires different techniques than vinyl gutters or copper gutters
- choosing the incorrect size of gutters and downspouts
- not doing the math – you’ll need to calculate the number of linear feet, downspouts, and hangers needed to gutter your home, etc.
Seamless Gutters can’t be an Option
If you want the high-end appearance of seamless aluminum gutters, they aren’t an option for most DIYers. Professional installers make seamless gutters on-site using special equipment.
More Complicated than it Looks
Home improvement projects rarely go exactly as expected. When installing your own gutters, you need to be on the lookout for problems like rotted fascia boards, water-damaged siding, or stained soffit.
Gutter installations require special techniques and knowledge such as:
- hammering in nails to leave room for expansion and contraction
- overlapping joints in such a way they won’t be as noticeable
- how to cut different types of gutter material to reduce the risk of damage and wastage
- determining the best placement for your gutters
- determining the right tilt
- calculating the correct amount of gutter slope
- where to put the downspouts
- how far apart to place the hangers
More Money in the Long Run
You put all that work to install your gutters only to find that after the first good rainfall of the season the water doesn’t flow properly. Or a windy day shakes the downspouts loose. Or the gutter system appears to be working fine – until the basement floods or the plants in the flowerbed near the foundation start to float away.
If you fell from a ladder while installing your gutters, medical costs can quickly add up, especially when factoring in any time off work.
Another thing to consider is that most gutter contractors include all the materials needed for the installation at better prices offered by retailers.
It might cost you more money in the long run if you have to hire someone to correct your DIY gutter installation mistakes; cover your own medical costs; and buy all the materials you require from a retail outlet.