When you need new gutters for your home, you can hire someone to install them for you or you can opt to install them yourself. In these current economic times, saving money wherever you can is smart; however installing gutters isn’t for everyone. How do you decide what would be the best course of action to take? Four things to consider before you choose to do a do it yourself gutter installation are: personal home improvement skills; total cost; working from a ladder; and having someone to help you. To avoid regretting you started the project in the first place or completing the gutter installation with mixed results, do a little homework to see whether or not you should install your own gutters.
Personal Home Improvement Skills
It goes without saying that you will need to be familiar with and comfortable using a variety of hand tools. You will need to sketch out a plan for where the gutters are to go; determine how much guttering you will need by measuring the eaves on each side of the house; and calculate the slope required to ensure the proper flow of rainwater from the gutters to the downspouts. You will also have to figure out how many downpipes to include in your gutter installation and where to position them.
Before committing to a do it yourself gutter installation, work out the total cost. This will include the gutter and downspout sections, fasteners, brackets, sealant, outlets, elbows, connectors, etc. that make up the gutter system you plan to install. While some home renovation stores offer different types of gutter installation kits, generally you must purchase everything you need separately. Don’t forget to factor in other costs such as the rental fee for scaffolding or other pieces of equipment you might need but not have on hand.
Working from a Ladder
Even if you are not affected by heights, when considering whether or not to install your own gutters, take into account that you will be working from a ladder for stretches at a time. You will also need to know how to do so safely, including stabilizing the ladder; tying yourself off; and using the appropriate protective gear. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be high up to hurt yourself; you can sustain moderate to severe injuries from falling from a height of just six feet.
You will have to carry sections of gutter up a ladder, maneuver them into place, and then secure them. A best case scenario would be to have two to three other people helping you.
When deciding whether or not to tackle a do it yourself gutter installation, often the first thought is, “I’ll save a lot of money.” Take a look at your home, especially the roof’s configuration. If it is simple in design and covering a one-story or two-story dwelling, installing a gutter system with one or more downspouts could possibly be a project you can easily handle. It will also depend on the total linear footage of gutters to be installed. Multi-level structures or homes with asymmetrical or irregular shaped roofs may be somewhat more challenging. If you run into difficulties beyond your DIY skill set or the project doesn’t look the way you planned, you might end up hiring a gutter installation professional anyway.